Philly Play was started by Councilman Bobby Henon (6th District), right, in 2013 to get kids engaged in active play. Through play-themed events and education, Councilman Henon was able to promote healthy play and active behaviors to hundreds of families in Northeast Philadelphia.
In 2014, Philadelphia City Council expanded the program to provide access to free, healthy, active play activities to families across the City. Through free play programming at recreation centers around Philadelphia, mixed with play events and skill competitions, Philly Play grew to give kids safe, accessible ways to play and get on the path to a healthy adulthood.
Why is Philly Play important?
Nearly 1/3 of Philadelphia's children (K-6) are overweight or obese. Being overweight or obese increases the risk of youth developing high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Getting out and playing is the first step in ensuring healthier outcomes for our kids.
How does Philly Play help?
Families are busy. Some can't afford access to play or nutritional education. Others still just don't know they have options available. But, Philadelphia is full of avenues for every family to make healthy choices for their kids when it comes to active play.
Philly Play connects families to those choices. Here's how:
Philly Play Summer Camps
Philly Play offers children structured opportunities to learn about and engage in active play and nutrition at 10 recreation centers across Philadelphia, one in each Council District for six weeks over the summer.
At each of the 10 Philly Play sites, children participate in special Philly Play programming that includes structured play time, skill building activities and interactive nutritional education with the Farm Explorer, a 20-foot mobile farm truck provided by Greener Partners. Programming varies based on each center’s specific needs, available space, resources and demand. Camps run from mid-May through August.
While we currently don't offer any specialized programming for children with disabilities, we want to encourage all kids to be active where they can. If you are the parent of a child with a disability and require accommodations to participate in Philly Play, let us know! We will do our best to help.
Pop Up Play Events
In 2014, Philly Play hosted more than 15 Pop Up Play events around the City, with activities such as biking and swimming, organized through individual Council offices. These events were aimed at enrolling children in Philly Play programming while connecting kids and parents with their local recreation centers.
Philly Play Summer Challenge
At the end of the six-week Philly Play Summer Camp series, children from across Philadelphia participated in the Philly Play Summer Challenge at Vogt Recreation Center in Northeast Philadelphia. More than 3,000 kids showed off the skills they learned over the summer and competed against other children in various events and across skill and fitness levels.
The Philly Play model continues to grow and evolve with the more partners and friends that join us! Stay tuned for more as the summer continues.