When you think about the basic needs of children, your mind probably goes to food, clothing and shelter. The things all humans need for survival. If you were to help the millions of homeless children in the United States, you might, rightfully, give some canned goods to a local food bank, or donate some blankets to an area shelter. These basic needs are something many of us can easily provide for our own children, and ones we easily take for granted.
There is another childhood need we take for granted: play. Play is a fundamental part of childhood development. Play helps shape our children’s characters, develop critical life skills and forge their sense of self worth. A recent study by the American Association of Pediatrics highlights the importance of play and of every child, regardless of circumstance deserving the right to play.
Play is a vital part of childhood, and something all children deserve to experience. Unfortunately, however, kids who find themselves with unstable housing — often moving from shelter to shelter — rarely get the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of play.
Homeless shelters, with limited resources already stretched too thin, are understandably not as concerned about kids playing as they are about making sure there are enough beds or enough food to feed the families in their custody. That is why we need organizations like the Homeless Children’s Playtime Project.
The Homeless Children’s Playtime Project is an organization based out of Washington D.C., which works with local shelters and transitional housing sites to provide children with opportunities to play. Volunteers are trained in understanding the effects of homelessness on children are able to create play spaces that respect the dignity of every child.
Kids have the chance to laugh and have fun, and even experience all that D.C. has to offer through field trips lead by the Homeless Children’s Playtime Project. The foundation caters to children of all ages, and works with families to ensure their voices are being heard.
As a mom, I love seeing the spark of play ignite in my children. I believe play is one of the purest delights of childhood, and one all kids deserve to experience. I am proud to support The Homeless Children’s Playtime Project this January as part of my Blogging for Better program, and I hope you will consider doing the same.