SOURCE: Playground

July 25, 2011 05:00 ET

Ready, Set, Play!

Family Time Is Good for Everyone

MISSION, KS--(Marketwire - Jul 25, 2011) - (Family Features) Playtime for kids is more than just fun and games. It's essential to their development and overall family well-being. And playing with parents and adult caregivers is a critical part of that healthy development.

Play often gives families the opportunity to connect with each other and is so important to a child's development that it has been recognized by the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights as a right of every child. A clinical report from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says that undirected or child-driven play:

  • Contributes to the cognitive, physical, social and emotional well-being of children and youth.
  • Lets children develop their imagination, dexterity, and physical, cognitive and emotional strengths.
  • Allows children to learn how to work in groups, share, negotiate and resolve conflicts.
  • Helps children practice decision making and discover new interests.

Families That Play Together…
The AAP report also said that the interactions between parent and child that happen through play help develop enduring relationships, and are a critical part of healthy development.

Other evidence bears that out. The Family Togetherness Study, commissioned in January 2011 by Foresters™, a life insurance provider committed to the well-being of families, and conducted by Harris Interactive, measured the relationships between family well-being, family time at a community playground and family time in general. The study shows that:

  • The more time a family spends together, the better their sense of family well-being. As an example, parents who engage in 12 activities per week with their child have a 20 percent higher family well-being score than those who do not engage in any activities.
  • The more time a family spends together at a community playground, the better their sense of family well-being. As an example, parents who visit a playground with their child daily have a 14 percent higher sense of family well-being score than those who never visit.

Playtime at the Park
When you head over to the park to play, you don't have to plan anything elaborate. In fact, you don't have to plan anything at all.

  • Keep it simple and enjoy some of the things you did as a kid like playing hide and seek, digging in the sand, or having fun on the playground equipment.
  • Let the kids be in charge. Follow their lead -- they may take you on an imaginary adventure, create a new sport, or go on a nature safari.
  • Embrace rain and mud puddles. You can make impromptu sailboats out of wood and leaves, make mud pies decorated with twigs and flowers, or go puddle jumping together.

To help foster more family play, Foresters has invested over $7 million with KaBOOM! and has built or plans to build almost 100 new playgrounds across the US and Canada by 2013. Over their 15 year lifespan, these playgrounds will provide more than 2.6 million children and their families with the opportunity to spend quality time together.

"Foresters believes in creating opportunities that strengthen families and their communities," said Kasia Czarski, Chief Membership and Marketing Officer at Foresters. "Our playground builds connect families, enhance their sense of well-being and transform communities for years to come."

For more information about Foresters and this program, visit www.foresters.com.

Foresters™ is a trademark of The Independent Order of Foresters, a fraternal benefit society, Toronto, Canada, M3C 1T9.

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