By Emiko Perea
A young boy comes home from school and the first thing he does is slide into a comfortable position to watch videos on his phone for hours. He comes when he gets called for dinner and manages to complete his homework but spends the rest of the night looking at his phone.
Currently, technology addiction is common throughout the world. Although a modern convenience, the excessive use of entertainment devices especially among children often takes away from quality social interactions and opportunities to develop healthy relationships, nurture skills through hands-on experience, and finding purpose within a larger community. To reduce the time children spent on devices, Global Peace Foundation (GPF) Malaysia partnered with Breeze to reach out to the low-income communities to provide fun alternative activities for children to do after school.
In June, the first Outdoor Playtime session was run for parents and children to take part in indoor and outdoor activities that cultivated the children’s social and leadership skills. For one indoor activity, the children dipped pieces of fruit in paint and pressed them against paper to create art pieces. This opened the children to collaborate with others and express themselves in new, creative ways. The children went outside for a self-defense lesson from the Martial Arts Club of Nottingham University. The children not only learned to defend themselves but learned that martial arts required mental focus and discipline.
In July, the Outdoor Playtime session was continued in celebration of World Chocolate Day. The children did several creative projects using sweets, even learning how to make delicious treats like oreo truffles. They used edible chocolate playdough to make crafts.
After that, the children were shown the M&M experiment, in which different colored M&Ms lined the ridge of a plate. After a few drops of water were drizzled on the M&Ms, the children witnessed the colors leak from the M&Ms in streaks that merged at the center.
The children used their valuable after school time to fulfill themselves socially and to enjoy doing various activities that push them mentally, creatively, and physically while cultivating leadership values like teamwork and innovation. This program created a supportive environment for children and their parents to create memories that will continue to shape them as well-rounded leaders in the future.