On June 8, Marbles Kids Museum and Project CATCH partnered to present a special “Powerful Play” workshop, where more than 90 of Wake County’s homeless children and families built connections through positive shared play.


“Play strategies and ideas for connecting with children during playtime are essential to nurturing a child’s social and emotional development,” said Corrie MacNeil, Marble’s community engagement specialist. “We are thrilled to partner with Project CATCH in a community collaborative effort.”


Throughout the last five years, Marbles Kids Museum and Project CATCH have worked together to provide best-practice workshops to the parents of the more than 300 homeless children in Wake County. There are typically four workshops per year, with an average attendance rate of 70-90 parents and children.


Typically, families enjoy dinner together and then split up for the workshop portion of the evening. Children enjoy volunteer-supervised free time in Marble’s expansive, play-focused galleries while their parents attend workshops on toxic stress and how to be an advocate for your child.


The June 8 workshop was especially meaningful as children remained with their families during the workshop to experience play-based bonding activities together. Among other “Powerful Play” tips, parents were encouraged to:


-     Play with their children to strengthen relationships and lower stress levels.

-     Comment on children’s play to connect and engage in conversation.

-     Offer specific praise instead of blanket “good job” statements.

-     Play together to build confidence.

-     Talk with the child rather than to them to encourage bonding.


Parents also gained access to training videos, handouts, and play-suggestion posters.


The impact we have on the lives of Wake County children strengthens when our community organizations come together for the benefit of Wake County children. The “Powerful Play” workshop is a great example of nurturing children’s social and emotional development through building positive relationships.