Playful Learning Installations Announced Across Philadelphia

$1 million awarded to 16 unique projects that use play to encourage children's language development and literacy skills in everyday locations

Philadelphia, PA (October 12, 2020) · 

Today, KABOOM!, the national non-profit working to end playspace inequity for good, announced the 16 winning projects of Play Everywhere Philly. Funded by the William Penn Foundation, this exciting new city-wide competition supports child development and literacy skills by increasing access to interactive playful learning installations in everyday locations like libraries, public plazas, and community centers—places frequented by kids and caregivers.

Children typically spend just 20 percent of their waking hours in a classroom. Play Everywhere Philly helps create opportunities for play and informal learning to happen outside of school.

Play Everywhere Philly installations are designed to create literacy-rich environments, strengthen caregiver-child interaction and promote early language development through a playful learning approach. Each project is the result of a community-driven design process. Local groups submitted project ideas that were developed and refined with technical assistance from Community Design Collaborative and Playful Learning Landscapes Action Network.

Playful learning is an evidence-based approach 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.

The installations will be implemented in neighborhoods across Philadelphia by October 2021. For the full list of projects, as well as images and an interactive map, visit the Play Everywhere Philly website and gallery. An evaluation of the implementation and impacts will be led by Temple University’s Infant and Child Lab.

“With school moving online and the normal rhythms of childhood disrupted, kids need opportunities for play and learning now more than ever,” said Jen DeMelo, Director of Special Projects at KABOOM!. “These unique installations will get kids and caregivers talking, exploring and learning together. And the fantastic thing is that each one represents a community coming together to create spaces for meaningful connection.”

“Children are naturally curious and want to engage with the world around them,” said Elliot Weinbaum, Program Director of Great Learning at the William Penn Foundation. “This project leverages that curiosity and provides community-designed spaces in 16 neighborhoods around Philadelphia where kids can productively engage with places and people — setting the stage for interactions that build early language and literacy skills and prepare children for success in school and beyond.”

About 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. In 2020, the Foundation will grant more than $117 million to support vital efforts in the region.

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