If you do not know by now, July is Parks and Recreation Month! This year’s theme is Get Your Play On - something that parks and recreation professionals know better than anyone. Both NCRPA and NRPA are challenging you to get your play on. This wellness blog will cover the health benefits of play, and give your department some ways to get involved.
Play is a vital ingredient for our overall health. Whether it’s gaining physical strength through participating in your favorite athletic league or meeting new friends in a book club, play positively impacts our lives. Scientific evidence backs up these claims.
According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, children who play outdoors regularly:
Become fitter and leaner
Develop stronger immune systems
Have more active imaginations
Have lower stress levels
Play more creatively
Have greater respect for themselves and others
Play is not only beneficial for children, but also for adults. An article from the Washington Post called “Why It’s Good for Grown Ups to go Play Too” dives deeper into this. “Researchers are turning their attention to (play’s) possible benefits for adults.” The article goes on to state, “What they’re finding is that play isn’t just about goofing off; it can also be an important means of reducing stress and contributing to overall well-being.”
Interested in getting involved in Parks and Recreation month? It’s not too late to start! NRPA created a toolkit with resources to help tell your community to get their play on. Posters, handouts, activity books, social media tips, and more can be found in the toolkit.
There are also a few simple ideas that your department can do to promote parks and recreation month. First, If you charge admission fees to any of your “play” facilities, pick a date in July to offer discounted fees! Additionally, plan a simple family game night, open gym sessions, and other self-guided activities for your community. Encourage your community to come and get their play on.
It’s also important for YOU to get your play on! Take some time out of your busy week to relax while doing your favorite play idea. NCRPA would like to see how you get your play on! Tag @NCRPA in your social media posts to show us. I hope you have a wonderful Parks and Recreation Month!
Until next time,