What has happened to good ole fashioned play? Remember stilts made out of coffee cans and some rope? Or how about a pretend telephone with two tin cans attached with a string? We remember when a cardboard box provided hours of fun - it was a castle, a cave, a house, or a general store our imaginations ran wild and creativity was abundant. But what has happened to play?
According to recent study done by the American Academy of Pediatrics, play offers children important developmental benefits and parents the opportunity to fully engage with their children. Unfortunately, there are various causes prohibiting many childrens ability to reap the benefits of play - from the flashing, talking toys that do not stimulate creativity or imagination, to the recent health hazards regarding plastics and lead paint, as well as the overly structured childrens programs that do not allow time for free play and social interaction. This report goes on to conclude that it remains imperative that play be included along with academic and social-enrichment opportunities and that safe environments be made available to all children. In response to this issue, pediatricians have been instructed to promote free play as a healthy, necessary part of childhood, as well as to emphasis the benefits of true toys such as blocks and dolls, where children have the opportunity to use their imaginations fully, in contrast to other passive toys bombarding our toy markets these days. Pediatricians have also been instructed to suggest playgroups as a way for children to socialize.
We have set out to bring play back into the lives of todays children with an innovative new mommy &me playgroup program, greenKidsPLAY! LLC. In place of flashing and beeping toys and plastic injection molding play structures, we have carefully chosen child- AND earth-friendly toys to stimulate imagination and creativity while strengthening the bond with their attending parent or caregiver. The 3,000 square foot facility has plenty of room to run jump and play, as well as a kitchen area, a dramatic play area, a blocks and puzzles area, a circle time area for reading & singing (with a focus on the environment), and a craft area to reInvent!, where household materials are reused and conservation is introduced. GreenKidsPLAY! LLC will run various sessions determined by age/skill level, and have eliminated the need for concern as to the safety of any of the toys onsite, as they all have been well researched and tested to ensure their safety to both the children and the earth.
In addition to the playgroup program, we are really excited to have set several community projects in motion to help the local towns to go green as well. These projects will serve as part of the curriculum for our playgroup members, and allows greenKidsPLAY! an opportunity to give back to the local community as well. The first program will be kicking off at the Open House on September 8th, with the crayon recycling organization, The Crayon Bin, for whom we will serve as a drop off location for recycled crayons during our weekly operating hours throughout the school year. Our next big project is with Terracycle and the local primary school, where we will be collecting drink pouches from the school children and the school will receive $.02 for every drink pouch collected. As for us, we dont make any income from our green initiative projects, but we have the peace of mind that we are working together to raise awareness in our community and lead our children by example.
We are in the business of bringing back good ole fashioned play with a green twist in New Brunswick, N.J.
Allison Myron & Patty Crowdell
Co-owners, greenKidsPLAY! LLC
645 Cranbury Road, East Brunswick, N.J.
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