Why being playful is a healthy activity for children

Parks are not only fun for kids but they help promote healthy social skills for the future / Colby Gallagher

In our Facebook story of the day, you wanted to know about parks and play areas in Albany. Fox 31 visited some parks to find out what makes a good play area and why it's important.

"Kids love to play. We want to be known as a city that invites families to come out and be a part of that," said Chehaw Zoo Director, Kevin Hils.

Albany certainly is known to be a place to play. The town has been listed as one of 213 "Playful City USA" communities by KaBOOM, a non-profit organization dedicated to saving play time.

"We want to make it possible for all kids, all adults, to get out and enjoy what we have to offer," said Albany Parks and Recreation Deputy Director, Derrell Smith.

With an estimated 100 parks and play areas in Dougherty County, there are certainly opportunities to experience what the area has to offer, but what makes a good play spot for children?

Hils said it is an area where you feel your child is safe.

"What you try to do is find protected areas to allow them to have that play space."

He also said Riverfront Park is a great place to go with its open pathways that allow any type of danger, like snakes, to be easily spotted. Smith says Ken Gardens Park is a nice spot because of the fields it offers.

Both Smith and Hils agree that no matter where you go, just playing outside is beneficial for kids for many reasons.

Parks are an important outlet for children to get their stress of the day out, but they're also a great way to develop the skills they'll need later in life."

"When they're playing outside with each other, they have to get social skills, they learn teamwork, they're able to make their own decisions," said Smith.

"Outside play does show levels of creativity which is pretty critical later in life when you're dealing with problem solving."

Smith stressed it also keeps children healthy.

"Health wise it's so important for people to get out and enjoy the outdoors."

With indoor activities like video games and computer programs becoming increasingly popular, childhood obesity and diabetes has become a problem. However, a consistent amount of outdoor activity will keep a child's body and mind healthy.