The Power of Play

May 17, 2022

Young Basketball Player on Practice Session. Youth Basketball Team Bouncing Balls on Sports Court. Group of Kids Training Basketball Together

At Palmer Home, we believe that children should get to be children. That means having a childhood filled with ‘typical’ childhood experiences. Not only do we provide children in need of loving caregivers, a stable household, predictable routines and meal schedules, but we also provide ample opportunities for fun. We celebrate birthdays and holidays, go to school, experience summer camp, play sports, and more. We believe that the opportunity to play and have fun is central to the typical childhood experience.

Now imagine a childhood without play: no silliness, no laughing, no games, no time or opportunities to dream up imaginative worlds and whimsical characters. A childhood filled with work and adult worries, such as where they’ll get food that day or where they’ll sleep that night. This kind of childhood is not only disheartening, it can also negatively impact a child’s development.

The American Academy of Pediatrics states, “Play is fundamentally important for learning 21st century skills such as problem solving, collaboration and creativity.”

How Palmer Home Promotes Recreational Therapy

That’s why we’re thrilled to offer even more opportunities for play and fun for children in need at our new Dr. Hugh Francis, Jr. Wellness Center. Many of the children in our care come from very difficult backgrounds, and we are honored to now have this amazing resource on our campus specially designed for their play. We are so grateful to our wonderful donors for financing this important project.

In addition to meeting spaces, counseling suites and classrooms, the wellness center offers children a full-court indoor gym so they can run and play regardless of weather, an outdoor pool (the children’s most requested and most anticipated feature), and an outdoor patio and porch. While our campus already offers beautiful playgrounds, a stocked lake for canoeing, swimming and fishing, bike trails and basketball goals, our children and houseparents are thrilled to have these new options for year-round enjoyment.

As part of our Whole Child Initiative, the entire Palmer Home campus – including the wellness center – was intentionally designed to be a restorative environment. Restorative environments are places where children from difficult backgrounds can connect with trustworthy adults and begin to heal.

How You Can Get Involved

If you or your company might be interested in taking a tour of our wellness center to see how Palmer Home helps children heal, grow and thrive, please email

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