I say, shut it off and turn on your imagination! What are we missing out on when we spend time in front of the television? The list is endless, but most importantly, a four-letter word that really doesn't fit the stigma given that description...PLAY. Don't you ever just want to play? I do. My children do, and they make no bones about it. That is at the top of their list.
There are some die-hard TV watchers out there who may not want to miss their favorite programming. I have to admit there was a time when I had a favorite program or two, and I really did want to watch ER every Thursday night. I finally realized that it wasn't the end of the world if I didn't watch the TV at the same time each week and that my children and I needed that time to get to know what was going on outside the box that seemed to hold us captive so many evenings.
There was a time when playing "Kick the Can" or "No Bears Are Out Tonight,” games that involve the outdoors and plenty of running around, used to be the norm. Fortunately, these games are alive and well in some neighborhoods. There are kids who haven't heard of these games though, believe it or not. We need to bring playback, whether it's one of the aforementioned games, a newly invented game that gets children active again, or— especially— getting out on the playground and enjoying all of the new innovations in play structures. This is a place a child's imagination truly can run wild.
Did you know that there is actually a television network that is telling you to shut off the TV and explore the rest of your world? Nickelodeon is sending the message that it's time to put play on the top of the list and get children more active again.
On October 1, from 12-3 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, they are shutting down regular programming and encouraging everyone worldwide to join in Worldwide Play Day. They will be running short features of past program grant winners during this time slot. Everyone in the world is encouraged to organize play activities for a community, an organization, or just participate in free play for at least these three hours. I don't know about you, but I'm in. Frankly, three hours isn't going to be enough for me, and I'm happy to block out extra time for play.
I'll gladly hang the "Do Not Disturb Unless You're Ready to Play" sign on the gate at my house. My answering machine will say something like "I'm sorry we can't take your call right now...we're playing." Maybe to get the message across to all we meet at the playground or wherever Worldwide Play Day takes us. We need t-shirts that say something like "Got Play?"
October 1 is a Saturday, and that makes it that much easier to join in the fun. If it weren't a Saturday, I'd probably have to call in "playing" and skip the office for a day.
It's nice to see organizations such as Nickelodeon on the bandwagon promoting play. It's not just because they think we should just play, it goes deeper than that. The last issue, we went a little further with the "O" factor and how it can be combatted. Play can be part of the remedy, and more and more organizations are realizing this and trying to get the message across that we do need to incorporate play and good nutrition into our way of life.
Worldwide Play Day is very much a part of that effort, and I sincerely hope that our readers will join in the fun, shut off the TV at least for the designated time, and just PLAY! Can you think of a better way to spend your day? I hope you’re in.