Play Africa Launches New Children's Voices Programme at Constitution HillJOHANNESBURG (8 August) – Play Africa, a children’s museum based at Constitution Hill, today launched its new Children’s Voices programme, which will run through February 2019 with support from the Government of Canada’s Canada Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI). Through play and dialogue, the programme strengthens children’s rights and girls’ rights by introducing all children to the core values of the Constitution, the rule of law, and different ways they can make their voices heard in a democratic society. It also introduces children to key concepts enshrined in the Constitution, including human dignity, freedom and equality. Read Full Press Release
Educator Training and Public Lecture: Early Childhood TechnologyPlay Africa welcomed Stephanie Bynum, Vice President of Programs at Kohl Children's Museum of Greater Chicago, for a public lecture on age-appropriate use of technology and the foundational skills to develop computational thinking. She shared several low-cost early coding activities that can be replicated in every classroom in South Africa.
Play Africa Opens to the Public Five Days A Week at Constitution HillPlay Africa, a groundbreaking, community-connected children’s museum based at Constitution Hill, is now open five days a week! The public can visit Play Africa during open hours from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Tuesday - Friday, and 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Saturdays. Closed on Public Holidays. There is no admission fee, though donations are welcome and help us offer our experiences to every child. Play Africa is a shared public space that champions children’s rights, inspires children and strengthens family relationships by offering unique three-dimensional learning experiences. Based in the Old Fort section of the iconic Constitution Hill, Play Africa transforms and re-casts the former prison into a joyful hub of play, learning and discovery. Through unique exhibits and programmes with a focus on #STEM - Science, Technology, Engineering, and Maths, as well as the Arts and Civic Engagement, Play Africa ignites curiosity and a love of learning in young people. Together, with the support of our partners, we are building the next generation of South African inventors, problem-solvers and innovators.
Sensory play: Special hours for children with autism and other special needsPlay Africa has created special access hours twice a month for children with autism and sensory processing disorders and their families. We aim to provide a warm, welcoming, ‘judgment-free zone’ for all families in our city. Because we believe in every child's right to play, we want Play Africa to be a place where ALL families, including those with children with special needs can come together for special play time in a relaxed environment. Play Africa’s Sensory Play exhibit will be open to members of the public for free at Constitution Hill from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on the following days: Saturday, 5 May Tuesday, 15 May Saturday, 2 June Tuesday, 12 June Saturday, 7 July Tuesday, 24 July Saturday, 25 August Tuesday, 4 September Saturday, 22 September Tuesday, 2 October Saturday, 20 October Tuesday, 6 November Saturday 24, November The initiative is supported by several partners, including Rand Merchant Bank (RMB), the FirstRand Foundation and Rockwood Private Equity; and individual donors. “RMB is proud to support the socially transformative work of Play Africa, particularly as the team strives for inclusion and the mainstreaming of disabilities in all their programmes. Play Africa creates unique opportunities to inspire creativity, problem-solving, critical thinking and personal expression,” said Yvette Nowell, head of the RMB Fund.
PRESS RELEASE: Play Africa Launches Sensory Play Area For Children With Autism During World Autism Awareness MonthJOHANNESBURG (18 April) – Play Africa, a children’s museum based at Constitution Hill, announced today the launch of its new Sensory Play exhibit, a unique hands-on play environment created especially for children with autism and their families. World Autism Awareness Month is currently underway during April 2018 and this initiative nurtures autistic children’s own concept of themselves and their rights as secured in the Constitution. Read Full Press Release
Championing Children's RightsPlay Africa joined forces with the Constitution Hill and other children's organisations to host the inaugural Children's Rights Festival, as part of the Human Rights Festival held at Constitution Hill. This festival aimed to champion children's rights, including their right to safe environments to play. Play Africa offered the public a variety of play-based exhibits that ignited curiosity and seeked to educate children about their rights in an interactive and playful manner.The children and their families engaged in fun and play-based activities ranging from Imagination Playground, Rigamajig, Children's Voices programme, Hands on Maths activities and Incwadi Yothando.
Educator Training: Sensory PlaySensory Play is beneficial, not only to children who struggle with sensory disorders, but ALL children. Sensory play enhances and heightens children’s skills, including, but not limited to fine and gross motor, vestibular and auditory. Keeping in line with our constant pursuit to be innovative and keeping up with global standards and practices, we had the honour and pleasure of hosting Wéma Harris, the Arts In Education Manager from the Brooklyn Children's Museum, on the 20th of February 2018. Wéma shared techniques for sensory experiences to support learners of all ages and abilities, as practiced by our friends in other children’s museums across the world. We learnt about the Sensory Room activities facilitated at the Brooklyn Children's Museum. 25 practitioners came away with new tools, ideas and resources to adapt their own programmes to meet the needs of the children they work with, every day. After this workshop, some of the practitioners were so motivated, that they came up with creative sensory activities of their own, which they shared with us.
Farm to Market Exhibit LaunchIn January 2018 a new exhibit took root at Play Africa, the colourful and fun Farm to Market exhibit. This exhibit allows children to engage in imaginative play planting, picking and selling fruit and vegetables. The exhibit was made possible through donations raised by Friends of Play Africa in Seatle and our fiscal partners KidLinks World, a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organisation in the United States. Farm to Market has already provided many hours of constructive and educational play as children learn about agriculture, financial literacy, and sorting and counting, the basics of numeracy and literacy. We also use Farm to Market to discuss every child's right to food. Come see Farm to Market today at Play Africa at Constitution Hill!
Promoting every child’s right to play with Spin MasterPlay Africa partnered with the Toy Movement, a global initiative led by the Toronto-based in Master, a leading global children’s entertainment company, to ensure that children all over the world have the opportunity to play. “By joining forces in this sensational campaign, we are spreading joy while promoting children's right to play in South Africa and celebrating the transformative power of play in learning,” said Play Africa CEO Gretchen Wilson-Prangley. South Africa faces enormous challenges when it comes to providing our children with the child-safe play environments and early learning tools they need and deserve. According to latest published figures from UNICEF (2012), only 29% of South Africa's children have access to safe play areas. While children find ways to play in any environment, many children lack toys that can be helpful tools to support new and different kinds of play. Toys can ignite a range of child-initiated, open-ended play – activities that bolster a child’s cognitive, physical, social and emotional development. Toys can encourage children to use their imagination, develop language skills, form healthy social attachments, and make sense about the world around them. On Friday, 1 December, Play Africa and Spin Master launched the Toy Movement Campaign (#ToyMovementSA), distributing more than 44,000 new Spin Master toys to children in need across greater Johannesburg. From schools to orphanages, hospitals to ECD centres, Play Africa promoteed happy experiences that celebrate the power of play during the 2017 holiday period and beyond. Spin Master’s gift to underprivileged children was inspired by the South African roots of the company’s founders and some executives, and will give thousands of South African children a chance to play with the world’s most popular new toys. The campaign started with a celebratory launch event at Constitution Hill on the morning of 1 December, with 300 local school children coming together for a few hours of fun, and receiving a new, age appropriate toy to take home. Together with multiple stakeholders, this event brough awareness of every child's right to play, and the exciting campaign that will roll out between 1-15 December.
Creative Arts Family Play DayPlay Africa hosted an exciting week of Creative Arts Family Play Days with our friends and supporters from FirstRand’s Employee Volunteers. We brought Play Africa’s favourite exhibits as well as a debut of several new exhibits and programmes to 600 children and 300 adults with support from more than 260 volunteers. Together we showcased play and learning through the creative arts at Constitution Hill in Johannesburg.
Play Date for Refugee ChildrenPlay Africa’s “Play Date” with Sacred Heart College and the Three2Six Project for refugee children in Johannesburg was a major hit. Almost 400 children came together to enjoy a series of outdoor activities including Play Africa’s new Children’s Maker Space prototype, outdoor forts, clay making, collaborative art projects, and building our ‘human rights tree’. Killarny Gazette
- Leratong Preschool from Soweto joins Play Africa in the Children’s Room at Constitution Hill
- Children gather in the Children’s Room at Constitution Hill for an impromptu jam session.
- Play Africa helps families learn how to play together at home, igniting curiosity and life-long learning in Orange Farm with Sesame Workshop and the Lego Foundation.
“We, the People Walk” at Constitution HillHundreds of children and families meet at Constitution Hill in Johannesburg for the annual “We, the People Walk.” Play Africa hosted a post-walk celebration for children and families to engage in conversation about their rights and everyone’s right to play through hands-on exhibits and programmes. VIEW NEWS ARTICLE
- Play Africa joins our friends at Lefika La Phodiso and Fight with Insight to speak about children’s right to safe spaces at Constitution Hill. Children from the inner city come together to express their thoughts through art and play. VIEW NEWS ARTICLE
- Play Africa has a new home at Constitution Hill in Johannesburg!
- Thank you to all of our kind and generous supporters for helping us reach and exceed our #GivingTuesday goal. This allows our team to continue our on-going, hands-on play and learning exhibits and programmes as well as bring new and exciting experiences to children in Johannesburg with our Children’s Maker Space.
- Play Africa visits Orange Farm to demonstrate the power of play-based learning and the meaningful impact it has on children, families and communities, with Sesame Workshop and the Lego Foundation.
- The Play Africa Children’s Planetarium visited more than 1,500 children across Johannesburg this month. During this hands-on, minds-on experience, children explored the night sky in our life-like inflatable planetarium and discovered the sky we know and the stars we share.
- Children across South Africa experienced the solar excise with Play Africa! “Wow! This is a once in a lifetime experience” – Grade 3 Student in KwaZulu-Natal “The best day! One I will never forget in my life.” – Grade 2 Student in Johannesburg
- Play Africa celebrates Women’s Day with the Three2Six Project at Sacred Heart College in Johannesburg. 250 children and 250 of the women in their lives came together to laugh, play, dream and build meaningful memories.
- We celebrate 67 minutes of play on Nelson Mandela Day with Baumann Barlow ECD Centre.
- Play Africa launches our new children’s book at the Zoo in collaboration with the City of Joburg, Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo and the UN Environment Programme. The Big Show is an original story about two young girls who learn their role as environmental stewards of our planet. You can purchase the book at https://bridgebooks.co.za/products/the-big-show
- We join our friends at Afrika Tikkun to celebrate World Play Day with traditional African games and Play Africa’s exhibits and programmes at Uthando Early Childhood Development Centre.
- The Play Africa Team visits Kohl Children’s Museum to bring Art Across Oceans to children in Chicago, connecting children and their creative artwork across two continents through collaborative play and learning.
- Art Across Oceans launches in Johannesburg with teams from Play Africa and Kohl Children’s Museum of Greater Chicago. AAO brings children together from across oceans to explore their creativity through mono-printing, stop-motion animation and play. WATCH VIDEO
- Children work together to build rocket ships, houses and motorcycles with the Imagination Playground and recreate their structures with art materials at Japari School in Johannesburg.
- Play Africa Prototyping Begins! Children at Leratong Pre-Primary School in Alexandra, Johannesburg burst with laughter and excitement as the open the Imagination Playground for the first time. This was made possible by the generous support of our friends and donors on #GivingTuesday 2015 WATCH VIDEO