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It's so much more than fun.

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Nike's Made to Play

If you've ever watched kids on a playground running around and laughing, you might think they’re just having a great time.

It's hard to imagine that something so fun could help them succeed at the more serious life stuff. But that is, in fact, exactly what playtime is doing.

Research has actually proven time and time again that regular play is integral to kids' success in school, social situations, and, eventually, the careers that they choose to pursue.


So the next time you see kids giggling while they hang on jungle gyms or dig around in a sandbox, you might not want to just write it off as silliness — they're actually learning the fundamentals of adult behavior.

Here are 21 reasons you should encourage the kids in your life to play more all year long.

1. Kids aren't made to sit still. They're made to play.

Human kids are born with a natural desire to play, and it helps them learn important skills. That said, today's kids are way less active than their parents and generations were before them. However, if you give the kids in your life the opportunity to play, you're doing your part to help reverse this unhealthy trend.

2. Playing helps kids stay active, and active kids do better in school.

Active kids tend to have increased concentration, go to school more regularly, and are usually better behaved once they get there. In fact, studies suggest that they’re noticeably more attentive and less distracted right after an active play session.

So in a way, encouraging play is just as useful as paying extra for a tutor, if not more so.

3. They’re also more well-adjusted overall.

Kids who play regularly tend to have healthier eating habits and more confidence than inactive kids because they’re running on endorphins that boost mood and improve behavior.

Imagine, just by letting them go hog wild outside once a day, you might have the most well-adjusted kids on the block!

team, collaboration, education, investing in health

A group of children pulling a rope in a game of tug-o-war.

Photo by Anna Samoylova on Unsplash

4. And play can give them a major mood boost.

Research suggests that being more physically active can improve a kid’s self-esteem, mood, and social interactions all at once. If your kid mopes around the house, complaining that they have nothing to do, why not seize the opportunity and send them outside?

5. Play encourages healthy brain development, especially in younger kids.

You know how little kids seem to create fantastical worlds every time they play? All that creative thinking is helping them expand their imaginations in a super productive way. It's like cognitive strength training — not only are they building up their dexterity and physical strength, but by interacting with other kids in this way, they're also establishing emotional strength.

6. And that emotional strength pays off down the line.

Did you know that emotionally intelligent people tend to be more successful? According to analysis by Egon Zehnder International, it’s one of the most common attributes of thriving senior executives. This is where that starts.

7. Meanwhile, not playing could actually shorten kids’ lives.

According to the World Health Organization, physical inactivity is the fourth-leading risk factor for death worldwide. However, so far, that stat doesn't seem to be scaring people enough to get kids moving. Hopefully this list will encourage some parents to start changing that!

8. The sitting epidemic is very real, especially in our country.

In America alone, physical activity in kids between the ages of 9 and 15 has dropped by 75%. What better reason is there to make use of the longest day of the year?

sitting, physical activity, play, habits, risks

Kids have replaced physical activity with sedentary playing.

Photo from Pixabay

9. But American kids aren’t the only ones who are affected by inactivity.

According to the World Health Organization, 80% of 11- to 17-year-olds around the world fail to meet the minimum requirements of physical activity: 60 minutes a day. If the trend continues, your kids could live five years less than you.

10. And kids get a little less active every year.

Children are the most active at age 6, and then they tend to start slowing down. By the time they're 19, many kids are as sedentary as 60-year-olds, according to The Washington Post.

While this sounds scary, a little extra playtime now can reverse this trend.

11. That said, kids who start out active tend to stay active.

It’s pretty simple — starting such a habit at a young age is proven to help kids carry that habit with them into adulthood. And if they're active adults, odds are they'll encourage their kids to be active too — and just like that, you've started an extremely healthy chain reaction.

12. Child-driven play is also where kids learn skills they'll need as adults.

One of the biggest questions asked in job interviews is if you work well with others. That's not a skill you acquire in high school or college — it starts much earlier, on the playground. When left to their own devices, children develop the confidence they need to take control and make decisions. They also learn how to share, negotiate, and resolve conflicts in a diplomatic way.

13. Boys are twice as active as girls.

In fact, by the age of 14, girls drop out of team sports twice as often. Reasons for this include everything from a lack of athletic opportunities to social stigmas against sporty girls.

That’s why it’s so important to get girls moving early — so they’ll be more inclined to stay in the game down the road.

girls, depression, success, motivation

A young girl swings on the monkey bars.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

14. But when girls do stay active, it makes a huge difference.

Those who keep playing usually get giant doses of confidence and coping and decision-making skills. Simultaneously, risks of depression, stress, and other dangerous behaviors like eating disorders tend to drop off.

15. Plus, active girls tend to become successful women.

A 2015 study of 400 female C-suite executives found that over half of them played sports at a university level. What's more, Fortune found that over 80% of female Fortune500 executives played a competitive sport at some time in their lives.

Can you see these powerhouses as little tikes on the blacktop during recess? They must've given every boy a run for their money.

16. That’s why it’s so important for them to have motivators they can look up to.

Research suggests that when girls have positive female role models in their lives, it sets them up for a better future. Unfortunately, in 2017 only 28% of youth coaches were female. If more women can be that role model for their kids, nieces, or kids in their neighborhood, they’ll be making a major impact on them.

17. Regardless of gender, though, when it comes to test scores, active kids set the curve.

When regular play is part of a child's life, it can help them stay attentive and put focused energy into their studies. And there are stats to prove it. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), students who are regularly active tend to have higher grade point averages and lower high school dropout rates. In fact, active kids have been shown to score up to 40% higher on tests than inactive kids.

18. Regular activity also gives your kid a better chance at a more successful career.

No matter what career path your 8-year-old chooses in the future, playing everyday now could give them the boost they need to land the job of their dreams. In fact, studies suggest physically active kids are 15% more likely to go to college and earn an average of 7-8% more money than an inactive kid.

bonding, healthy parenting, play, learning

A father at play with his daughter.

Photo by lauren lulu taylor on Unsplash

19. What’s more, play is a great way for parents and kids to bond.

Kids learn games from their parents, and vice versa, which always makes for an incredibly adorable good time.

And, since school recess has been cut back, encouraging play is largely up to parents these days. Over the past two decades, schools across the country have cut down recess significantly — in some cases, entirely.

The more parents can motivate their kids to get moving outside of school, the more they'll counteract this unfortunate rollback.

20. But if parents get in the way of kid play too much, it can offset its benefits.

If you dictate how they should play, you might actually hinder all the positive effects playtime can have. Giving up that control might be hard, but it can also be a game changer in kids' development.

21. Play is so important that it is recognized by the United Nations as a fundamental human right.

Because the name suggests it's not productive time spent, it's easy to let playtime become a privilege or reward. But regular active play could be the difference between a happy, healthy, successful adult and one who struggles to get through the day.

If a prestigious, international organization like the U.N. understands that and puts its importance on par with food and shelter, it's time for parents and schools everywhere to pick up the play baton and run with it — and encourage their kids to do the same every day.

This article originally appeared on 06.21.18

In 2012, Matthew Walzer wrote a letter to Nike with a request.

"I was born two months premature on October 19, 1995," the letter began. "I weighed only two pounds fourteen ounces, and because my lungs were fully not developed, my brain did not receive enough oxygen. As a result, I have a brain injury that caused me to have Cerebral Palsy. Fortunately, I am only affected physically, as others can be affected mentally, physically or both."

Walzer explained that doctors had told his parents he would never walk and that if he ever talked, he'd have a lisp. Both of those diagnoses turned out to be false. "I walk somewhat independently around my home and use crutches when I'm out or at school," he wrote. He's never had a problem with his speech. He said he wanted to go to college to become a journalist, and loved writing sports columns.

"Out of all the challenges I have overcome in my life," he continued, "there is one that I am still trying to master, tying my shoes. Cerebral palsy stiffens the muscles in the body. As a result I have flexibility in only one of my hands which makes it impossible for me to tie my shoes.


"My dream is to go to the college of my choice without having to worry about someone coming to tie my shoes every day. I've worn Nike basketball shoes all my life. I can only wear this type of shoe, because I need ankle support to walk...At 16 years old, I am able to completely dress myself, but my parents still have to tie my shoes. As a teenager who is striving to become totally self-sufficient, I find this extremely frustrating and, at times, embarrassing."

Walzer said he wasn't making a business proposal, but bringing a need to Nike's attention.

"If Nike would design and produce basketball and running shoes with moderate support and some kind of closure system that could be used by everyone, Nike could create a shoe line that attracts people that face the same physical challenges I did and still do, yet it could still be possible for anyone to wear them," he wrote. "I am always searching the web for any type of shoe brand that makes athletic shoes that provide good support, are self-lacing and are made for everyday wear or for playing sports. It is disappointing that no athletic brand has taken the creative initiative to design and produce athletic shoes in this category."

Nike took Walzer's words to heart.

#NikeLetter lands teen awesome shoe deal!www.youtube.com


The letter made its way to Tobie Hatfield, a shoe designer at Nike who had been designing shoes for Special Olympics athletes and Paralympians with similar shoe needs. Hatfield reached out to Walzer and the two worked together to design a shoe that would work for him.

Walzer was blown away. He said his letter had been a "Hail Mary" attempt to find a shoe that would work for him, and he expected maybe a polite response letter, not a personal design partnership.

For several years, Hatfield would send Walzer designs to try and he would give his feedback. Ultimately, Nike developed a whole line of shoes that are quick and easy to get into. The FlyEase line makes athletic shoes accessible for a wider range of people—and they keep on making even better designs.

The new Nike GO FlyEase is the latest design—a completely hands-free shoe that's even easier to get into and out of. The Nike FlyEase website describes how it works:

"Behind the shoe's smooth motion is a bi-stable hinge that enables the shoe to be secure in fully open and fully closed states.

This duality allows another signature detail: the Nike GO FlyEase tensioner. The tensioner's unique flexibility super-charges an action many might take for granted (kicking-off a shoe) and completely reimagines this movement as basis for accessible and empowering design."

If that's confusing, here's a visual demonstration and explanation for how the design came about:

Nike Go FlyEase | Behind the Design | Nikewww.youtube.com

The Nike GO FlyEase will initially be available by invitation-only on February 15 and will become more broadly available later this year. We're looking at a price of $120.

Pretty darn cool, Nike. This is what innovation should be used for—to make life better for everyone, no matter how people themselves are designed.

via @keekeesimpson / Twitter

Every year on July 4, Americans everywhere celebrate their independence from British rule with fireworks, hot dogs, and plenty of over-the-top displays of patriotism. However, when the U.S. declared its freedom in 1776, hundreds of thousands of people living in the U.S. were enslaved.

All Americans became truly free on June 19, 1865, a day that would come to be known as Juneteenth. On that day, Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free.

The Emancipation Proclamation freed slaves two-and-a-half years earlier and the Civil War with had ended with the defeat of the Confederate States in April. But Texas was the most remote of the slave states, with a low presence of Union troops, so enforcement of the proclamation had been slow and inconsistent.


The announcement is known as General Order No. 3.

The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor. The freedmen are advised to remain quietly at their present homes and work for wages. They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts and that they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere.

Gordon Grangervia Wikimedia Commons

Although the order promised "absolute equality," race-based oppression didn't end on that day nor has it been completely eradicated in the United States.

Juneteenth is now known as "America's Second Independence Day" and throughout the years has been celebrated primarily by African-Americans with family reunions, bar-b-ques, beauty pageants, religious services, dance performances, and strawberry soda.

Forty-six of the 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia have recognized Juneteenth as either a state holiday or ceremonial holiday, a day of observance. However, the federal government has yet to make it a national holiday which would be a paid day off for many workers.

In the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer in May and the ensuing protests, the movement to make Juneteenth a federal holiday is gaining momentum.

Texas Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee has introduced multiple resolutions to recognize the historical significance of Juneteenth. On June 15, her latest attempt has received support from more than 200 cosponsors. She also plans to introduce a bill that would make it a federal holiday.

"There needs to be a reckoning, an effort to unify. One thing about national holidays, they help educate people about what the story is," Jackson Lee said according to Time.

"Juneteenth legislation is a call for freedom, but it also reinforces the history of African Americans," she continued. "We've fought for this country. We've made great strides, but we're still the victims of sharp disparities."

Opal Lee, 93, has started a petition to make Juneteenth a national holiday and it is close to reaching 300,000 signatures.

"I believe Juneteenth can be a unifier because it recognizes that slaves didn't free themselves and that they had help, from Quakers along the Underground Railroad, abolitionists both black and white like Frederick Douglass and William Lloyd Garrison, soldiers and many others who gave their lives for the freedom of the enslaved," Lee wrote in the petition.

"My goal with this petition and my walk is to show the Congress and the President that I am not alone in my desire to see national recognition of a day to celebrate 'Freedom for All,'" Lee adds.

After the petition reaches its goal, it will be sent to the president and Congress.

Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement and anti-racism protests that have sprung up across the country, businesses throughout America are honoring Juneteenth by giving their employees paid days off.

Twitter and Space are one of the first major companies to announce it would be honoring the day.

Shortly after, Nike CEO John Donahoe declared that Juneteenth would be a day off for his employees across the globe to celebrate black culture and history.

"Our expectation is that each of us use this time to continue to educate ourselves and challenge our perspectives and learn," Donahoe wrote in a memo. "I know that is what I intend to do."

The NFL has announced it will observe Juneteenth and several teams announced they would be recognizing the holiday, including the Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions, Arizona Cardinals, and Las Vegas Raiders.

Hella Creative, a Bay Area collective has created a list of companies that have announced they will honor Juneteenth. The action comes part of its HellaJuneteenth campaign to spread knowledge about the holiday and encourage companies and individuals to honor the it by not working.

Hella Creative has also created a document that employees can use to request the day off from their employers that also encourages them to consider making it a holiday.

"Although our company has not celebrated this holiday in the past, I would like to request that we honor the day this year and moving forward," the request reads.

Since its founding, freedom has been one of the most prominent values espoused by the United States of America. Americans have shed blood for our freedoms at home and sacrificed for its spread abroad. Making Juneteenth a national holiday would be one more way that America help honor its commitment to freedom while acknowledging it still has a long way to go before all of its people are truly free.

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Woman gets dragged for calling plus-sized mannequin 'gargantuan.' Even Jameela Jamil jumped in.

This woman wrote a whole article about how a MANNEQUIN was 'unhealthy.' 😭😂😅

In case you missed it, Nike recently revealed a new plus-size mannequin in their flagship Oxford Street store and people have a LOT of feelings about it, both good and bad.


The feelings on all ends were stoked when Telegraph writer Tanya Gold wrote a reaction piece where she made her distaste for the mannequin known in strong words that might be best discussed with her therapist.


At one point in the article, Gold's fat-phobia comes out in full force when she describes the mannequin: "An immense, gargantuan, vast. She heaves with fat. She is, in every measure, obese, and she is not readying herself for a run on her shiny Nike gear. She cannot run. She is, more likely, pre-diabetic and on her way to a hip replacement."


Needless to say, Gold's flagrant display of disgust for larger bodies received a lot of critique from exhausted consumers, plus-size influencers, and of course, actress Jameela Jamil.



People were quick to point out the irony of Gold claiming it's "unhealthy" to show a plus-size mannequin, when the mannequin is literally wearing workout clothes.




The Welsh model Callie Thorpe made an Instagram post about the exhausting and hypocritical feedback loop of fatphobia, and how in one moment people will claim to be worried about the health of plus-size people, only to quickly contradict themselves by freaking out over there being accessible work out clothes for larger bodies.

She wrote:

"I usually would write a response to this [Gold's article] with a point to prove. something defending my point of view and those of my peers saying how outdated and disgusting these views are but quite honestly what's the point? I'm that heaving with [sic] fat woman she is talking about."
"It's no wonder people are turning to extreme weight loss measures like surgery because it feels like the only way out."
"It's ludicrous that fat people are mocked, bullied and told to get to the gym and lose weight yet we are also told, we don't deserve the access to active wear. Do you see how ridiculous that is? Which goes to show It's got nothing to do with health concern and everything to do with prejudice"

The author and activist Megan Jayne Crabbe decided to respond to the trolling article with a bit of trolling herself, so she went to the store, snapped a photo with the mannequin and wrote a post about how she was shocked the "babe responsible for thousands of fatphobes on the internet" was indeed a peaceful, plastic, non-threatening mannequin.



She wrote:

"Apparently a fitness brand using mannequins above a UK size 8 is the most outrageously offensive thing that's ever happened! Or to quote some of the comments I've seen - "dangerous", "disgusting", and "promoting death". Imagine my surprise when I entered @nikelondon and the mannequin did not, in fact, try to kill me! We actually got along great and fully rocked this impromptu photoshoot."

The comedian Sofie Hagen joined in to drag Gold's article.



Jameela Jamil really went hard in her responses, urging Gold to find a nearby bin to jump in.

She also called for an official apology from Telegraph, and went on to point out how hypocritical it is to claim fat people are unhealthy while freaking out about them being sold exercise clothes.






Needless to say, a lot of people weren't happy with Gold's take, and the ones who were flocked to the comments section of the Telegraph to air their grievances with a woman-shaped piece of plastic.

This article originally appeared on SomeeCards. You can read it here.