A year in review: Top 5 play-related stories of 2012

From Los Angeles to Detroit, folks across the country are rallying for more play. Here's a look back at five inspiring and noteworthy news stories from 2012:

  1. The Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics brought play and recess to the forefront by issuing a major report in January on the importance of play in child development and then releasing a policy statement on the crucial role of recess in school at the end of the year.
     
  2. Nine-year old Caine Monroy proved that world-changing ideas come from everywhere – even cardboard boxes. As depicted in this short film that went viral last spring, Caine (pictured left) used leftover boxes from his father’s auto parts store in East Los Angeles to create his own arcade of games. In the process, Caine created a worldwide movement of imagination and inspiration, including the first-ever global Cardboard Challenge.
     
  3. With Imagination Playground in the background, First Lady Michelle Obama and U.S. Secretary of Health and Humana Services Kathleen Sebelius announced the next chapter of Let’s Move! Cities, Towns and Counties. The announcement focused on the development of five pillars for the program, including “Active Kids at Play.” Both the First Lady and Secretary Sebelius stressed the importance of play and physical activity, while addressing the need for communities across the country to assist KaBOOM! in creating a comprehensive map of playspaces.
     
  4. Children (and teachers) in Chicago public schools found out what they had been missing for nearly 30 years when they returned to school in the fall: recess! For the first time since the early 1980s, children in Chicago public schools were able to take a break from the classroom and share in laughter, joy and fun after recess was reinstituted.
     
  5. Washington D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray and the city council provided an example of what can be accomplished when elected officials unite for a common cause. Left with a sizable budget surplus in 2012, Mayor Gray and the city council committed to using the nearly $10 million surplus to renovate eight aging playgrounds. The decision proved so popular in the community that the Mayor and city council then allocated an additional $20 million in committing to renovate 32 playgrounds in the city by September of 2013 – the largest playground renovation project in DC history.

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