Summer vacation is supposed to be all about outdoor play. But for the four out of five children who don’t live within a half-mile of a park or playground, playing outside isn’t always a viable option.
Clearly, the long-term solution is to ensure that every child has access to a playground within walking distance. Yet as we work toward this ambitious vision, millions of children are missing out on the childhood they deserve. What can we do right now?
Three of our Playful City USA communities who asked this vital question arrived at a similar solution—that is, creating a mobile playground that brings play to children in need. For decades, mobile ice cream shops (aka "ice cream trucks") have brought the joy of frozen creamy goodness to children everywhere. Who is to say that trucks can’t bring children playgrounds, too?
In Baton Rouge, La. a new mobile playground will work to fill in the gaps that the city’s large network of parks still misses. "We have several areas throughout the parish… where there are kids who are in apartment complexes or… some places where you have to cross major thoroughfares to get to a park," BREC Superintendent Carolyn McKnight says. "We want to make sure that we are able to impact kids in those zones." McKnight says she hopes to eventually link BREC on the Geaux with a mobile farmers market launched on Wednesday and the library system's Bookmobile.