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Is your city or town creating policies or investing in programs and infrastructure to keep kids active, playing, and healthy? Then it may have what it takes to be recognized as a Playful City USA community.

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Learn how to qualify for designation and become part of a national network of government, nonprofit, and private sector organizations working to increase play opportunities across the country and give all kids the childhood they deserve.

How playful is your city or town?

Playful City USA is a national recognition program honoring cities and towns that make play a priority and use innovative programs to get children active, playing, and healthy. Learn more about how your city or town can qualify for designation.

Facts about the 2013 Playful City USA communities

  • 217 cities in 43 states
  • 16 Founding Cities are recognized for a seventh year as Playful City USA communities
  • 37 cities and towns have earned Playful City USA designation for the first time

What is Playful City USA?

Playful City USA is a national program sponsored by the Humana Foundation recognizing communities that demonstrate a commitment to ensuring all kids get the balance of active play they need to thrive.

How do you qualify to be named a Playful City USA community?

We’re looking for communities that show a strong commitment to the cause of play beyond the playground – from creating policies to developing programs – to make play a priority.


Benefits of Playful City USA designation

  • Two Playful City USA highway road signs
  • Personalized marketing activation kit that includes press releases, a social media plan, and marketing materials to support national recognition and increase awareness
  • Webinars and peer-to-peer networking events to share and learn best practices from across the network and country
  • Exclusive access to Policy Map, an online tool that enables cities to leverage up-to-date city data that can be used in combination with KaBOOM! playspace mapping data
  • Opportunity to apply for grants and playground build opportunities offered by KaBOOM! that support targeted policies, programs, and infrastructure for your city or town
  • Increased stature and competitive advantage for state and national grant opportunities Opportunity to apply to attend 2014 Playful City USA Leaders' Summit


Playful stories from our cities

Imagination Playground in Yuma


Playful City USA founding city Yuma, Arizona has been making play a priority for its residents since 2007.  In order to increase the number of children in the community with access to play, Yuma applied for and received an Imagination Playground in a Box, an innovative new tool that brings a whole new type of play to children.

The Imagination Playground consists of three main elements to make the most beneficial and fun experience for children. Imagination Playground is a manipulable environment, meaning children can use multiple different materials to create the environment they want to play in. Imagination Playground uses Loose Parts that allow each play session to become its own new adventure. Finally, Imagination Playground features trained Play Associates that create a friendly, safe, and secure setting for children to enjoy.

When local teacher Jenna Watson (a supporter of the Playful City USA program) heard about the Imagination Playground grants from KaBOOM!, she urged fellow teachers to make time for the Imagination Playground in their classrooms. The play time with the Imagination Playground was a success because children loved the freeness and creativity they accessed during their time with the materials.

Yuma brings their Imagination Playground in a Box, fondly called “the Box,” to a variety of different community events such as park dedications, the annual Taco Festival, teen night, and the Come Out & Play Day



Coventry gets safe


Coventry, Connecticut takes safety seriously. This Playful City USA community is taking a number of different action steps to ensure all children and families using Coventry playspaces have a safe and enjoyable experience.

April 23-27th is Playground Safety Week. By partnering with the local schools, Coventry is able to communicate with students and parents about how to play safe. Coventry is working with Parks and Recreation staff, parents, daycare providers, summer-camp staff, and teachers to promote their new Playground Supervision program. By using a certified playground safety inspector, all those interested will have the opportunity to learn about how to keep kids playing happy and safe.

The city is also working with the local library through a new display highlighting the city’s Playful City USA recognition. Coventry has also hired Sandra Libby for readings of her book “Hey, Let’s Play!,” a children’s book that focuses on playground safety. To help with public safety and encouraging exercise, new town trail maps will be available online to encourage outside play for all ages.

By helping educate the public on playground safety and the importance of maintenance, the city of Coventry is helping maintain public trust in public playspaces. This educational campaign will raise a greater awareness for all Parks & Recreation programs as well as the importance of play in daily routines.

If a playground is not up to the standards that parents expect, Coventry encourages parents to use the KaBOOM! Tag! app on their mobile phones to rate the playspace. By generating a community consensus, Coventry can focus their efforts on improving the lowest rated playgrounds.



Play in the street


Moorhead, Minnesota, a Playful City USA community, is the home of the Healthy People Initiative (HPI). The organization focuses on making healthy changes to the community through childcare, schools, and most importantly, through play. HPI works to encourage healthy eating and the development of positive habits that children can use through their entire life.

To increase local awareness of parks, play programs, and the importance of play, HPI hosts a one of a kind play day called StreetsAlive! The city of Moorhead closes three miles of streets, banning automobiles from entering. Instead of cars, the streets become full of children, runners, bikers, skateboarders, inline skating and more. The theme of this year’s event was “Play 60 Minutes Every Day,” urging residents to make play a part of their everyday routine.

In addition to letting the residents play in the streets, the play day featured a number of adventure stations where residents could stop to participate in fun activities such as fitness classes, organized games, watching demonstrations, and enjoying delicious and healthy foods. Attendees of all ages enjoyed a community wide celebration. Capturing the spirit of the Playful City USA program, Moorhead shows the entire community that human powered fun is the best way to spend a day.