Featuring Sarah Lisiecki, Marketing Communications & Education Specialist
Tell us about intergenerational play.
Intergenerational play is bringing people of all ages into the same space for play. It's adults playing with their children or grandchildren, it's neighbors meeting in an outdoor fitness space for exercise and fun and it's teenagers mentoring younger children in fitness, music or play. Generations can learn from each other and, studies show, that children who have contact with adults through play display higher levels of language and problem-solving skills. It's also a positive experience for the elderly promoting relaxation, reducing stress, encouraging physical movement and helping to maintain cognitive skills. This is all great. But there's more. As a society we are stuck in a cycle of trying to do too much and always feeling like it isn't enough. Play can help that. No, it won't change societal norms overnight. But it is shown to reduce anxiety and make us forget about our never-ending "to-do" lists at least for a little while.
How does having spaces for intergenerational play help communities?
Keeping people moving is HUGE. With obesity rates rising amongst children and adults and an increased amount of time spent on electronics, there is a heightened focus on physical fitness for all people. There is also the equity aspect - gym memberships are expensive and finding childcare may be a challenge. Placing fitness areas outside can help children and adults have access to exercise opportunities that everyone ages five and up can participate in. Outdoor fitness not only increases equity and access but it offers the opportunity for adults to model healthy habits for children and help them develop Physical Literacy, the ability to move with competence and confidence in a wide variety of physical activities in multiple environments that benefit the healthy development of the whole person. Healthy habits that are developed in childhood will translate into healthier habits in adulthood.