playgrounds_good_for_kids.jpgWhat did your kids ask for their birthdays this year? If it's something along the lines of iPods, PSPs, or faster Internet connections, then you're experiencing the same dilemma most parents are facing in the digital age. With the amount of technology people use every day, it's hard to teach your kids the value of keeping active. But American architect Jason Racek says this is why the "power of play" is even more important nowadays, and the solution can be found in playgrounds.

Racek is the managing director of non-profit organization Playground Ideas, which helps design play spaces specifically geared toward improving children's well-being. "There’s a danger of sedimentary lifestyle [in] the 21st century generation. [Kids] spend most of [their] time on television and computer screens, and they lose the inherent nature of desire to play," he is quoted as saying in a Yahoo! Philippines article. Having playgrounds in communities can remedy this, he adds, as this encourages children to stay playful and curious.

Racek, who also visited the country as part of his efforts for GOPLAYPROJECT, an organization that builds play spaces for underprivileged communities, says, "Play is important to kids as it helps develop their social skills, creativity, and innovation." This is a good thing to remember, he notes, for playground designers.

He also urges communities who have existing playgrounds to share a "degree of ownership" so that they can maintain the spaces' safety for kids. He suggests repainting playgrounds and adding local innovations such as used tires to make the play spaces look more pleasing. “Not only [is this] safe and free, but reusing such materials is good for the environment.”


Does your community lack a well-maintained playground? You can still keep your kids active through other means. These games will surely keep your children on their toes:


Want to see what other activities your kid can try? Try these:

(Photo by phalinn via Flickr Creative Commons)

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