Play is more than fun and games.
For the North Okanagan Optimist Club (NOOC), and facilitators of Vernon’s Unplug and Play Week, it is essential for child development.
The annual week-long event, now in its sixth year in Vernon, is facilitated by the NOOC and the North Okanagan Early Childhood Development Coalition, with the support of dozens of community sponsors.The event kicks off on April 26 with a launch party to open the new playground boxes at Lavington Centennial Park. This year’s title sponsor is Interior Savings.
The 2018 edition of Unplug and Play runs from April 30 to May 6, and is anticipated to include up to 90 activities that will happen at different venues around town — most of which are free. One or two events are expected to include a fee for attendees, but organizers stress that the fee will be no more than $5.
North Okanagan Optimist Club director and long-time Unplug and Play committee, Phyllis Dyck, said the popular event was born from the observation that children’s increasing attachment to their phones, iPads. etc., was costing them the ability to socialize “normally” with one another.
“Six years ago the optimist club was approached by the Early Childhood Development Coalition, because they noticed children were arriving at school without an ability to socialize because they were so plugged in. They saw the need for children to get away from their devices and play outside and be active.”
Dyck is passionate about the movement — particularly this year’s theme, Fuel to Play, which puts this year’s focus on encouraging healthy eating habits that provide children with the “energy to play.”
“We want kids to understand what good food does for you and how food choices affect their ability to play and perform,” she said.
Dyck added that complimentary healthy snacks will be available to families at the Unplug and Play wrap-up event at Polson Park on May 6.
The Unplug and Play committee is currently seeking groups/businesses or individuals to sponsor events. Anyone interested is asked to get in touch with Phyllis by email at firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible.
For a full schedule of events watch The Morning Star or visit Unplug and Play Vernon on Facebook.