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Healthi Kids brings international play event to City of Rochester on February 7

It’s been celebrated in 75 countries. Now the Global School Play Day is coming to nearly 60 sites in the City of Rochester.

To bring this event to Rochester, Healthi Kids collaborated with the City of Rochester’s Department of Recreation and Human Services and the Rochester City School District, uniting schools, libraries, R-Centers, childcare providers and out-of-school time programs to participate in all four quadrants of the City.

“The City of Rochester’s work to deliver hope and opportunity to everyone in our community includes the opportunity for our youth to engage in valuable play,” said Mayor Malik D. Evans. “On Global School Play Day and always, our city R-Centers and libraries provide safe spaces with caring adults where kids can have fun, learn, and form positive relationships with peers. I thank Healthi Kids and all of the partners joining in this initiative for bringing attention to the power of play.” 

In anticipation of the event, Healthi Kids supplied play kits of toys and games, financial support, and technical assistance to participating sites.

“Play is how kids learn best and is fundamental to their wellbeing,” said Jenn Beideman, director of whole child health advocacy for Healthi Kids, a Common Ground Health initiative, “The parents and students we’ve worked with told us they want more playful learning experiences during the school day, and we are demonstrating it can be done.”

A group of six educators—Scott Bedley, Tim Bedley, Bethany Chaffin, Misty Higgins, Eric Saibel, and Oliver Schinkten—launched Global School Play Day in 2015. These teachers were concerned children had less unstructured play time due to a number of factors, including increased focus on standardized testing in schools, increased screen time with tech gadgets, and neighborhood safety concerns, among others.

"In our nurturing learning environment, we recognize the profound impact of play on the development and well-being of our students," stated Dr. Carmine Peluso, Superintendent of Schools. "By activating dreams and unlocking potential, we break down boundaries and pave the way for every student to thrive.”

While the play day at schools will only be open to enrolled students, everyone is welcome to join the festivities at participating R-Centers and public libraries on Wednesday.

Over 65,000 students participated in the first Global School Play Day. Since 2015, that number has swelled to over 1.5 million children worldwide. 

“We’re thrilled to be able to add thousands of Rochester children to that number this year,” said Beideman.

To learn more about Global School Play Day and find the site nearest you, please visit


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