August 23, 2011 Kerala Taylor

Bright ideas: How to get your neighbors to the playground

What good is a playground if it sits empty all day? Playgrounds are about play, of course, but they are also about providing a space for neighbors to gather and socialize. Many of our Park-A-Day Summer Challengers—who have taken it upon themselves to visit as many parks and playgrounds as possible with their children this summer—have lamented that their quest can get lonely at times.

That’s one reason why Liza Sullivan, a 2010 Summer Challenge alum, decided to take our 2011Challenge one step further by inviting her neighbors along. The "Last Days of Summer Park-A-Day Challenge," a collaborative effort amongst The Alliance for Early Childhood, the Winnetka Park District and the four neighboring park districts, is giving families one park or playground destination each day this week.

Today’s destination? Gillson Park (pictured), which is Liza’s "family favorite."

Lee Volpe, superintendent of recreation at the Winnetka Park District, told The Winnetka Current, "Kids are too regimented on structure, it's important to get back to the roots of playing. The program allows a time to make plans to be together and go do something new. It doesn't cost anything, it's going to be really fun."

After all, communities that play together, stay together. Organizing your own week-long challenge can be as simple as compiling a list of seven playgrounds and spreading the word. Or, extend the challenge into the fall and choose a weekly destination. As we continue on our quest to build a playground within walking distance of every child, help us make sure that these playgrounds are getting the attention and love they deserve.

Use our new Playgrounds! iPhone app to share, find, and review your local playgrounds. (Android version coming soon!)

bright ideas, play outdoors, liza sullivan, summer challenge, illinois, summer