When I was a child, I loved to play outside. Houston’s temperate weather allowed me to play outside year round. I enjoyed riding my bike, playing football with my friends, and going to the park to play on the playground.
Playgrounds were much different when I was a kid. You had to have a remarkable amount of skill to prevent third degree burns when sliding down a metal slide in the Houston heat. You’d often get a few splinters from the wooden swing seats. And there were no rubber mats or mulch to soften your falls (and you were guaranteed to fall many times).
Thankfully, playground design has improved significantly. When I work as a safety professional, I was a board member of a group that focused on playground safety. We worked hard to set standards for playground safety.
While playground safety is important, it is also important to build playgrounds that are fun. And that is exactly what we will do this Saturday, Nov. 8. I have partnered with Let’s Play, a community partnership led by Dr Pepper Snapple Group, to celebrate play in Houston by hosting #LetsPlayHouston at Calvert Elementary School.
Early Saturday morning, volunteers will build a playground from the ground up and will donate more than $50,000 in brand new sports equipment to various Houston-area schools with non-profit partners KaBOOM! and Good Sports.
In the afternoon, we will celebrate play with #LetsPlayHouston, a free community event for families across Houston. It includes games, prizes and fun for kids of all ages, like bouncy houses, obstacle courses, face painting and snacks.
Play is such an important part of childrens’ physical, emotional, social and intellectual development. Research shows that kids are becoming more sedentary and not getting the activity they need. In fact, only 27 percent of Texas adolescents reported that they participated in the CDC’s recommended 60 minutes of physical activity per day.*
Please join me for this fun community event. It will be a great way to get active with your family and meet other Houston-area parents.
The #LetsPlayHouston event is from 12:30 p.m. 4:00 p.m. at Calvert Elementary School (1925 Marvell Dr, Houston, TX 77032). For more information and to register in advance (not required), visit http://bit.ly/1uiAQuj .
*National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, “Texas: State Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity Profile,” 9/2012