Everybody needs to play more

Jul. 17, 2013 @ 05:14 PM

Let’s face it. Outdoor recreation is not a part of our daily lives like it used to be. With the ongoing invention of new technology, it has become increasingly easier to get everything we need from the comfort of our home. As a child, my mother had to beg me to come in from outside, and from what I understand, that is not the case today. While this does not apply to all youth, there are enough youth playing indoors to talk about it.

Youth that don’t enjoy outdoor play, don’t know what they are missing. Nothing can replace the memories I have as a child of finding berries on a tree and not knowing what they were before eating them. Or playing a good old game of kickball, hopscotch or hide-and-go-seek in my favorite park. The only difference between now and then is that I didn’t take pictures and post them on Facebook, which didn’t exist 40-something years ago.

According to the Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, play is essential to the social, emotional, cognitive and physical well-being of children. “Kids need to play actively, every day, at home, in school and in their communities, yet play is disappearing,” said Darell Hammond, founder and CEO of KaBOOM! and author of The New York Times best seller “KaBOOM!: A Movement to Save Play.”

“Children spend nearly eight hours a day in front of a screen,” Hammond said.
“Almost half of all poor students are deprived of recess; and to make matters worse, only one in five children live within walking distance of a park.

As the recently selected 2013 Playful City USA community by KaBOOM for the fifth year in a row, Durham is committed to increasing play opportunities for youth. Sponsored by the Humana Foundation, Playful City USA celebrates and promotes local policies that increase play opportunities and is a key platform in combating the lack of play among children.

In 2012, Durham constructed a new playground and renovated three existing playgrounds. In addition, most playgrounds located in the parks were resurfaced to ensure they meet all safety guidelines. The city also spent the past year focusing on data collection and community input for the creation of a parks and recreation master plan. The plan will help the city for the next 10 years to renovate spaces, build new spaces and guide programming.

As a part of Park and Recreation Month in July, DPR would like for you to show Durham’s parks some love. No one can tell a better story about Durham’s parks than those who enjoy them.  Visit your favorite park, take a photo showcasing how you love the park, and email it to DPRinfo@durhamnc.gov.  Visit www.DPRPlayMore.org for more details. Parks provide valuable benefits to the community from health and wellness to nature and community spirit.

Please get your camera out, capture the moment and share it with us. Most of all, Play More with DPR.