Programs and Major Initiatives

The play deficit is a complex problem that requires a multi-pronged solution. Our current programs center around our three major initiatives: building playgrounds, taking action for play, and mapping the state of play.

Also check out some of our past program highlights.

Building Playgrounds

The KaBOOM! community-build model enables diverse groups of volunteers to collaborate towards a collective cause—the well-being of children—by completing a tangible product—a new playground—in a fixed time period—one day—that will make an immediate and lasting difference for decades to come.

Playground Project Planner

Much like couples use online wedding planners to prepare all the logistics for the big day, communities can use our online playground project planner to get help building and funding a playground. Like a wedding, a community-build happens in one day, involves hundreds of people, and requires months of careful planning. By registering your project, you become eligible for equipment grants and other funding opportunities. [More]

Community Partnerships

Our Community Partners are non-profit child-serving organizations in communities that meet specific criteria and have unmet play needs. Once selected, these partners are matched with a Funding Partner and engage in an 8-10 week playground build process that culminates in a beautiful, kid-designed playground. [More]

Funding Partnerships

For each playground project, KaBOOM! works with a Funding Partner to identify and support a Community Partner (a child-serving nonprofit) in the market of their choice. Funding Partners contribute a tax-deductible financial gift and employee volunteers ready for a turnkey, high-energy, done-in-a-day team-building project. [More]

Grants

One of the biggest challenges facing any community-build playground project is fundraising. Thanks to our generous funding partners, KaBOOM! offers communities occasional grant opportunities to begin or complete playground projects using our community-build model. [More]

Imagination Playground

KaBOOM! is partnering with New York Architect David Rockwell to help create truly great playgrounds across America. Imagination Playground is based around the concept of "free play," a simple but powerful idea that children should initiate and direct their own play, and should be able to manipulate their environment. [More]

Taking Action for Play

Saving play goes beyond building playgrounds. As part of our nationwide advocacy efforts, we strive to equip communities and community leaders with the resources, inspiration, and support they need to bring more play to their neighborhoods, schools, and towns.

Playful City USA

Playful City USA is a national recognition program honoring cities and towns across the nation committed to taking action for play. Playful City USA communities are eligible for $2.1 million in grants over the next three years. Among other benefits, they also receive priority status for KaBOOM! playground builds and grants (totaling over $3.8 million since 2007) and recognition at national municipal leadership and recreation conferences. [More]

Online Trainings

KaBOOM! offers an extensive array of online trainings, available live and on-demand, to help empower community leaders to save play. With topics ranging from Building a Playspace to Hot Topics in Play to Promoting Play, our trainings are led both by KaBOOM! staff and external guest presenters with special areas of expertise. All trainings are free and open to the public. [More]

Play Days

Play Days are exactly what the name implies—a day of play in your community. Neighborhoods and schools who organize Play Days gather for a day of old-fashioned outdoor games, good food, and other community-building activities. [More]

Mapping the State of Play

Where are playgrounds needed most? Currently, no comprehensive map of playgrounds exists in the United States. No one can say for sure how many there are, or what condition the majority of our playgrounds are in. Our mapping efforts aim to fill this void.

The Map of Play

The Map of Play is a tool for parents and policy-makers alike to find play spaces, rank them, organize events at them, and determine where greater investment in play is necessary. Kaboom.org hosts the Map of Play, but it is a crowd-sourced tool that depends on contributions from parents and local communities. [More]

Play Deserts

Echoing "food deserts," a term that First Lady Michelle Obama has helped to popularize as she campaigns for better access to healthy, affordable food, the Map of Play helps KaBOOM! identify “play deserts,” areas that are child-rich, but playground-poor. [More]

Park-A-Day Summer Challenge

Our Summer Challenge asks parents to take their children to as many local parks, playgrounds, or other public playspaces over the summer as they can. Not only does the Challenge ensure a summer full of healthy, active outdoor play, but participants help us assess the state of play in their towns by adding and/or reviewing each playspace they visit on our Map of Play. [More]

Past Programs

Operation Playground

To help rebuild childhoods in the area hit hardest by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, we launched Operation Playground, and through it gave 90,156 children from Houston to Mobile a place to play every day and just be kids. Operation Playground channeled more than $9,975,000 into the Gulf and mobilized 31,325 volunteers. [More]

Cesar Chavez Day

For three consecutive years, from 2007 to 2009, KaBOOM! and CaliforniaVolunteers partnered to celebrate Cesar Chavez day by building great new places to play for children across the state of California. Communities in Delano, Fallbrook, Fullerton, Lemoore, Sacramento and San Bernardino built playgrounds all in one day on April 25. Each of the projects included a mural honoring the legacy of Cesar Chavez. [More]