Children play to have fun, but this is also how they develop their motor skills, creativity, imagination, thinking capacity, and also learn to discover themselves as a person. This is the mission of Fundacion Hunga Teca, to give the children the opportunity to develop in different areas and to learn through play.
President of Fundacion Hunga Teca, Yamila Hoevertsz-Kock, explains that Fundacion Hunga Teca is a sort of library where the children can become members, for only five florins per year, and they can borrow a toy and exchange it every week (Hunga Teca is a play on the Papiamento words ‘hunga’ – to play, and ‘biblioteca’ – library). The foundation is focused on educational toys because through play, a child can learn a lot.
In Aruba there are many underprivileged children. At home and at school, these children do not have access to the right materials to play in order to aid their development. Hunga Teca makes sure to provide these children with toys so that they can start to foster a love of learning.
Hoevertsz-Kock explains that when children play, they develop their gross motor skills by running, jumping, etc. When they play with Lego, they develop their fine motor skills, but also develop their creative side, as well as their intellect and become more intelligent. When children play with each other, or with their parents, they develop their social and emotional skills. “That means that children develop a lot of important aspects to their development. That’s why we at Hunga Teca focus on playing and learning through play”, she says.
During their activities, Hunga Teca teaches the children how adults used to play in the past. Currently toys can be very expensive, and in the past, parents had many more children, so this is why the foundation wants to teach the children that to have fun, play with each other, and develop their mind, body and spirit, it’s not necessary to have a lot of money. What is needed is creativity, and the love of the parents playing with the kids.
Hoeverts-Kock commented that Fundacion Hunga Teca always demands that when the children take part in their activities, they must come accompanied by an adult, because the foundation wants to strengthen the family circle.
“The parents work, and we all know that nowadays parents have to work long hours. But the little quality time you have per day, be it five or ten minutes, play with your child. Grandpa and Grandma also have a big role to play in the development of a child. Sit down to play with your grandkids”, she added.
Hoevertsz-Kock says that the children find the activities really fun, and there is a good reaction. As a former school teacher, she explains that she noticed how a lot of kids spend time on electronic devices, because when playing certain games, they stumble because they are not used to playing those games. At the same time, the kids themselves also notice that the more they do it, the better their technique becomes. This was a small challenge for them, she explains.
“I have to say that more needs to be done for the gross motor skills, more games in this regard. Sports are good, but it’s also possible to play with things around the house”, she emphasizes.
Today, Fundacion Hunga Teca has a painting on canvas workshop. For more information, you can contact them through their Facebook Page.