In June, I published a blog post honoring the fathers who dedicate time and effort to delivering the joy of play to kids around the world. I am deeply grateful for all of your positive feedback and shares! The "play matters" community is astounding, lively, and empowering! Now, I want to honor the mothers who serve as steadfast, enthusiastic advocates for play. These five women are so deserving of the 'Mama Play Awards'! If you want to learn more about the importance of play, I urge you to tap into the fantastic resources they provide. To connect with them via Twitter, click on their names!
- Lenore Skenazy: Risky play is natural. It preps children for the unpredictable nature of the real world. When children engage in a healthy balance of risk, freedom, and play, they build confidence and independence. Risky play provides a challenging and enriching kind of fun that kids create themselves. Lenore Skenazy knows just how powerful this is! When she allowed her 9-year-old son to ride the subway alone, Lenore Skenazy became known as the "worst mom in America." That experience prompted her to launch FreeRangeKids.com, a platform where she advocates for more freedom in children's daily lives. Her bold, proactive approach has empowered countless parents to loosen the reins and encourage their kids to explore all facets of play, including myself!
- Janice Halloran: I love interacting with Janice on Twitter and exploring her colorful, abundant website! As a licensed social worker, mental health counselor, and mom of two, I wholeheartedly trust her insights on how vital play is for the social and emotional wellbeing of children. She believes that play is the foundation for future skills, and is dedicated to making play accessible to all children, especially those with ADHD, autism, social anxiety, and sensory processing issues.
- Jill Vialet: If you have read my interview with Jill Vialet, you know how much of a fan I am. Jill Vialet is the founder and CEO of Playworks, a non-profit organization that strives to unlock every child's "superpowers" with recess and play! They train coaches that embark on exciting, community-fueled journeys to create more playful cultures in schools. Jill firmly believes that play matters because "it creates an opportunity to bring out the best in every kid - and it's an opportunity for kids to really see the best in themselves." Jill also penned a novel titled Recess Rules - it empowers kids to stand up for recess and believe in their ability to make a positive impact.
- Charmin Calamaris: Charmin Calamaris departed from her seasoned career and became dedicated to supporting her own health and wellbeing. In doing so, she discovered that it helped her be a "better wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, and citizen." This personal revolution sparked the Momiverse. This lively, wholesome resource empowers mothers to build a more fulfilling, balanced lifestyle for themselves while nurturing a family. The Momiverse explores topics that are meaningful, such as cyberbulling, healthy recipes, exercise for the whole family, and of course, the wonders of play. I also admire her dedication to being eco-friendly and celebrating the planet we have!
- Bethe Almeras: If you believe childhood should be messy, muddy, and silly, connect with Bethe Almeras, the one and only Grass Stain Guru! Almeras encourages parents and kids to unplug, go barefoot, embrace eccentricity, and seek unbridled joy outdoors. Really, she advocates for kids to be kids! My interview with her was such a fun and enriching experience. Bethe states that "children are born to play." I passionately agree! Another wonderful thing about Bethe is her spirited support for animal adoption. She truly is a blessing to her community!
These are just a few of the marvelous women I have met that are deserving of a Mama Play Award. While they may not all be mothers, their commitment to play means that they are creating a world where every child can thrive. Are there any other champions of play we should know about? Please tell us in the comments!
Find more about the author: Kim Hart