January 10, 2011

Highlights of 2010: A year in review

As we embark on a new year, there is no better time to get some perspective on the year we’re leaving behind. We’ve spent some time reviewing the hundreds of blog posts we wrote in 2010, which provide a comprehensive snapshot of a year in play—the highs, the lows, and most everything in-between.

Here are the 15 posts of 2010 that most intrigued, inspired, and upset you:


Most Commented

Caution tapeClose this playground, or else

The sound of kids laughing on a playground is music to our ears. Not so for two residents of Douglas, Michigan. Since 2006, Kate and Heather have been fighting to close the playground at an Early Childhood Center next to their home. Read more.



Virtual funeral: Cabell County's swing sets

We are gathered here today to mourn the loss of Cabell County’s much beloved swing sets. They will be dearly missed. Year after year, these swing sets have exhilarated the children of southern West Virgina while promoting their perceptual skills, spatial awareness, general fitness, social interaction, and sensory integration. Read more.


Most Controversial

Play haterA condo association fines residents for letting kids play outside

Paying to play? In Methuen, Mass., some parents who told their kids to “go outside and play” were charged $500 by their condo association. That’s one expensive game of Wiffle ball. Read more.


Free range children signMay 22: Leave your children at the park

Are you ready to take your children to the park… and leave them there? That’s what Lenore Skenazy, blogger and author of Free Range Kids, wants parents to do on May 22, which she has aptly named, “Take Our Children to the Park… and Leave Them There Day.” Read more.


Stop signBright ideas: Removing all street signs

Removing traffic signs might make our streets… safer? Yes, according to the late Dutch engineer Hans Monderman. Behavioral psychologist John Staddon agrees. As he wrote in The Atlantic, “Attending to a sign competes with attending to the road. The more you look for signs, for police, and at your speedometer, the less attentive you will be to traffic conditions.” Read more.



Most Inspiring

Helping kids focus through play

As kids spend less and less time playing outdoors, more and more are having trouble paying attention. A staggering 1 in 20 children today suffer from attention issues that get in the way of their classroom learning. LeAnne Cantrell, a mother of a son with autism, decided to do something about this disturbing trend, and it started with a playground. Read more.


Penny ParkCool playgrounds! Wood in the age of plastic

What is it about wooden playgrounds? In the age of plastic, maybe it's the novelty factor. Their muted tones and whimsical structures offer a refreshing respite from the bright colors and standard-issue equipment that dominate most playspaces today. Read more.


Play Day LogoBest of Play Day 2010: Photo highlights

Our Play Day week ended on Sept. 26, and the photos and stories are pouring in! Over 1,500 communities across the country got together for a day of games, service, food, and good company. Read more.




Most Popular Photos

Playground in ThailandWood & tires in Thailand

What is the state of play in the developing world? Marcus Veerman, founder of Go Play!, thinks it could be better. When Marcus set off for Thailand, he was planning to draw from his experience at Hands On Learning, an Australian NGO. The idea was to get Thai schoolchildren involved in more hands-on, community-oriented work. Read more


8 ways to use Imagination Playground blocks

A lot of people ask us, "What is Imagination Playground™?" It's something that's hard to explain in words. The truth is, Imagination Playground™ can be (almost) anything you want it to be. Read more.



Spooky playgroundHalloween special: Spooky playgrounds!

A windy day. Hard white sunlight. A lone swing creaking back and forth... Why are abandoned playgrounds so downright spooky? Perhaps it's because a playground is much more than a collection of structures. A playground depends on playing children and a caring community to thrive. Empty playgrounds that have fallen into disrepair seem haunted by the ghosts of the children who once scrambled, screamed, and scurried around there. Read more.


Most Popular Lists

Top 8 gifts for playful children

In this day and age, there are a million and one gadgets to keep your kids entertained indoors. Most of them require batteries. And most of them will put a substantial dent in your wallet. Read more.



Top 10 reasons we love working at KaBOOM!

Today, The NonProfit Times named KaBOOM! one of the 50 best nonprofits to work for in the United States! We couldn’t agree more. At KaBOOM!, our motto is “serious fun.” Playgrounds don’t build themselves, and we have our work cut out for us to realize our ambitious vision of a great place to play within walking distance of every child in America. But in our offices, “work” and “fun” go hand in hand. Read more.



Most Popular Guest Posts

see sawReinventing the see-saw

The see-saw is probably one of the most vilified pieces of equipment you will find on a playground. When I started writing this piece, my intention was to show some of the many examples I found last summer, while on a fellowship in Germany, of how designers have tried to make the see-saw safer. Read more.


No running signDo we need a recess revolution?

A few years ago, my son moved from a crowded DC public school to a 600-student K-12 private school considered to be one of the "best" in DC. I love almost everything about the school, and apparently many other uber-anal DC parents do too because the school is harder to get into than Harvard College. We were thrilled and our son made the transition easily. Read more.