FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
ASPEN, CO (July 12, 2010) —
Entering its sixth year, the Aspen Ideas Festival is a conversation-packed exploration of some of the most important ideas and pressing issues in the world today. It's been called "inspiring," "exciting," and "electric," but never "playful." That'll soon change as one of this year's themes in the second session is "The Promise of Play," which will explore how play fuels human creativity and is as basic a biological drive as sleeping and eating.
But few people realize that play is in peril. Play is quickly disappearing from our children's lives, and it's taking a toll on the health and happiness of our children, our families and our communities. Today, children spend less time playing outdoors than any other generation, spending instead an average of 7.5 hours a day in front of a screen. Lack of play is directly linked to increased childhood obesity—one of the main issues facing younger generations today. The White House Childhood Obesity Task Force recently issued a report with recommendations on how to "solve the problem of childhood obesity within a generation." Physical activity and play were cited as key elements.
Lack of play is also linked to a decrease in creativity, imagination, problem-solving skills, resiliency and an increase in classroom behavior problems. So, to help bring this issue to the forefront, the Aspen Institute has invited the top experts in the field of play to discuss the importance of play and how to bring it back into our children's lives. The panel includes:
In addition to offering these playful luminaries, this year, the festival will feature one of David Rockwell's Imagination Playground™ in a Box systems, a portable breakthrough playspace concept to encourage child-directed, unstructured free play. With a focus on loose parts, Imagination Playground™ offers a changing array of elements that allows children to constantly reconfigure their environment and to design their own course of play. Giant foam blocks, mats, wagons, fabric and crates overflow with creative potential for children to play, dream, build and explore endless possibilities. Once festival attendees are done playing with this engaging equipment, the Aspen Institute will be donating the system to a local school.
KaBOOM! is the national non-profit dedicated to giving all kids – particularly those growing up in poverty in America – the childhood they deserve filled with balanced and active play, so they can thrive. Since 1996, KaBOOM! has collaborated with partners to build, open or improve nearly 16,700 playgrounds, engaged more than one million volunteers and served 8.5 million kids. KaBOOM! creates great places to play, inspires communities to promote and support play, and works to drive the national discussion about the importance of play in fostering healthy and productive lives. To learn why #playmatters, visit kaboom.org or join the conversation at twitter.com/kaboom or facebook.com/kaboom.