How does play keep children healthy? Scroll down to find out!
First, you need a place to play. So we hold our programs in schools and community centres where children can play our health-based games safely. In our programs in Africa, we focus on issues, like HIV & AIDS, malaria and water-borne illness. Our games are tailored to the needs of the community. And our activities teach kids how to prevent disease and how to accept people living with these illnesses.
These youth are playing a game called Infection Protection. In small groups, one child plays The Body while others link hands and form a circle to become The Immune System, surrounding and protecting The Body. Another child is selected to play The Virus. The objective is for The Virus to tag The Body from outside the circle, while The Immune System tries to prevent that from happening.
Another popular game is Mosquito Tag. In this game, two children play the role of mosquitoes and two play doctors. The rest run to avoid being bitten by a mosquito. If they are tagged, the child must stop and pretend to have a high fever from malaria. The other children pretend to be doctors by rolling a medicine ball between their legs, which allows the child to resume the game.
After every game or activity, our Right To Play Coaches engage the children in a discussion called Reflect-Connect-Apply. The children have a chance to reflect on what they have experienced, connect it to an earlier experience and apply what they have since learned to real-life situations. It's effective: 91 per cent of children in our Benin programs knew how malaria is transmitted vs. 59% of children outside of our programs.
Play: it's a simple idea that's helping change the face of children's health in disadvantaged communities. Through our programs, kids can grow up into healthy, happy human beings.