KaBOOM! and William Penn Foundation Announce New Play Everywhere Philly Competition to Spark Learning Through Play

Applications now open for community groups to receive a total of $1 million to create unique playful learning installations in everyday locations across Philadelphia

Philadelphia, PA (December 2, 2019) · 

Today, KaBOOM!, the national nonprofit that works to ensure every child has equitable access to quality, imaginative playspaces, joined the William Penn Foundation in kicking off Play Everywhere Philly, an exciting new city-wide competition to support child development and literacy skills through interactive playful learning installations in locations across Philadelphia.

Studies show that children spend 80% of their time outside of school, but many cities lack opportunities for play and informal learning outside of the classroom. Play Everywhere Philly participants will help fill this gap by working with designers to create playful learning installations at places like sidewalks, bus stops, parks, footpaths and areas outside businesses where children aged 0-8 can play and learn together with caregivers.

Applicants will have the opportunity to receive technical assistance from two organizations: Playful Learning Landscapes, to help applicants incorporate playful learning approaches into their project designs, and Community Design Collaborative, to provide applicants with technical design assistance. All projects will be completed by July 2021.

Playful learning is an evidence-based approach implemented by Playful Learning Landscapes that harnesses both free play — in spaces designed for children to discover and explore — and “guided play,” which encourages the child to lead the way through environments that have been specifically designed to spark interactions that support learning and skill development.

Groups from all sectors are welcome to apply, including government entities, neighborhood organizations, community groups, non‑profit organizations, local business groups and faith organizations. To be eligible for the award, the project must be within the city limits of Philadelphia. Interested groups can learn more and apply at

“Play is far more than nice-to-have experience—it’s essential to help kids grow and develop critical early learning skills,” said James Siegal, CEO of KaBOOM!. “But the unacceptable reality is that for too many kids, especially in communities that have experienced disinvestment, access to play is harder to come by. We are thrilled to partner with communities in Philadelphia to bring more opportunities for play and learning to everyday spaces across the city so that every kid can get the benefits of play, regardless of their race, zip code, or family’s income.”

“For young children, every moment can be a learning moment. By creating public spaces that are specifically designed to stimulate early learning, we set children up for success. We hope organizations in every neighborhood will submit ideas for playful learning spaces that support children and families,” said Elliot Weinbaum, Great Learning Program Director at the William Penn Foundation. “Children are the future of our neighborhoods and our city. Our community infrastructure and amenities should reflect that.”

About the William Penn Foundation
The William Penn Foundation, founded in 1945 by Otto and Phoebe Haas, is dedicated to improving the quality of life in the Greater Philadelphia region through efforts that increase educational opportunities for children from low-income families, ensure a sustainable environment, foster creativity that enhances civic life, and advance philanthropy in the Philadelphia region. The Foundation’s assets exceed $2.3 billion as of December 31, 2018.

KABOOM! is the national non-profit that works to achieve playspace equity. Kids who don’t have access to play miss out on childhood and are denied critical opportunities to build physical, social and emotional health. And all too often, it more deeply affects communities of color. So we amplify the power of communities to build inspiring playspaces that spark unlimited opportunities for every kid, everywhere. KABOOM! has teamed up with partners to build or improve 17,000+ playspaces, engage more than 1.5 million community members and bring joy to more than 11 million kids. To learn about our goal to end playspace inequity for good, visit and join the conversation at,, and