KaBOOM! News • page 108

The Land Of Pure Imagination
New York City Department of Parks & Recreation
July 14, 2008

The wise philosopher, Willy Wonka, once said, "There is no life I know to compare with pure imagination." Now, with physical improvements to Brownsville Playground and the addition of the Rockwell Group's mobile Imagination Playground™ in a BOX, children's imaginations can expand all summer long. [More]

The Power of the "Imagination Playground™"
A Creator's Guide
July 16, 2008
Well, high fives - and fist bumps - to architect David Rockwell, whose is applying his genius for creating spaces to a new venture called "Imagination Playground™" - an collaborative initiative with urban playground king Kaboom to offer children (especially those in low-income neighborhoods) innovative, colorful playspaces to let their imaginations run wild. [More]

July 15, 2008 KaBOOM!

Run's Playground

Houston Press Blog
July 10, 2008

Rev. Joseph "Run" Simmons, one-third of legendary rap group Run-DMC and more recently starring as a man of the cloth and beleagured father of seven (in other words, himself) in the hit MTV reality series Run's House, visited Houston Wednesday with his wife, Justine, to help build a brand-new playground at the Candlelight Oak Civic Club in Northwest Houston. Tuesday's project is the second in the KOOL-AID/KaBOOM! initiative's partnership to build playgrounds in inner-city neighborhoods. Everything seemed to be going swimmingly - hundreds of volunteers scurrying around hauling dirt, mixing cement and hammering things while listening to, um George Strait - until the skies opened, but Simmons swore the project would be finished today, rain or shine. [More]

New York Daily News
July 15, 2008

Most surprises come in a box, and for the children in Brownsville, their summer surprise came in a giant one.

The Imagination Playground™ is a giant box filled with blocks, cones, sprinklers and sand - all the tools a youngster needs to build his or her own ideal playground.

"I'm building a castle, and tomorrow, I'm going to build a spaceship," said gleeful Remel Isil, 6, before he scampered off to join his friends at the Brownsville Recreation Center playground.

Inspired by his own children playing, David Rockwell, an award-winning architect, created a playground where children will not only get their dose of outdoor activity, but will also stretch their imaginations and hone their creativity.

"Kids have this innate instinct to collaborate and play," said Rockwell. Imagination Playground™ provides kids with "the raw ingredients for creativity," he explained.

Rockwell teamed with nationwide playground creator, KaBOOM! and the city Parks Department to bring the special playground to Brownsville for the summer. [More]

Dr. Kal's Weight Loss Blog featured the playground builds by KaBOOM! and CNN's Fit Nation on Friday. Here's an excerpt:

It is great what they did for the children of Metairie. It will help get these children more active and get them away from the video games, the television, and the Internet. Increased activity is one of the best strategies to prevent and cure childhood obesity.

The CNN Fit Nation team has inspired me. I am going to research KaBOOM! and try to get some playgrounds built in the Atlanta/Decatur area.

Check it out!

New York Times
July 14, 2008

It began as a six-foot-long robot named Simon. Then over the course of a few minutes, Kamai Pugh, 7, took Simon apart and transformed the array of blue blocks and foam noodles into a child's vision of a miniature park with swing sets, a weighing scale, a balance beam, a swimming pool and finally, a lime-green airplane.

At the Imagination Playground™ in a Box, no fantasy seems too far-fetched. The colorful gear, which arrived at the Brownsville Recreation Center in Brooklyn last week and will remain there through Labor Day, is designed to unleash creativity by allowing children to invent their own activities. [More]

ANKENY, Iowa (July 9, 2008) — Nearly 600 residents of all ages ventured out to Hawkeye and Wagner Parks on Tuesday night for Ankeny's first annual All-City Play Day, an event designed to encourage free and unstructured play.

"This is a great way to showcase our parks and to encourage healthy lifestyles through active play," said Ankeny Mayor Steve Van Oort.

Twenty activity stations were set up throughout the city's two most prominent community parks and included a wide range of sports, arts and fun. Each of the activity stations were staffed by volunteers, including the mayor and city council, park board members and city staff. Many of the stations were "mini" with small versions of practice play in kicking a soccer or football, throwing basketballs or hitting tennis balls over the net. The Iowa National Guard brought a portable climbing wall and Polk County Conservation provided canoes that were sailed in Hawkeye Pond. The Lakeside Center hosted a "Salty & Sweat" event for older residents that included indoor games like Dominos and UNO. Canine Craze, a local dog training organization, showcased the skills of several local dogs. Artists young and old could chalk the sidewalk. One of the evening's hot spots featured a Home Depot Workshop where amateur craftsmen could try their hand at assembling small wood projects. Participants were rewarded with prizes including bright red Frisbees, Playful City USA kazoos and plenty of refreshments.

Ankeny's All City Play Day is a continuation of the City's commitment to play at any age and in recognition of Ankeny's designation as a Playful City USA founding member from the KaBOOM! Foundation, a national nonprofit organization that promotes play within walking distance of every child in America.

Original plans called for a statewide event where communities would host simultaneous play days, coordinated by the Iowa Parks & Recreation Association (IPRA) and spearheaded by the City of Ankeny. The heavy rainfall experienced throughout Iowa communities this spring required the initiative to be scaled back this year.

"Ankeny understands the importance of play even in times of hardship and continues to reach out to Iowa communities hit hard by this year's flooding," said Todd Redenius, director of parks and recreation.

The goal would be to host a statewide event next year with communities across Iowa participating.

East Cleveland, Ohio - a 2007 Playful City USA community - was featured in a multi-page article in Cities and Villages, the journal of the Ohio Municipal League.

Download the article here(pdf - reprinted with permission)

Hip-hop pioneer Joseph Simmons (a.k.a. Reverend Run), the new brand ambassador for the KOOL-AID KaBOOM! initiative, joined his family at a KaBOOM! playground build in Houston July 9.  

"I'm personally committed to bringing families together -- at the dinner table, in communities and on playgrounds," said Reverend Run. "I'm hopeful that by working together, KOOL-AID, KaBOOM!, and I can make a real difference in kids' lives by allowing them to have fun and create the memories that will serve them well for many years to come."

Photos of the build are coming soon - but check out these great video interviews with Reverend Run about the project!

Reverend Run interview on Good Day New Mexico
July 3, 2008

Reverend Run and wife Justine interview on My Fox Houston
July 9, 2008

Video from the Houston Chronicle:

Watch the Inside CNN podcast featuring Dr. Sanjay Gupta at a KaBOOM! playground build in New Orleans!