June 22, 2009

School's out - but where will your kids play?

National Non-profit KaBOOM! Delivers New Study on National Play Deficit

Summer is here, and soon, children across the country will be sprinting out the school doors. But now that they’re out, where will they go?

In a study commissioned by KaBOOM! and conducted by Harris Interactive® of 1,677 parents with children between the ages of 2-12, 59% of parents report that their children don’t have access to a community playground. In the lowest income bracket, that number goes up to 69%. KaBOOM!, the national non-profit dedicated to bringing play back into the lives of children, commissioned the study to find out what parents think about play, and how much time their children play outside every day.

In a speech last week, President Obama himself sited the importance of playgrounds in helping our children get into healthier habits, and KaBOOM! has spent the last 14 years building more than 1,600 playgrounds in low-income communities and championing the cause of play in thousands more. This study shows that while the message is getting out about the importance of play in a child’s life, children still don’t have enough time and space to play every day.

In terms of importance, 96% of parents said that playing outside was critical to keep kids physically fit, but only 17% thought children played enough outside. Parents report that their kids spend less than an hour per day engaged in unstructured play outdoors, on average and 92% of parents say that children today spend less time playing outside than they did when they were growing up.

To help fix the problem, parents also say they’re willing to do their fair share of the work to make sure their kids have a place to play. More than half said they’d be willing to help build new playgrounds, fundraise for equipment, and encourage schools to open their playgrounds during non-school hours. KaBOOM! empowers parents to achieve these goals, and has filled its website, kaboom.org, with online tools to give parents step-by-step guidance to build and improve their local playgrounds, work with others in their community, and learn what communities across the nation are doing to increase the amount of play in their kids’ lives.

This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of KaBOOM between March 31 and April 7, 2009, among 1,677 respondents who were selected from among parents with children between the ages of 2-12 who have agreed to participate in Harris Interactive surveys. No estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated; a full methodology is available.

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