Councilman Bobby Henon (6th District) started Philly Play in 2013. His interest in public health grew out of a personal concern that Philadelphia's youth were not engaging in enough play to encourage healthy outcomes as they grow.
As the father of two active young sons, Bobby has seen firsthand the effect play and physical activity has on a child's development and well-being. The fact is, many of Philadelphia's youth don't have the same access to healthy play and nutritional opportunities as Bobby's sons. Philly Play is one way to help.
What is Philly Play?
After focusing primarily on the 6th District in Northeast Philadelphia, Philly Play is growing to include each of the 10 City Council Districts for an expanded pilot program. The program will include Philly Play-specific programs for summer campers at one site in each of those Council Districts. During the programs, campers will participate in skill-building exercises, play activities and learn about healthy eating and nutrition.
Also, throughout the summer, "Pop Up Play Events" will happen across the City of Philadelphia, ranging from biking to indoor play to swimming and more. Those events will be made available in many of the Council Districts and neighborhoods.
At the end of the program, Philly Play will culminate in the Philly Play Summer Challenge, a citywide field day event held at the Vogt Recreation Center. There, campers will get to show what they've learned over the course of the summer and compete for their parents, neighbors and friends.
Why is Philly Play Important?
Philly Play is aimed at bringing a fun, accessible play element to physical activity and health. Instead of portraying physical activity as boring and necessary, we want to make it fun! And it couldn't be more important: approximately 29% of Philadelphia youth (grades K-6) are overweight or obese. Being overweight or obese increases the risk of youth developing high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and cancer. By getting out and playing, we can take the first step in ensuring healthier outcomes for our kids.
Come play with us!