KaBOOM! News • page 7

by Paula Jenkins

I’ve been a teacher for 21 years. And through my work, I’ve seen the Play Deficit first hand.

Since I began teaching, the number of hours kids spend outside playing has plummeted. Kids are spending more and more time behind TV and computer screens. And equipment like swings are being pulled from school playgrounds because they are considered "too dangerous."

We can’t let the Play Deficit hurt our children. We must let them play.

Play is crucial to healthy social, emotional, and cognitive development. Every day, I see kids learning important lessons on the playground. And I’m sure you can understand how grateful I am when they return to class calm and focused after running around with their friends.

Please join me and other educators and help KaBOOM! fight the Play Deficit.  Be a part of their Spring Donor Drive and your gift will be matched dollar for dollar by the A. L. Mailman Foundation.

Right now, their goal is 365 donors to help KaBOOM! support a 50-state attack on the Play Deficit by helping:

  • Build playgrounds in disadvantaged communities.
  • Create an interactive map so they can identify cities where the Play Deficit is most rampant – and concentrate their efforts there.
  • Ensure that at least one model playful city exists in each and every state. Their Playful City USA program provides grants to municipalities that offer innovative programs to get children active, playing, and healthy.

Investing in children is investing in all our futures. Please help and let them play everyday.
 


Currently only one in five children lives within walking distance of a playground -- and you can help us change that. Are you ready to do some good? Join our national effort to map and rate every playground in America, and help us activate 200,000 people to do the same.

How? It's easy:

  1. Watch this video
  2. Vote for us in the "What Would You Do With 200,000 GOOD Friends?" Challenge
  3. Download our mobile app and map away!

Feel inspired? Vote for us, then start mapping!


by Danielle Marshall, Director of Community Engagement

Our enemy isn’t a person. It doesn’t have a voice. It doesn’t jump out of the shadows.
But it’s an enemy nonetheless. It’s the Play Deficit. And it’s a real threat to our children.

Right now, an overwhelming majority of kids don’t have a safe place to play within walking distance of their home. Recess at school is on the chopping block across the country. And the public playspaces that do exist are often in disrepair.

We can’t let the Play Deficit hurt our children. We must let them play.

Children need play to grow into healthy adults, much as they need food, shelter, and love. Without play, kids fail to develop necessary skills like problem–solving, creativity, and perseverance.

Will you help KaBOOM! fight the Play Deficit? Be a part of our Spring Donor Drive and your gift will be matched dollar for dollar by the A. L. Mailman Foundation.

Our goal is 365 donors to help support our 50-state assault on the Play Deficit. You can help KaBOOM!:

  • Build playgrounds in disadvantaged communities.
     
  • Create an interactive map so our research experts can identify areas where the Play Deficit is most rampant -- and concentrate our efforts there.
     
  • Open school and private playgrounds to local communities after hours and on weekends.

Play is fun. But its loss is no laughing matter. Please help and let them play everyday.


As a Schwab Social Entrepreneur of the Year in 2011, KaBOOM! Founder and CEO Darell Hammond has the opportunity to participate in the World Economic Forum next week in Davos, Switzerland. It's a chance to meet business and thought leaders, but also to advocate for something that sparks true entrepreneurial thinking: unstructured play.

Hammond explains this further in a new piece for the Huffington Post:

Unstructured play gives kids the space they need to tinker and take risks -- both vital for the budding entrepreneur. Yet, too frequently these opportunities are being taken away from our kids in favor of more structured activities or time in front of a computer screen. The lack of free, child-directed play time for our kids today will have dire consequences for these future leaders, making them less prepared to solve complex challenges and problems. That is one reason why KaBOOM! has embraced the concept of the Imagination Playground™ which uses loose parts and encourages kids to use their imaginations and be creative.

You can read the full post here: "Play Today, Lead Tomorrow"


On March 4th, 2011 KaBOOM!, KIPP Legacy Prep School and the Walt Disney Company built a great new place to play in Houston. One of the community project leaders, Ms. Berry, grew up in the community and says that things like this just don't happen in this neighborhood. It means a lot for the neighbors to see something so positive. 

Play it forward with a donation today if you believe all communities deserve a great place for their kids to play.


On February 12th, 2011 KaBOOM!, the Police Athletic League of West Palm Beach and PNC Foundation turned the worst dumping site in West Palm Beach into a beautiful new playground. Now people pick up trash every day. They have a sense of ownership to the playground and do not want to see it trashed. It is an incredibly positive change in the community.

Play it forward to support communities across the country who make KaBOOM! playgrounds their own.


On June 21st, 2011, KaBOOM!, the City of Erie and the Pennsylvania League of Cities & Municipalities built a great new place to play in Erie, Penn. After the build the city requested the Build Plans for the benches and shade structures from Build Day. They were so satisfied with the projects that they want to duplicate the projects across other projects in the city.

Play it forward with a donation today, because it may start with one playground, but it doesn’t end there.


On June 4th, 2011, KaBOOM!, North Berwyn Park District and the Walt Disney Company built a great new place to play and an amazing new community garden in Berwyn, Ill. Marlene, the Chair of the Garden Committee, is now working with the park district to develop lesson plans for local kids. Her goal is to teach kids how to garden and get them interested in local, healthy foods.

Play it forward with a donation today to help more people like Marlene take charge of their new community gardens.


March 19, 2012 KaBOOM!

A happy home is a messy home

"I work at the Office of Education Innovation in Indianapolis, so I spend a lot of time every day thinking about how to improve the quality of education for kids in Indiana. I’d never heard of KaBOOM! until the fall of 2010 when I volunteered at a playground build at a local school.

After an incredible build day experience I started reading the KaBOOM! monthly newsletters and getting interested in the concepts of free and creative play for kids. I started learning more about how skills, learned mainly through free and unstructured play, could be beneficial to my kids once they were grown up and working in the real world.

I watched other over-eager parents working to give their kids an edge with more structured play time with pre-fabricated crafts, organized play dates, sports teams, music lessons and more. Now I just smile to myself, knowing my messy home is a testament to my kids ability to play with anything, any time, anywhere.

Thanks to the KaBOOM! community, and like-minded blogs like Free Range Kids, I learned how important child-directed and imaginative play is for my kids social, physical, cognitive and emotional development. And, anytime I need a reminder - there’s a world wide web of people out there to support me!"

– Christina Summers, Indianapolis, IN

Play it forward so we can keep motivating moms like Christina to let their kids play.


On August 31st, 2011, KaBOOM!, Brightmoor Alliance and the Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Foundation built a great new place to play in Detroit. Just a week after the build, Cleo, a neighbor from across the street, has stepped up to oversee the horseshoes and has already begun to do maintenance checks on the playground!

Play it forward with a donation today to keep inspiring communities like Detroit so they can make difference in their neighborhood.