Spring is finally here and hope is blooming all around us! We are thrilled to be returning to in-person play next week at our four partner shelter sites, and we can’t wait to bring the benefits of play to so many children who have been cooped up in a shelter for much of the past year.
During a recent visit to drop off puzzles at one of our partner shelter sites, children were clearly eager for Playtime to return. "Susie," 6, shrieked with joy and ran over as soon as we walked in the door and asked when we would be out on the playground again. We stayed while families were at dinner, and children continued to stop by to chat—Susie shared with a new resident about all the fun she has at Playtime and encouraged them to join us when we restart play programming.
Susie’s reaction reinforces the need for Playtime to continue ensuring children living in shelters get equal access to play. During the past year of quarantine, the outdoor playgrounds were rarely used, and with the warmer weather, we plan to change that. Play is such an important outlet for both children and adults: it relieves stress, enhances learning, boosts creativity, and encourages connections.
Our volunteers have been in training, getting updated on our program and safety protocols, and they are equally excited to return and engage with the children on site. Our program staff have developed a fun curriculum for children to learn about their community this month. We will have activities featuring community helpers, including doctors, nurses, bus drivers, chefs, mail carriers, and firefighters.
I hope you will join us for our #DidUPlay2day spring campaign to help Playtime bring play to more children living in shelters across the District. Look out for our #30DaysOfPlay on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, where we will mark a fun nationally recognized day of the month and suggest ways to make the day playful. And please share how you played each day.
Your support helps Playtime provide children experiencing homelessness with trauma-informed play activities, which are vital for healthy child development. We look forward to celebrating our return to in-person Playtime with you!