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GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) - A number of studies show giving kids enough playtime is important for their health and overall well being. Friday, the Grand Rapids Children's Museum is partnering with Grand Valley State University and Aquinas College for a "Symposium on Play."

The event is between 8:30am and 4:30pm at the GVSU Eberhard Center. Organizers encourage "anyone interested in education, healthcare, business innovation, worker preparedness, criminal justice, economic development and the future of our community to attend."

Dr. John Kilbourne, professor of Movement Science at GVSU says in today's world many children have schedules and hurried lifestyles that rival their parents. Between school, homework, chores, sports, and other extra curricular activities there is little free time left.

"Play is a free activity. You should never be forced to play. Imitation, pretending, alternation and change, taking risks, bonding with others in your environment. In pure play there is not profit. The profit from play is only play," he said."

Kilbourne says ideally play has to involve movement. Many experts prefer that movement to be done outdoors. However, things like playing with video games that involve movement such as the Nintendo Wii and Xbox Kinect qualifies as play. Kilbourne says they can help adults as well as children boost creativity, fight obesity and depression.

"Play isn't just for kids," said Kilbourne.

"We've found here at the museum sometimes we have to remind parents how to play. But the children take the lead and teach their parents. But all the activities and all the exhibits are designed to be interactive and hands on," said Robert Dean, executive director, for the Grand Rapids Children's Museum.

A growing body of research shows activities done during play time allow children to develop the strong cognitive, social, emotional and physical skills that allow them to be their best.

The "Symposium on Play" will focus on the role of play in business, education, criminal justice, and health care.

For more information visit the Grand Rapids Children's Museum website.

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