The Power of Play

Posted:Monday, July 29th, 2013 at 5:26 pm

I could speak all day of the power of play: the creativity it evokes, the opportunity for problem solving that it presents, the connection to the now that it demands, the focus and ultimate confidence gained. Yes, I could speak all day on the power of play.

But barrier-free play is the most powerful play of all because it is inclusive. Although kindness will be fostered in barrier-free play, its greatest power is to educate. Let me share this story about my niece’s daughter, Lila.

Lila, who was four years old at the time, was shopping with her mother. She saw a person who was mentally and physically challenged and gripped her mother’s hand in such away that my niece looked down at her and said, “What’s the matter, Lila?”

Lila in all the innocence of a young child answered, “I’m afraid of the handicaps. They scare me.”

Inclusive play can erase fear and preconceived notions. Think about that. Think about the many advantages to our children when they have a play environment that encourages them to think about themselves, their peers, and their families, not with fear, but with the understanding that how someone looks is not the total of who that person is. Think about how a child or someone in their family could have the chance to show their individual talents. That is the power of barrier-free play and the power that can change lives and communities!

With some twenty-five thousand students in Macomb County who cannot play at a conventional park and do not have the chance to be understood and make new friends, it’s time to support this plan and make it a reality.

Vania Apps