“Play is NOT a luxury; it is a tool for education and health.”
-Right to Play
Working with kids and playing with kids goes hand-in-hand, so even while we try to foster self-confidence and other skills in the children of Nablus, we also want them to have a safe space where they can play games and let their creativity run wild. At our most recent library day, we interns were inspired by the story of Caine’s Arcade, an arcade made mostly from cardboard by a nine-year-old in California. Caine’s exceptional creativity inspired an international movement to promote play and creativity called the Global Day of Play, an event that occurred on October 6th.
At TYO, we gave the kids cardboard and other materials with just one instruction: make something fun to play with! From paddle board to a miniature football field to a doll house, the children who came to library day let their imaginations run wild and were excited to show off their games and help others learn to play them. At the end of the day, the kids took their cardboard games and toys home, ready to share them with their siblings and friends. As for us, we had a blast playing with them!
TYO is one of many organizations which understands that although formal education is essential to childhood development, the role that non formal education and play have in the lives of underprivileged youth populations, can not be underestimated – particularly in conflict regions. TYO serves youth in Nablus, while other organizations like Right to Play serve populations in Liberia and Lebanon. Such organizations emphasize the importance of staying active by using sports and creative activities as a means of personal growth and self-expression. When the education system provides minimal opportunities for creative expression and the community fails to provide adequate safe spaces for play, organizations like TYO are eager to pick up the slack.
Check out some of our favorite pictures of our imaginative cardboard day!