The importance of teaching children to care for the food they ingest, the clean air they breathe, for the oceans they swim in, and the planet they’ll inherit, will need to be a priority if we want to build a bright green future.
5 Health Reasons Children Need To Play (adapted from the American Heart Association)
1. Children in the United States today are less fit than they were a generation ago. Many have early signs of cardiovascular risk factors such as physical inactivity, excess weight, and higher blood cholesterol.
2. In fitness testing children between the ages 6–17, shows that children are getting slower in endurance running and weaker.
3. The prevalence of overweight American adolescents ages increased to nearly 179% since 1971.
4. An estimated 59% of children under ages 4–11 are exposed to secondhand smoke in the home, a known risk factor for heart disease.
5. 37.2% of high school students spend three or more hours a day watching TV.
Playgrounds and play structures are places where children can have fun and expend the energy they need to stay healthy. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if playgrounds could also teach children to save the planet?
Designers, You Song Young, Jin Soo Yeon, Ahn Ho Sang, and Lee Sung Jae, created The Natural Energy Park, a playground that generates kids’ energy to create renewable energy to power the play structure.
Examples: After climbing a ladder into a “laboratory”, kids spin a wheel that will illuminate “Benjamin Franklin’s kite”. An optical illusion will spin at varying speeds as children adjust a solar panel (!!) to different angles, and pedaling a bicycle powers a pinwheel that illuminates lights. There’s even a seesaw powered water-wheel.