Boys and girls come out to play

SOME 120 children had the time of their lives playing under the sun in conjunction with World Play Day.

Held at The Learning Garden Kindergarten in Penang, the event got children laughing as they enjoyed various games and participated in many activities.

The children included those with special needs and physical disabilities.

International Toy Library Association (ITLA) board member and Asia Community Service CEO Khor Ai-Na, who helped organise the event, said the event was aimed at “letting the children be children”.

“There is too much emphasis nowadays on exam results, and while that is important, it is also important to let children just play and act their age,” she said.

She said that playing especially helped the children with special needs and disabilities.

“When they play together, their special needs and disabilities are forgotten. They become regular kids just having fun,” she said.

Kindergarten principal Chow Chee Keong said children these days preferred to sit and play with iPads or Gameboys which are not interactive.

Over 30 games for the children and other activities were held at the recent event.

There were a treehouse, a sandpit and a bubble area which provided hours of fun. Adding to the excitement were board games, henna painting, T-shirt painting and musical instruments.

Meanwhile, a four-day workshop with Neuro-Dramatic Play (NDP) expert Dr Sue Jennings at the Women’s Centre of Change in Jalan Burma saw therapists, psychiatrists and counsellors singing and dancing with puppets and toys.

“The NDP technique is to help children express their feelings after a traumatic experience,” said Dr Jennings.

“Play therapy is simply applying play techniques in such a way that a child who suffered domestiv violence can relate how they were abused or neglected,” she said after the workshop.

Occupational therapists Nur Hazwani Habib Abdullah and Ng Ai Tiang, who attended the workshop, said they knew about play therapy before but not in detail.

Special educationist Angeline Anthony Dass said the play therapy technique could also help children with special needs to express themselves.

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