Our Dream Playground
Our new step-by-step project planner offers the money and know-how to make your playground dreams come true.
Tools and Resources
Get funding, learn the nuts and bolts of building a great place to play, and improve your local playground.
Build it with KaBOOM!
Build a great place to play for your community with the help of your neighbors, friends, KaBOOM! and our Funding Partners.
Save Play in Your Community
Get tips, ideas, and inspiration for making your community more playful.
Playful City USA
Our Playful City USA program recognizes cities and towns that embrace play as a priority.
Our collection of books will inspire you to bring more play to your family, neighborhood, and community at large.
What We Do
KaBOOM! is a national nonprofit dedicated to saving play for America’s children.
Who We Are
We are peppy, purple-adorned people who passionately promote the power of play!
Partner With Us
Our partners help us to create new playgrounds and to spread the word about the importance of PLAY.
Build it with KaBOOM! Playground Grant
Communities with a can-do attitude and playful spirit wanted!
How to become a KaBOOM! Community Partner
Can you imagine collaborating with friends and neighbors to build your community a new place to play? Can you imagine a new playspace materializing in just one day? If so, a Build it with KaBOOM! Grant may be the perfect opportunity for you!
Thanks to the generosity of our many corporate partners, KaBOOM! has ongoing opportunities for community organizations to build a new playground.
We are currently doing outreach to locate potential Community Partners in cities and towns across North America to create playgrounds with KaBOOM! and our corporate partners in 2014. Ideal Community Partners are usually child-serving non-profit organizations, but can be community development organizations, neighborhood coalitions, schools or any organization that can mobilize a volunteer force and is in need of a new playground!
If you have any other questions, please contact us.
When a Community Partner is selected they will:
- Build an amazing playground with the help of 200 volunteers, all in just one day!
- Receive two months of step-by-step guidance from a KaBOOM! project manager on planning and building a playground
- Benefit from a community building experience
- Work with a KaBOOM! project manager to develop a maintenance plan for the care of your new playground
- Acquire the skills needed to undertake future community projects on their own
Ideal Community Partner candidates:
- Serve children from low-income or disadvantaged backgrounds
- Provide land for the playground (at least a 50-foot by 50-foot space is ideal)
- Recruit 15 parent, community and staff volunteers to participate in planning committees
- Recruit 100 to 150 parents and community volunteers to help build the playground in one day
- Are able to raise and contribute $8,500 to $10,000 cash towards the cost of equipment
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What is the process after I submit my initial application to KaBOOM!?
A. After submitting an application, applicants who meet our basic eligibility requirements may participate in an initial phone interview. This interview helps us to learn more about your community, your site, and your specific needs. After this call, we will ask you to review our contract and submit additional documents that ensure you will be able to accept a project if you are selected. Following this step, you will either be matched with a funding partner or held in our candidate pool for future projects.
The timeline for this process varies from a few weeks for up to a year. Your KaBOOM! Community Outreach representative will keep you updated on your status and is always available for regular check-ins and as a resource to keep your community moving toward your playground goals!
Q. We completed our application but we do not have the letters of support that are mentioned in the Supplemental Materials section of the application. Should we wait to submit our application?
A. Applications can be submitted without letters of support and we advise all applicants to submit applications sooner rather than later so that your organization can be considered for current opportunities. We strongly suggest submitting letters of support as soon as possible.
Q. The application asks us to provide a main point of contact. Can a staff member be the main point of contact for a KaBOOM! project?
A. Yes, but we will need to ensure that parents and non-staff members will be active members of the playground project planning committee. Community engagement is an essential part of every KaBOOM! project and will make your project much more meaningful, dynamic, and successful.
Q. I am worried about the fundraising requirement. What happens if my organization has difficulty with this?
A. While our funding partners provide the majority of the funding for each playground project, each community is responsible for fundraising $8,500 to contribute to the cost of playground equipment. This investment by the community is important to ensure that the community takes ownership of the playground, as they will be responsible for its long-term care and maintenance.
KaBOOM! has led over 2,400 playground projects, and developed our planning process to ensure that this is an achievable goal. If selected, your KaBOOM! Project Manager will offer support and customized advice to identify successful grassroots fundraising ideas. In addition, our project-planning website hosts a wide array of fundraising resources to assist with every step of the fundraising process!
Q. I do not think that a full playground "build" is a good fit for my organization. Are there other ways KaBOOM! can help me?
A. Other than our Build it with KaBOOM! Playground Grant, KaBOOM! has additional resources to help communities reach their playground goals. Visit our grants page to see if we have any active grant opportunities for communities to replace, maintain, or expand their existing equipment. You can also visit Our Dream Playground, a self-organizing tool for community-build playground projects complete with guides to building, volunteer management, and fundraising!
Q. Are funding opportunities for the KaBOOM! Community Partner Program available annually?
A. No. The Build it with KaBOOM! Playground Grant is not a typical grant program so it does not operate on a typical grant cycle. Opportunities become available as we secure funding partners and we are not usually able to predict when and where our upcoming opportunities will be.
Q. My playground site is just outside of a city where KaBOOM! has a funding opportunity. Can I apply?
A. Location requirements vary and are dependent on the funding opportunity. We encourage you to apply or to contact an outreach representative by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org to learn whether your site can be considered.
Q. We are in the midst of applying to become a 501 (c)3 non-profit. Are we eligible?
A. Yes. Our ideal candidates are 501 (c) 3 non-profits. If your organization is applying for non-profit status we can still consider your application.
Q. We run a private daycare facility. Are we eligible for a KaBOOM! build?
A. Applications from private daycare facilities are considered on a case by case basis. For-profit facilities may be viable for a KaBOOM! build if many of the children receive scholarships or outside funding to participate in the program. Our ideal candidates are 501 (c) 3 non-profits so applications from for-profit groups will be less competitive.
Q. Our organization does not serve low-income families. Can we still apply?
A. KaBOOM! strives to work in communities with the most need and gives preference to sites in low-income communities and/or those that serve children with special needs.
Q. Our organization would love to build a playground but we cannot open the playground to the public for liability reasons. Can we still be considered for this opportunity?
A. Yes. We understand that operating a public playground may not be possible for many Community Partners and do not make this a requirement. KaBOOM! is interested in seeing as many kids as possible benefit from each of our playgrounds and some of our funding opportunities do require that the playground be open to the public.
Q. Can we apply if we do not own the land of our proposed playground site?
A. Yes. In order to build with an organization that does not own the land of the proposed playground site we will need to receive written consent from the landowner.
Q. Oh no! I am so excited to apply but I just found out that my school district does not allow volunteers to install the playground! Is there any way we could take advantage of this opportunity without having volunteers install the playground?
A. No. Our mission is to create great playgrounds through the participation and leadership of communities. Community volunteerism is the cornerstone of our mission. We have worked with community partners in the past who have overcome this challenge with their school district. We recommend that you create a playground project page on Our Dream Playground, which you can use as a forum to post your question and to get advice from past community organizers.
Q. Our site will be open soon but there is still construction work taking place. Could we build a KaBOOM! playground before our site is open?
A. Due to safety and logistical challenges, we cannot host a build day event when there is construction in progress on site. In addition, we will only build a playground that we can be confident will be open to use (and play!) by kids immediately following the installation. We simply cannot risk allowing so much work, energy, and resources from your community and from the funding partner to be wasted.
Q. The application states that 2,500 square feet are needed for the playground site but we do not have that much space. Can we still be considered?
A. 2,500 square feet is the minimum amount of space required for a standard KaBOOM! playground. In some instances, we are able to build in a smaller space. We recommend submitting a playground questionnaire contacting an outreach representative by emailing email@example.com so that we can discuss the logistics of your site with you directly.
Q. The applications states that 2,500 square feet are needed for the playground site. We have two separate areas that equal 2,500 square feet. Can they be combined?
A. The space must be contiguous. We can sometimes build on sites that are slightly smaller than 2,500 square feet.
Q. We already have a playground but we serve 300 children and could use another. Can we still apply?
A. KaBOOM! prefers communities that do not have playground equipment or that have equipment that no longer meets safety requirements and will be removed. We generally do not build at a site that already has equipment, but this does not restrict you from applying and allowing one of our team members to understand more about your specific situation.
Q. We want to build two different playground structures on the same site. Is that possible?
A. In most instances we are not able to build more than one playground structure. In cases where the budget and scope of the project enable two separate structures to be built, we will typically build one large structure and one smaller structure for younger children.
Q. Our organization serves children with disabilities. Do KaBOOM! playgrounds meet the Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines?
A. All KaBOOM! playgrounds and surfacing meet or exceed the ADAAG guidelines. KaBOOM! believes in the importance of inclusive play. Our playgrounds are designed to provide access to people with physical disabilities and to be accessible and fun for all children. Please contact a outreach representative by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about how KaBOOM! playgrounds can be designed to accommodate the needs of your organization.
Q. We have some equipment we bought and are waiting to install. Can we add that to the equipment that KaBOOM! would provide for the playground project?
A. No. KaBOOM! will need to manage the ordering, purchasing, and delivery of all equipment that we will be installing. It is not possible for us to augment an existing playground through our Build it with KaBOOM! Playground Grant. If you are looking to augment an existing playground or need additional playground equipment, visit Our Dream Playground, a self-organizing tool for community-build playground projects complete with guides to building, volunteer management, and fundraising!
Q. What safety surfacing does KaBOOM! use?
A. We use Engineered Wood Fiber on 95% of our playground builds. Engineered Wood Fiber is an ADA approved playground safety surfacing (for wheelchair accessibility). It is safe for children, cost effective, easy to install, and volunteer-friendly.
Q. Who insures and takes liability for the playground?
A. You, the community partner, will be the sole owner of the playground once the playground is complete. As the owner, you must have liability insurance and provide long-term and daily maintenance.
Q. My agency/organization cannot provide insurance. Can we still apply?
A. Yes. It is possible for two or more partners in the community to work together to provide insurance coverage. There are several options so we encourage you to contact a KaBOOM! Community Outreach representative by emailing email@example.com so that we can offer advice for your specific situation.
Further information and resources
Below is a list of cities where we currently or often have funding to build playgrounds. If your town is not on the list, we still encourage you to submit an eligibility questionnaire so KaBOOM! can contact you immediately when an opportunity arises in your area.