FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WASHINGTON D.C. (May 05, 2016) —
This week, KaBOOM! launched the Play Everywhere Challenge, a $1 million national competition that will award outside-the-box ideas to make play easy, available, and fun for kids and families in cities across the U.S. Together with its collaborators, KaBOOM! encourages organizations, individuals, and collaboratives to submit their best ideas for integrating play into everyday life and unexpected places: sidewalks, vacant lots, bus stops, open streets, and beyond. The Challenge, developed in collaboration with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Target, Playworld, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the National Endowment for the Arts, is calling for applicants who know their communities' needs and strengths, and understand where kids and families—especially those who struggle to make ends meet— could benefit most from increased spaces and opportunities to play.
"As a dad, I know kids will find ways to play wherever they go—if they are given the chance," said James Siegal, CEO of KaBOOM!. "But today, too many kids, especially those growing up in poverty, are missing out on play because of families' time pressures, the lure of screens, and a lack of safe places to go. That's why we need to find ways to integrate play into the daily lives and routines of all kids and their families—no matter where they live, where they come from, or how much their families earn."
Kids need play to grow up healthy, resilient and ready for life. Research shows play is vital to healthy brain development. It's how kids learn problem-solving, conflict resolution, and creativity— in other words, the skills they need to succeed as adults. Play is also serious business for kids: evidence shows missing out on the chance to play puts kids at risk for challenges ranging from obesity to anxiety to trouble adjusting in school.
"We're looking to spark provocative, new ideas that foster play in even the most unlikely places," said Siegal. "Our hope is that winning solutions to play will produce a domino effect where other cities across the U.S. are inspired to implement their own creative play ideas. Every kid needs play to thrive. And when kids thrive, cities thrive."
Applications will be accepted from May 3-May 31, and applicants can be government entities, non-profits, or groups who have partnered with them. To learn more, including how to apply for a Play Everywhere Challenge award, please visit https://playeverywhere.kaboom.org.
KaBOOM! is the national non-profit dedicated to giving all kids – particularly those growing up in poverty in America – the childhood they deserve filled with balanced and active play, so they can thrive. Since 1996, KaBOOM! has collaborated with partners to build, open or improve nearly 16,700 playgrounds, engaged more than one million volunteers and served 8.5 million kids. KaBOOM! creates great places to play, inspires communities to promote and support play, and works to drive the national discussion about the importance of play in fostering healthy and productive lives. To learn why #playmatters, visit kaboom.org or join the conversation at twitter.com/kaboom or facebook.com/kaboom.