Philly Play was created in 2013 by Councilman Bobby Henon (6th District) to get Philadelphia kids engaged in active play as a way to combat childhood obesity.
Through play-based events and educational activities, Councilman Henon provided opportunities for hundreds of families in his Northeast Philadelphia-based council district to live happier, healthier lives.
Thanks to the success of the inaugural effort of Philly Play, the program quickly expanded city-wide. In 2014, Philly Play provided free play programming at 10 recreation centers around the city, including interactive events and skill competitions. Today, Philly Play provides thousands of children with safe, accessible ways to play at 30 recreation centers during the summer and at elementary schools during the year.
The mission of Philly Play is to create programs, activities, systems, and environments to ensure that every Philly kid gets 60 minutes of heart rate-elevating play every single day.
With Philadelphia consistently ranking among the least healthy counties in the state and with childhood obesity a serious health epidemic, Philly Play seeks to improve long term health outcomes for children by:
- Providing free, active play programming at recreation centers and schools;
- Educating families about the crucial role of active playtime in child development and empowering parents to demand healthy environments for their children at recreation centers and in schools;
- Training adults who work with children to create and implement engaging programs and activities to get kids active;
- Eliminating the barriers to active play;
- Creating environments that foster and support healthy lifestyles; and
- Developing and implementing policies and programs designed to make Philly the most playful, active, and healthy city in the nation.