| By New York Tennis Magazine Staff

The USTA has announced that its hosting thousands of USTA Free Tennis Play Days in celebration of Nickelodeon’s Worldwide Day of Play throughout the country in an effort to get kids active and involved in tennis during National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month in September. USTA Free Tennis Play Days will provide kids and parents of all skill levels with the opportunity to experience tennis in a social and fun setting. P.S. 197M and Harlem Junior Tennis and Education Program will host a USTA Free Tennis Play Day on Friday, Sept. 21 at Howard Bennett Playground in Harlem from 2:30 p.m.-5:00 p.m., located at W. 135 St. between Lenox Avenue and Fifth Avenue.

The USTA Free Tennis Play Day is open to the public and is a great way for people of all ages to sample tennis. In just a few hours, participants will take part in tennis skills and game challenges that can be done individually or in teams, giving them the chance to experience success and get active.

The event is just one of the ways that P.S. 197M is bringing tennis to kids. This year, the school added the USTA’s National Junior Tennis and Learning network’s ACE Curriculum. The curriculum, which stands for Academic Creative Engagement, provides a combination of academic enrichment in the areas of math, literacy and nutrition, and fitness through tennis instruction.

USTA Free Tennis Play Days are geared towards getting more kids to participate in tennis by using modified equipment and courts tailored to a child’s size and ability. By utilizing shorter and lighter racquets, slower-bouncing balls, smaller courts and simplified scoring, children learn to play more quickly and easily while having more fun in the process.

“USTA Free Tennis Play Days are an exciting opportunity to expose thousands of children and families to tennis," said Youth Tennis official spokesperson, actress Christine Taylor. "In addition to being fun and engaging for families, tennis is a great physical activity that encourages a healthy lifestyle.”

For more information, visit www.youthtennis.com.