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Lets move - KaBOOM! News

From Los Angeles to Detroit, folks across the country are rallying for more play. Here's a look back at five inspiring and noteworthy news stories from 2012:

  1. The Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics brought play and recess to the forefront by issuing a major report in January on the importance of play in child development and then releasing a policy statement on the crucial role of recess in school at the end of the year.
     
  2. Nine-year old Caine Monroy proved that world-changing ideas come from everywhere – even cardboard boxes. As depicted in this short film that went viral last spring, Caine (pictured left) used leftover boxes from his father’s auto parts store in East Los Angeles to create his own arcade of games. In the process, Caine created a worldwide movement of imagination and inspiration, including the first-ever global Cardboard Challenge.
     
  3. With Imagination Playground™ in the background, First Lady Michelle Obama and U.S. Secretary of Health and Humana Services Kathleen Sebelius announced the next chapter of Let’s Move! Cities, Towns and Counties. The announcement focused on the development of five pillars for the program, including “Active Kids at Play.” Both the First Lady and Secretary Sebelius stressed the importance of play and physical activity, while addressing the need for communities across the country to assist KaBOOM! in creating a comprehensive map of playspaces.
     
  4. Children (and teachers) in Chicago public schools found out what they had been missing for nearly 30 years when they returned to school in the fall: recess! For the first time since the early 1980s, children in Chicago public schools were able to take a break from the classroom and share in laughter, joy and fun after recess was reinstituted.
     
  5. Washington D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray and the city council provided an example of what can be accomplished when elected officials unite for a common cause. Left with a sizable budget surplus in 2012, Mayor Gray and the city council committed to using the nearly $10 million surplus to renovate eight aging playgrounds. The decision proved so popular in the community that the Mayor and city council then allocated an additional $20 million in committing to renovate 32 playgrounds in the city by September of 2013 – the largest playground renovation project in DC history.

We at KaBOOM! play every day, but usually not at the White House.

On Monday, April 9, we participated in the 2012 White House Easter Egg Roll. We teamed up with the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition at the 'Eggtivity Zone,' which got kids moving on the South Lawn of the White House:

 

First Daughter Sasha Obama enjoyed making her way through the obstacle course we made with an Imagination Playground:

 

Kids were naturally curious about the Imagination Playground, made of loose parts and designed to spark creativity:

 

Children came out in their Sunday best for the occasion. But that didn’t stop them from playing hard and having fun!

 

First Lady Michelle Obama stopped by the Eggtivity Zone to cheer on the kids!

 

The First Family came out to play, with the Easter Bunny in tow. Approximately 35,000 people attended the annual event throughout the day:


We have long asserted that playgrounds and gardens go hand in hand—they both nourish communities and help keep kids healthy.

KaBOOM! was recently invited to attend a fall harvest at a very special  community garden—at the White House—with First Lady Michelle Obama, White House Chefs Sam Kass and Cris Comerford, Let’s Move Executive Director Judith Palfrey, and a few dozen local children.

If you think your community doesn't have the resources to match the White House garden, you might be surprised to learn that the first White House planting only cost $200. And the small bee hive (pictured below), which is tended to by White House carpenter Charlie Brandt, houses around 70,000 bees.

Throughout the afternoon, we discussed the importance of both good nutrition and physical activity. Palfrey asserted that one of the most important things parents can do to help solve childhood obesity is to make sure their children get to "run and jump and play."
 

  

  

  

On the way to the kitchen, we passed the White House playground, which sits adjacent to the community garden, and then got some tips on good nutrition from Chef Cris Comerford (pictured above).

Raising healthy kids isn't as difficult as parents might think. But as Let's Move and KaBOOM! both recognize, kids who grow up in "food deserts" and "play deserts" are less likely to have access to veggies and outdoor play opportunities. That's why, according to our motto, a healthy childhood "starts with a playground" -- and a community garden.