Play Pods, a locally designed initiative aimed at fostering a love of play, has proven to be a hit in Southland.
Created with insights and feedback from the Let’s Play Southland network, Sport Southland’s Healthy Families Invercargill team has been instrumental in making the Play Pods a reality.
“Play is such a fundamental part of growing up, but it’s under threat from a range of factors in today’s society,” Sport Southland chief executive and Healthy Families Invercargill chair Brendon McDermott said.
“The reason these Play Pods have been so successful is because they give just enough support to encourage children to get involved, but they allow kids to experience the best things about play – being creative, being self-driven and, most of all, having fun.”
The Pods were designed based on local insights and also utilised Sport NZ’s play principles. They contain a range of equipment to stimulate imagination and encourage children to be innovative and creative.
Bookings for Pods have been so steady since being introduced in June that an extra Pod was recently created.
Four Play Pods are now available for bookings at ILT Stadium, with the stadium lowering its court hire to make the pods more accessible. A small koha goes towards the maintenance of the pods.
Two more Pods, which have been designed to incorporate cultural elements, are based at Murihiku Marae and will be officially launched in the new year.
ILT Stadium general manager Nigel Skelt said the introduction of the Play Pods showed just how versatile the stadium was.
“It’s great to see our youngest citizens in here playing during the day. My challenge would be to see how we can encourage all age groups to get more involved in play,” he said.
The Pods were supported by funding from the Invercargill Licensing Trust and president Alan Dennis, a former school principal, said it had been great to see the Pods in action.
“I love the fact that this initiative has been created locally, rather than being a national franchise. Having those opportunities to develop skills through play at an early age is vital for development,” he said.
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