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Published on May 11, 2022

Come Play! With Us 

It’s often said the work of kids is play. Cone Health takes that idea one step further.  

Through Play! — the newly opened learning playground at Cone Health MedCenter Greensboro at Drawbridge Parkway — kids’ “work” now has a specific goal. They’re developing a life-long love of exercise that leads to better health.  Child tumbling in air

According to the Centers for Disease Control, nearly 20% of children in the U.S. are obese. All children should get at least an hour a day of physical activity. They should also run, jump rope, ride a bike or do other cardiovascular activity three times a week. Exercise leads to overall better health including a lower risk of depression and improved thinking and memory skills.  

“We’re dedicated to inspiring physical activity and encouraging children to live healthier, happier lives from an early age,” says Jennifer Vocke, Play! Coordinator. “We’re helping kids get active, take safe and measured risks, build confidence, and explore independently while playing with children their own age.” 

Play!, is a great space for kids to enjoy while parents use Sagewell Health & Fitness facilities or see a health care provider at MedCenter Greensboro. Vocke says it’s not an ordinary drop-in gym. It’s a program that uses the latest research to offer 20 age-appropriate classes weekly that help kids, from infancy to grade school, develop new skills.  Child tumbling in air 

Classes are small — no more than 15 children — and they include: 

  • Parent-child classes (4 months to 3 years): Filled with colors, sounds, and movement, this class helps children improve their motor skills. Children learn to lift their heads, walk, and strengthen their muscles. 

  • Preschool (3 years to 6 years): With an introduction to gymnastics, children begin to master skills that support success in kindergarten, including listening, sharing, and following directions. 

  • Grade school (6 years to 12 years): This high-energy fitness class, called the Ninja Warrior Obstacle Course, teaches children teamwork while improving their balance, strength, coordination, and flexibility. 

Ultimately, Play! is dedicated to constantly growing and improving its programs. In addition to these classes and birthday parties, Play! will offer camps this summer.  

“Our researched-based curriculum is all about developmental milestones. It’s what sets us apart,” Vocke says. “As we watch the children learn and grow, we’ll continue to build the program and change the curriculum to fit what the kids need.”  Child tumbling in air

A parent whose two-year-old son has been active in the Play! area since the facility opened in January calls the experience “top-notch.” 

“He feels the love, and individualized attention that each staff member gives all of the children,” says Airreia Pierce. “The materials are engaging and age-appropriate, which has caused my son to not want to leave at times! As an early childhood educator and advocate, Cone's Play! area is high-quality!”