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!:
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.
"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.
"Healthy communities offer safe and equitable playspaces for all residents. In 2009, I founded the GoPlay Initiative which integrates community-wide resources to create playful living opportunities and inspire a spirit of discovery. The campaign included school educators, community volunteers, and local organizations that joined together to build an innovative playground for over 1,000 third, fourth, and fifth grade students in the Starkville School District.
While Starkville leaders believed in the value of play it was the KaBOOM! Playful City USA program that provided the needed spark to make play a city wide priority. Leaders representing the city of Starkville, Parks Commission, Starkville School District, civic organizations, and local businesses joined efforts in the spring of 2011 to set tangible goals for investing in play. Organized as the Starkville Play Task Force, our team continues to work towards the action plan goals we have set for the entire community.
Drafted by Play Task Force members, the Starkville School Board and Board of Alderman passed a shared use agreement contract in October of 2011. Now the public has access to Starkville school playgrounds and the school district has additional city resources to maintain and improve neighborhood playspaces. The Playful City USA recognition has brought public and private entities together to build a better, more playful Starkville. The KaBOOM! organization not only provides useful resources but also inspiration to continue as a play advocate in Mississippi."
– Heather Carson, Starkville, MS
Play it forward with a donation to help make more cities playful like Starkville, MS.
"It was just a typical Wednesday afternoon in April, and I had no idea what I was about to get myself into. I was picking up my kids after school and heard about a meeting taking place down the hall. They promised a free meal and some entertainment for my kids, and that sounded like a good deal to me.
I went over and found out that KaBOOM! was going to be building a new playground at my local community center. As I was enjoying a hot bowl of stew my kids were drawing their dream designs for the new playground, I was hooked.
As the weeks of planning went on I found myself taking on more and more. Before I knew it I was leading the Food Committee and was walking around my neighborhood asking for donations of food – enough to feed the nearly 200 volunteers we expected on Build Day. I realized how much I was really capable of taking on.
Before this project I was a single mom just doing the best for my kids, but the KaBOOM! project made me feel like I could give so much more. On Build Day all my efforts were totally worth it. It made me realize how strong of a person I really am and how much more I can give, and that is something I’m reminded of every day when I walk by the playground or watch my kids play on it."
– Jesse Chittick, Calgary, AB
Jesse discovered a motivation and drive in herself she thought she’d lost a long time ago. With the new playground serving as tangible evidence of what she can accomplish she’s already on the lookout for another opportunity to make a difference.
Play it forward with a donation today to help people like Jesse realize how much power they really have.