January 03, 2012

The best from you in 2011

As we leave the year behind we thought it would be fun to take one last look at the state of play in 2011, as seen through the eyes of the greater KaBOOM! community. Sifting through videos, blogs and photographs sent to us from parents, teachers and city officials, we were reminded of just how playful – and inspiring – our fellow play advocates can be. As the heart of our movement to save play, it is your stories that keep us going. So, we hope you enjoy some of our favorites from across the country and that they motivate you to keep sending in your play-related stories – whatever form they take – in 2012.

This year we encouraged people to go out and find the best parks and playgrounds in their communities and add them to our Map of Play through our Park a Day Challenge. One Florida mom hit pay dirt when she found this aeronautical-themed playground at the Albert Whitted Airport Park in St Petersburg, Fla., and then again on a trip to Seattle, where she found a rather unique place for her son to play.

At KaBOOM! we do our best to prioritize low-resource communities for our playground builds and grants. That’s why we were thrilled to be able to award a $15,000 grant to the Cornerstone Community Shelter in Chicago, Ill. After watching this video, we’re sure you’ll be as moved as we were to help save play for the Cornerstone kids.

From cooling off with a real fire hose to beach volleyball and face painting, Ankeny, Iowa sure knows how to throw an All City Play Day. Ankeny is one of the 151 Playful City USA honorees from 2011, prioritizing play in their community. We’re glad they captured the fun with this great video.

A big part of the KaBOOM! mission is to build community. That’s why we love it when someone takes the time to share what they’ve learned with others. In this blog post, KaBOOM! alum extraordinaire Liza Sullivan gives six tips to getting the most out of your playground visits.

As you may know, the KaBOOM! Map of Play is a major initiative to help us determine where all the playgrounds are in the United States. Once we know where they are we’ll be able to create a Play Desert Map of where the playgrounds are NOT, helping us be even more strategic with our resources. One of our Park-A-Day Challenge participants walks us through some great tips on finding and adding parks and playgrounds to our map from the comfort of your own living room.

Who says playgrounds are just for kids? Not this mom from Orange County, Calif. who balances her video camera in one hand and holds onto the swing with the other. The result is this light-hearted video that reminds us never to take ourselves too seriously.

Two-thousand attendees made Meriden, Conn.'s first-ever Community Block Party and National Play Day a huge success. This snappy video captures the fun and might give you some ideas for planning your own community’s play day. Remember, you don’t need to be an official Playful City USA to host a play day!

This is one of our favorites, because where the sidewalk ends, play begins. Check out this video from Jennifer McEntee and the Lake Murray Park playground project in San Diego, Calif. We loved the little boy and his friend the swing, animated in the style of the beloved Shel Silverstein.

Nothing says fun like silly hats and bouncing green horses. The Bring on Play Committee of York, Pa., sent in some great photos of their seasonal “Plaza Palooza” Sundays. Hosting a play day is one of the requirements for our Playful City USA national recognition program. Check it out.

From surveying the land to designing the perfect playground, this video used to recruit volunteers takes you through the entire planning process. After watching this, you can’t help but become a part of the dream for a new playground in El Dorado Park, Fresno, Calif.

We don’t build playgrounds for the thanks, but they sure are nice to hear. Especially when they come in the form of a song, composed and performed by kids. We think you’ll enjoy this special thanks from the students at Williams Preparatory School in Dallas, Tex. as much as we did!

Let’s admit it: we all love seeing smiling, happy kids enjoying a great playground. This video from the Temple Corporation Community Center in St. Louis, Mo. sure fits that bill. We’re not sure who has more energy – the official Energizer Bunny who helped with the build or the first kids to try out the new equipment. You decide.

Gypsum, Colo. is so playful, they’ve made their own, professional commercial celebrating the state of play in their town. We hope it encourages other cities to apply to be recognized as a Playful City USA.

the buzz in play, playful city usa, community, online community, playground build, year in review, videos