Bring back the joy in childhood through play

“We just want to bring the joy back into being a child and let parents know that active play is important and cannot be replaced.” – Beia Legarda Santos Florete, Marbee Adventure owner

Whenever the concept of play is discussed, I could not help but compare our traditional games to video games.

I was exposed to both and noticed that there is more fun in traditional play because the whole body moves, there is a chance to gather your thoughts and think of a better strategy, there is direct human interaction and most of all, your expectations and achievements are realistic (like there is no such thing as a laser beam coming out of your eyes and flying like Superman).

Beia Legarda Santos Florete
Playing virtual games or too much watching television instead of playing outdoors have stolen our youth’s sense of peace and they don’t even know why. 

“Meeting children depressed and unable to smile was the reason why playing became an advocacy. I have met four-year-olds who don’t know how to smile, who go through three hours of tutoring, who are already so tired of their lives. I have met six year-olds who don't know how to run, throw a ball, make friends, or behave in public. These are the red flags which we need to address immediately because these children grow up socially and emotionally stunted and unable to participate in society,” said Beia Legarda Santos Florete, play advocate and owner of Marbee Adventure, a children’s playhouse located at SM City Iloilo expansion.

“It is depressing that we have to advocate for children to do what they do best and sad that "play" has to be "taught". We just want to bring the joy back into being a child and let parents know that active play is important and cannot be replaced,” said Beia, who also owns Escuela Legarda in Manila where children play and learn things that are appropriate for their age. It is an alternative to academically driven schools that pressure children to study.

Beia graduated Early Childhood Education from De la Salle University, has received a Special Education Certification from REACH International, a LET Board Passer, earned an MA in Reading Education UP Diliman and currently a second year student of UP Visayas for MA Guidance and Counseling.

When she moved to Iloilo City, Beia noticed there is no safe place for kids to play. "I felt that the children needed a playground; not TV or computer but a place where there is physical interaction," she said.

So, she started Marbee Adventure. It has varied play stations manned by adventure guides. Some of these stations are the zipline and swing where children have the most fun.

“Our staff are Education graduates and they know how to work with children. We had a four-day seminar about the development of children and the benefits of play. They also know how to handle children with special needs," Beia said.

Parents or guardians are assured that their children are secure at Marbee Adventure. Before a child can go to the play area, a photo of the parent/guardian and the child is taken and the guardian’s thumbprint is recorded. When playtime is up, the child is released only to the guardian who registered.

Holistic Development
"Here, you can learn many things. A child comes in alone and eventually makes friends, learns to share and to listen. Their learning is holistic - emotional, social and physical," Beia said.

“Let your child play. This is the most natural state of a child where they can learn all they need to learn. Play doesn't only give your children happiness but it also develops their bodies and minds for them to be able to cope with the real world. Most of all, play with your children. Playing is not just for children. Through play, you can bond with your children, learn more about them, improve your relationship with them, and teach them important values which are disappearing in this fast paced world,” Beia concludes./Kathy Villalon

To receive more updates, like Marbee Adventure on Facebook.

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