Posted by Ellen Krafve IMG_0944

Released by Mary Rerich with the Children are a Gift Foundation:

TYLER, TX – The Children’s Park 5th Anniversary Teddy Bear Picnic will be held on September 20, from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m., at The Children’s Park located at 900 South Broadway in Tyler. Eight different play stations are scheduled for the children, and parents should bring a blanket and picnic lunch for their family. Children should also bring their favorite teddy bear and a $1 donation for the park. For information, call (903) 939-1597.

“This is a time for children to teach parents the joy of childhood and for the parents to teach children the joy of giving,” said Sunny Davidson, Children Are A Gift Foundation board member. “Play stations will be set up by members of the Children Are A Gift Foundation to include: story telling; music with instruments; bead critters; in the air (balls & Frisbees); on the ground (ball rolling); wet rock climbing; flower planting; tadpole fishing; and many photo opportunities throughout the park.”

“The Children’s Park was completed five years ago, built by the community to celebrate the lives of all children,” said Jennifer Carson, president of the Children Are A Gift Foundation. “It is both a quiet place of reflection for adults and a place for children to play and use their imaginations. Even though the park lends itself to exploring, many who go there for the first time will still say, ‘What are children supposed to do when there is no playground equipment’?”

“When the park was being designed, the designer asked what the organizers remembered most from their childhood. Did the playground equipment or the creeks for exploring hold the best memories? “The creeks” was the answer. And the designer responded, ‘Then that is the kind of park that we are going to build,'” Carson said.

“The Children’s Park stands today as a place where children may explore and discover, using their imaginations,” Davidson said. “After all, play is in the child, not in the equipment. The equipment is in the form of two giant granite teddy bears playing by the stream. The wear from usage shows the fascination of these sculptures. All children are enticed by the playful nature of the bears, to climb on them, and become their friends. The giggles which come spontaneously show the joy of teddy bear hugs. And that is the basis for the name of this special day, THE TEDDY BEAR PICNIC.”

“This play space has been built with the child being foremost in the eyes of the designer, using nature as the basis,” Davidson said. “Children and nature have a special connection, as they learn lasting lessons for life from nature. In Richard Louv’s latest book, “Last Child in the Woods”, the author describes a haunting vision of children without access to nature suffering from Nature Deficit Disorder. Those who take the time to stand in awe of the butterfly garden or take in the delightful display of flowers and shrubs which grow with such care in intimate displays will be aware of God’s plan for nature.”

According to Davidson, Marcy Guddemi, former president of the American Association for the Child’s Right to Play, is a vocal supporter of the National Play Day developed 20 years ago by the association. “This Teddy Bear Picnic is planned to be just such a play day,” Davidson said. “And, it will happen in this landscape for play at the Children’s Park.”