BY ROSIE PIGA PIZZO
Kids will have no reason to say there’s nothing to do this summer thanks to the new City of Bloomington Parks and Recreation Department Passport to Play program.
Beginning on the last day of school and continuing through August, children in grades K–6 can earn stamps in four different Passport to Play areas: places, programs, physical activity, and wellness. And, at the end of the program, stamps can be redeemed for prizes.
“It makes a bucket list for parents,” says Jess Klein, health and wellness coordinator for Parks and Rec. “If kids say they’re bored, a parent can say, ‘Let’s look at your passport.’”
Funded by a Youth and Adolescent Physical Activity Grant awarded by the Indiana State Department of Health, the goal of Passport to Play is to quantify kids’ physical activity.
The program will focus on summer activities available from Parks and Rec. Options will also be available from the Monroe County Parks and Recreation Department.
Summer staples such as Movies in the Parks or Touch-a-Truck will earn stamps for the “programs” section, Klein says. Examples of stamps to earn in “places” include renting a boat at Griffy Lake Nature Preserve or taking a hike at Leonard Springs Nature Park. Park staff members will be available to stamp kids’ passports.
The “physical activity” section is open-ended, asking kids to list the date of an activity, what they did, and how long they did it. “We want kids to understand that walking the dog or mowing the lawn can count; it doesn’t have to be just sports practice,” Klein says. Finally, “wellness” can include such things as trying a new fruit or vegetable or visiting a medical practitioner for an annual checkup.
Free passports are available through Parks and Rec, Boys & Girls Clubs of Bloomington, Hoosier Heights Bloomington, the Monroe County Public Library, The Warehouse, and WonderLab Museum of Science, Health and Technology.
For Passport to Play updates, visit bloomington.in.gov/parks.