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Physical activity - KaBOOM! News

Playgrounds give kids a chance to move their bodies, but the opportunities afforded by a single playground extend beyond physical activity. Kids also get more chances to challenge themselves, exercise their imaginations, and interact with other children and families. A new study conducted by Deborah Puntenney, Ph.D. at Northwestern University, in conjunction with KaBOOM! and Health Care Service Corporation, confirms our motto: “It starts with a playground.”

By the end of 2013, Health Care Service Corporation (HCSC) and its Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans in Illinois, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas will have built 39 playgrounds through a partnership with KaBOOM!. The company's support for KaBOOM! is part of its Healthy Kids, Healthy Families program, a three-year initiative designed to improve the health and wellness of at least one million children through community investments.

The study, conducted in 9 cities in 2011, used a learning community model to examine how being part of the KaBOOM! playground building process affects attitudes about the health promotion impact of physical activity and play, and the potential ripple effects associated with the community building aspects of the projects.

Key Findings: Health Promotion

  • Parents and other adults involved in children’s well-being almost universally agree that play is strongly associated with better health for kids. They were aware of this before they started, and this knowledge contributed to their desire to build a playground.
  • 90% of adults believe kids in their community want to play more following the playground build.
  • 96% of adults believe kids in their community are getting more exercise following the playground build.
  • Between 83% and 94% of adults believe that the playground has increased opportunities for higher quality play, including more fun (94%), more creative and challenging play (88% each), and more prospects for skill mastery (83%).
  • The percentage of adults saying kids are “bored” when they are outdoors dropped from 71% to 25% following the playground build.
  • There was an 11% increase the number of adults who said they played outside with kids at least three times a week between the pre- and post-build surveys; among parents the increase was even higher, with a 16% increase in the number indicating they went out to play with their kids this much.

Key Findings: Community Building

  • Adult confidence in their own ability to change the community increased 29% after the playground build.
  • Neighborhood pride increased by 23%, and neighborhood trust increased by 48%.


  

  Photos from KaBOOM! and Blue Cross and Blue Shield playground builds in Tulsa, OK (upper left), Chicago, IL (upper right), Rio Rancho, NM (bottom left), and Marshall, TX (bottom right).

Here, KaBOOM! says thank you to HCSC for its commitment to bringing play to children in need:

 


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.