Vista, El Cajon, and Calgary Communities Win David Rockwell-Designed Imagination Playground in a Box Systems

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This July, Parents, KaBOOM!, the nonprofit organization on a mission to save play, and Foresters™, a life insurance provider that champions the well-being of families, launched a contest to give three deserving communities an Imagination Playground™ in a Box. 

With a focus on loose parts, David Rockwell’s Imagination Playground™ offers a changing array of elements that allows children to constantly reconfigure their environment and to design their own course of play. Giant foam blocks, mats, wagons, fabric and crates overflow with creative potential for children to play, dream, build and explore endless possibilities.  Each Imagination Playground™ in a Box is worth $25,000.  For more information about these playgrounds, go to  or!/ImaginationPlayground.

More than 650 communities across North America entered their playgrounds into the contest, earning points for their playground posting pictures to an online record, hosting meet ups and rallying other community members to “virtually” support their local playspace. 

Parents Magazine, KaBOOM! and Foresters are pleased to announce that the winners (in alphabetical order) are:

Casita Elementary Playground — VISTA, CA
Casita Center for Technology, Science, and Math is a magnet elementary school in Vista, California. It serves approximately 700 kids from grades K-5 as well as additional preschoolers. Casita is in a Federal Title I low income neighborhood with 63% of the kids being socioeconomically disadvantaged. 

Fletcher Hills Presbyterian Preschool — EL CAJON, CA
Fletcher Hills Presbyterian Preschool has been a part of the community since 1961 and serves approximately 100 students every week.  The classrooms of the school open directly onto the playground and all the windows face toward it..

New Heights Learning Services — CALGARY, AB
The autistic children from New Heights Learning services don’t automatically learn from the world around them as a typical child would. They need to be taught and encouraged, but in order for this to work, the child needs to be motivated to learn.  With their Imagination Playground™, New Heights hopes to encourage these kids to use and build their play skills and imaginative abilities.

Of the more than 650 submissions that received community support, the top 50 play spaces were then narrowed down to ten semifinalists by a panel of judges and required to submit grant applications.  Of those top ten, three winners were then selected by an online public vote.  These three communities earned thousands of votes by mobilizing their communities, alerting the media, and reaching out to their social networks. 

After encouraging communities to rally around their local playspace, Parents, KaBOOM!, and Foresters hope that all contestants continue to work to improve their playground, using online tools that KaBOOM! provides at

 “It’s so important for communities to create a safe place for children to play,” says Dana Points, editor in chief of Parents. “It may look like fun and games, but playgrounds and what unfolds in them are more important to our kids and communities than many of us realize.” 

”Playgrounds are not only critical for bringing children together to get active, but they bring whole communities together.  Parks and playgrounds are shared spaces where neighbors meet and working together to support a playground is a great way to help strengthen a whole community” said Darell Hammond, CEO and Co-founder of KaBOOM!.

“Foresters recognizes that changing times have made it more difficult for families to spend time together. Through our support of KaBOOM! playground initiatives, Foresters is helping to create safe play-spaces for children and parents to spend time together and get to know other families in their community,” said Kasia Czarski, SVP, Chief Membership and Marketing Officer, Foresters.

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