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    City supports child’s right to play with first annual play day

    Play Day photo

    The city of Chestermere hosted the first annual National Play Day Event on Aug. 1., at the Rec Centre. The Play Day Event was a way ChestermereÕs youth of all ages to get involved in the community, and to learn new skills, be creative, and use their imagination. Some of the activities included during the day of play were rollerblading, skating, using the Mobile Adventure Playground, crafts, and games. Photo submitted

    Chestermere’s first annual National Play Day Event is allowing children of all ages to enjoy a day of play while developing their skills.

    The event will be held at the Chestermere Rec Centre on Aug. 1 and will have a variety of different activities for youth of all ages to participate in from 3 p.m., until 7 p.m.

    “The National Play Day Event demonstrates our determination to promote a balanced childhood, and our commitment to advocate for a child’s right to play,” said Recreation and Bike Park Facilitator Avery Bec.

    “Our main goal is to host an interactive, explorative and fun event with a variety of different play opportunities,” Bec added, “We want kids to come and not want to leave, along with that we hope to educate families on the importance of play for a child’s development.”

    The activities included in the day of play are a free public skate in the Blue Arena, free public rollerblading in the White Arena, a Mobile Adventure Playground, tackle dummies, step over bags and football throwing, trying new exercise equipment, crafts, and games.

    Bec added, Chestermere has celebrated National Child Day in November, however, the city wanted to do something during the summer for the local youth.

    “We thought that a local event would be a great opportunity to collaborate with other groups in Chestermere,” Bec said.

    “When children play we allow them to determine and control the content and intent of their play by following their own instincts, ideas and interests in their own way,” Bec added, a day of play can be extremely important to a child’s development, Bec said.

    Play has a variety of benefits, such as increasing self-awareness, self-esteem, and self-respect, improving physical and mental health, encouraging imagination, independence and creativity, developing interpersonal skills, strengthening problem solving and construction skills, and exposing children to new situations with risks and challenges, Bec said.

    Although Chestermere has many opportunities for play including dance, sports, yoga, camps and art lessons, Bec believes the National Play Day Event is unique in how the event challenges children to reimage their activities into a free-play self-directed environment.

    “I’m most excited to see the kids’ reactions. I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to work with children this summer and the Mobile Adventure Playground, and hearing the positive feedback makes me smile from ear to ear.

    “Their perspective on playing is so unique and imaginative, I’m consistently amazed by them,” Bec said.

    However, if residents want to get their children involved with National Play Day on a smaller level at home, it’s easy Bec said.

    Play doesn’t have to be structured, Bec said, residents can look around their home for items like shaving foam, clay, eggs, or slime to fill pools, pits, or buckets.

    Finding ways to play outside can also be beneficial to children, Bec added, by using the new adventure playground, organizing an obstacle course in your backyard, or creating crafts using straws, putty, or shoeboxes to build towers, bridges, go-karts or even monsters.

    For more information regarding the National Play Day, or to get involved visit the City of Chestermere Facebook page.

    Or to view the summer schedule for Chestermere’s Adventure Playground visit chestermere.ca/adventureplayground.