Now that we’re officially into fall, with the weather getting colder and wetter by the day, and all back to school or indoors,it’s important to remind ourselves of opportunities to get out and play.
Idea is Free Museum and Park Day tomorrow; September 28: over 1500 museums, and national and state parks, are opening up their doors to the public for free!
For some more structured play, there are great art, dance, and play-based programs for little and big kids. One just opened up in Colorado, and definitely understands the value of play:
The Curious About Art program is just one of many preschool arts education programs the South Suburban Parks and Recreation District offers throughout the year. It’s not so much about the final product the kids create, but the journey and experiencing sensory exploration with their parents.
“It will probably look like something you expect an 18-month-old to make, something unrecognizable but still pretty wonderful,” said Vickie Willis, culture and enrichment supervisor for South Suburban.
“Everyone needs to play,” Willis said. “It makes us feel good, it unleashes possibilities in our brain, it makes us think better.”
Aside from encouraging play, the purpose of the classes is to prepare kids for a school environment by getting them socialized to being around other children, as well as developing motor skills.
“It’s to develop the motor skills, and the little ones just want to explore their world so music and art is a good way of doing that,” said Janice Schindler, the culture and enrichment coordinator at Goodson Recreation Center
Seattle has a newly-minted hip-hop program for little kids that also focuses on the value of play and silliness in education:
Mini BREAKS is the original hip-hop dance class (breakin’ or “break dance”) for toddlers and preschoolers.
In this unique class, young students will have fun while they exercise, express themselves, think creatively, build self-esteem, practice respect, learn discipline and make new friends!
Outside of a dance studio, hip-hop culture (including breakin’) is not taught through choreography or 8-counts but more intuitively through interactive demonstration. Mini BREAKS focuses on encouraging young children to be creative and courageous – to come up with their own ideas and be able to express themselves by sharing those ideas with others. All children are artists – Mini BREAKS helps them remain artists as they grow up!
So remember to play and wiggle even as the weather gets cold and dark.
- Massive Monkees Forever (slog.thestranger.com)