Around 600 children and parents ran, danced, skated, created, and explored at the first annual Worldwide Day of Play on Sept. 20 at the shared campus of the Isabella Community Sportsplex and the Mt. Pleasant Discovery Museum.
Organized by the Clare-Gladwin and Gratiot-Isabella Great Start Collaboratives as well as representatives from Morey Courts, the Discovery Museum, the ICE Arena, MidMichigan Health, and the Central Michigan District Health Department, the Worldwide Day of Play featured free activities for parents and kids to enjoy together, including Zumba, ice skating with free rentals, and hands-on fun at the museum. Morey Courts also used a portion of their facilities to host basketball, volleyball, ball toss games, and an obstacle course set up by the Health Department.
MidMichigan Health provided 300 bike helmets to local kids, as well as 1,000 fruit snacks and 500 bottles of water. Additionally, 200 apples were donated by Papa’s Pumpkin Patch, and GreenTree Cooperative Grocery handed out 500 samples of healthy smoothies blended by bicycle power!
“This was an awesome event,” said local parent Autume Griffus. “The activities accommodated multiple age levels and they kept kids moving and engaged. We will definitely be back next year!”
Emulating Nickelodeon’s annual Worldwide Day of Play which shuts down television programming for a day to encourage kids to get off the couch and get active, the evening of action emphasized the multitude of benefits play provides in the lives of children. “The Worldwide Day of Play not only supports physical health, but it also encourages social and emotional well-being and family support, all of which are proven to be vital in preparing children to be happy and ready to succeed in school and in life,” said Clare-Gladwin Great Start Parent Liaison Rachel Haltiner. “We wanted families to have the chance to spend time moving, laughing, and learning together while getting familiar with the resources in their area so they will hopefully come back to visit in the future.”
Local public service agencies, including the Mount Pleasant Police Department, Saginaw Chippewa Tribal Fire Department, Isabella County Sheriff’s Department, Mount Pleasant Department of Public Works, Mobile Medical Response, and Mount Pleasant Parks and Recreation were also in attendance to showcase their vehicles and interact with the kids.
Chippewa River District Library and Eileen DeLorenzo also supported the Worldwide Day of Play.
“A special thanks to the organizations and 46 volunteers who contributed so much of their time and resources to make this event possible,” said Jennifer Fields of the Mount Pleasant Discovery Museum. “Horns sounded, sirens sung, and children played – it was a very successful first annual Worldwide Day of Play!”