Airmen, families celebrate Worldwide Day of Play

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Debbie Lockhart
  • 50th Space Wing Public Affairs
Approximately 350 families from Peterson and Schriever Air Force bases got off the couch and went outside to play during Nickelodeon's Worldwide Day of Play event held in Patriot Park Sept. 26.

"This is a Department of Defense-wide event where we partnered with Nickelodeon for the Worldwide Day of Play to promote everyone putting down their remotes, turning off the TV and getting outside to play -- we want everyone outside and moving," said Carlos Wade, the Peterson Youth Center youth sports director.

Each year during the event, the cable TV network Nickelodeon turns off its programming and goes dark for three hours. The Centers for Disease Control has found participation in physical activity declines as young people age.

"We always say this kind of event is for the kids, but this time we added a little more to really get the families involved," Wade said.

This event featured a 2-kilometer color run, inflatable obstacle courses, games, featured booths, and raffles from various vendors.

"I think this is an awesome event," said Je'Mahl Ray, a Schriever School Age Program assistant. "It gives the kids the chance to be active, to do some things they see on TV and for some of these kids, this may be the first time they've gotten to do these things."

In addition to encouraging children and their families to become active, the event also highlighted the importance of good nutrition with a family-oriented healthy cooking competition.

"Families get a surprise box, and won't know what is in it," Wade said. "They'll have to make a healthy meal from it -- just like the shows you see on TV."

According to the CDC, good nutrition promotes proper growth and development of children as well as reduces the risk of obesity, osteoporosis, iron deficiency, and cavities.

"This is awesome -- the activities here are really going to get (the kids') brains going," Ray said. "It will teach the kids and make them think about (nutrition and physical activity)."

Peterson's Youth Center spent four months planning and preparing for the Worldwide Day of Play event and plans to do the same again next year.

"There isn't a cloud in sight and the kids are amped up," Ray said. "We want to make sure to get the kids involved in these events and just let them have fun and play."