By Justin Udo

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Put down your video games, get off the couch, and get active!

That’s part of the message city officials are sending to kids, as they kick off the 2017 Play Philly Program.

“We really found that creating opportunities for structured play is really important for young people. Kids have forgotten how to play,” said Kathryn Ott Lovell, Philadelphia Parks and Recreation Commissioner.

Over the next six weeks, the Play Philly staff will create programs to ensure children participate in at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day.

“We do a lot of free play in the first week just to figure out what they like to do the most, and then we kind of focus off of that and create games off of that,” said camp worker Christina Chilutti.

The free program, which is in its fourth year, is offered at 28 different parks and day camps throughout the city.

VC: “That’s why our recreation department, our library system, and our park system is very important to us, because it gives young people, kids, an outlet to have safe fun during the summer and to keep active and be healthy,” said Mayor Jim Kenney.

Officials say the Play Philly initiative does more than just get kids active, it teaches them team work, fosters competitiveness, and introduces them to some new activities

“It’s good to keep them active, because they don’t come to camp to sit. In school they do a lot of sitting at their desks and learning and here their main point, obviously we want them to learn, but we want them to be moving and learning and here it’s more about skills,” said Chilutti.

From jumping rope to playing basketball, the kids taking part in Play Philly at the Vogt recreation center gym in the North East have no problem finding games to play for at least 60 minutes.

“My favorite game to play at camp is knockout,” said one camper.

“The kids love playing sharks and minnows and we all run around and it’s really
hectic but it’s fun,” said one camp worker.

Program officials say rain or shine, they have a plethora of games and activities to keep the kids active and make sure they leave with a good workout.

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