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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

Kissimmee gives back

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The Playful City USA community of Kissimmee Florida is known for sunshine and play. In order to improve the quality, safety, and use of play spaces in Kissimmee, the Parks & Recreation Department created the Volunteer in Parks program (aka VIP). The VIP program allows residents of Kissimmee to give back to the city through a variety of volunteering opportunities that are all focused on keeping the parks of Kissimmee clean and beautiful.

How does this program work? The Parks & Recreation Department of Kissimmee allows volunteers to sign up for projects that are posted online monthly. Eventually, the city hopes to incorporate a points system that rewards the residents devoting the most time to play space improvement. By involving residents and community groups (such as the Boy Scouts and the Girl Scouts), roughly 10 different community parks will receive the care they deserve.

Why does this program matter? The Kissimmee volunteering program creates greater ownership of the local parks, a close-knit community, and best of all, beautifully maintained parks. Through creating greater ownership of the community’s parks, residents can make tangible improvements and changes on their city. In order for the children of Kissimmee to maintain a healthy lifestyle and get the recommended levels of physical activity, they need to have dependable places to play.  Improving play spaces brings the children of Kissimmee safe and reliable places to play for years to come.

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Let's Play Completion Grants

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Residents of the Playful City USA community Allentown, Pennsylvania are the proud new owners of the newly re-built Franklin Park. A once unsafe and out-dated play space, Franklin Park was in desperate need of a makeover. Partnering with the Trexler Trust, St Stephen’s Lutheran Church, and the Allentown Department of Parks & Rec, residents of Allentown came together to make a playground that will serve 15,000 children annually. After 8 months of planning and hard work, over fifty volunteers came together to set up the new playground in just over two hours!

To help add the essential finishing touches to the new play space, Allentown applied for, and received the Let’s Play Completion Grant. The grant awarded Allentown with a $500 American Express Gift Card to be applied towards the newly completed playground. The Playful City USA team would like to congratulate Allentown on their new playground and their grant!

If your community recently completed a playground using the KaBOOM! Community Build Model, you might be eligible for a Let’s Play Completion Grant! If you're interested, we encourage you to apply for a Let’s Play Completion Grant. The $500 American Express Gift Card towards funding any element of the completed playground.

Read more about Allentown’s play traditions here.

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Waves of play

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In the city featuring nature’s most famous waterpark, Niagara Falls, New York has been making major waves. Niagara Falls has been a recognized Playful City USA community since 2009. A diverse and growing community, play is at the center of the city’s revitalization plan. Niagara Falls embraces play in three effective ways.

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