According to Explorium Denton Children’s Museum Executive Director Dinora Padilla-Avina,
“One play date at a time is the best investment for the mental health of the future of our tiniest citizens! Explorium Denton provides opportunities for children and families to play and learn together as our effort to maintain children’s mental health. As we all know, the pandemic continues to cause stress on all members of the community. Unfortunately, children have not been free from this stress. Constant periods of high stress in children causes negative physical and behavioral changes. High stress in children result in negative outcomes for the family unit and the whole child.
“Unfortunately for most children, opportunities to play outside of their home and with others could not take priority and not just because of the pandemic. Children of low-income families and low resources don’t always have the chance to just play. Why is play important? Play is both simple and complex but it’s the child’s context for learning. Research shows that playing, making connections, and talking helps to reduced stress levels in children, it’s the most effective way to maintain children’s mental health. Financial burden should not be a barrier for a child to be able to play in an environment created to foster their natural ability to learn through play.
“Therefore at Explorium Denton we want to remind everyone that play is important, but we need your help! We need your support in providing these play opportunities for North Texas children. Join our efforts to increase the mental health of children by providing opportunities for them to play at Explorium Denton through donations towards our outreach programs!
“We are serious about making play a priority and we stand by that when we created our zero admission fee partnerships with the Boys and Girls Club members, Early Childhood Interventions clients, EBT/Wic Participants, as well as families of Texas educators K-12. We are so thankful that these targeted groups get to come in with their family to play because donors have prioritize children’s mental health. In order to continue these efforts, we need financial support. Our dream would be that the outreach program could be extended to provide no cost admission for 300 more low income families.
“We know and believe play is a priority, and really, everyone should play more often! We know there’s a decline in children’s mental health because of our current pandemic situation. We know, research proves it, that our children depend on us to implement play as a priority. They are eagerly waiting to play every time they get a chance. Now more than ever, they should be given that chance.”
* Photo credit: Dinora Padilla ** Graphic/photo provided by Emporium Denton
In 12 years, Communities Foundation of Texas’ North Texas Giving Day has pumped more than $375 million into the North Texas community. In 2020, more than $58.8 million was raised through more than 106,000 donors benefiting over 3,200 area nonprofits.