A Peoria Park District Facility

Play and Health

For kids, play is much more than fun and games. It’s how they learn and grow. That’s why the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) – a nationwide organization of more than 67,000 pediatricians – is urging parents to make playtime a priority. "The Power of Play," a 2018 AAP publication, noted:

Play is not frivolous: it enhances brain structure and function and promotes executive function (ie, the process of learning, rather than the content), which allow us to pursue goals and ignore distractions.

-American Academy of Pediatrics, 2018

Play is essential for the health of all children, and the Peoria PlayHouse Children's Museum is proud to be a space that allows for and promotes healthy play for all.

Through play, kids learn to:

  • Solve problems
  • Collaborate
  • Think creatively
  • Social skills
  • Be curious

Active play also has health benefits, including:

  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Promoting heart health
  • Stress management
  • Promoting healthy brain development

It’s not just kids who benefit from play. Playing with parents or caregivers helps children form safe, stable, and nurturing relationships. And adults can re-discover the joy of their own childhood.

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Health Initiatives

There is a large body of evidence to confirm that play promotes health by helping children develop healthy cognitive abilities, gross and fine motor skills, social relationship management and strategies for coping with life stress.

–Michael Wells, President
OSF HealthCare Children’s
Hospital of Illinois

In order to reach children and families who are most in need of healthy play, the PlayHouse has launched the following initiatives:

Prescription for Play

OSF HealthCare Children’s Hospital of Illinois and the Peoria PlayHouse Children’s Museum are partnering to promote child wellness by writing Prescriptions for Play. Selected OSF HealthCare physicians and residents are working to identify play deprivation in children, and prescribe visits to the PlayHouse, museum memberships, and toys from the museum's store to these families.