How to Reopen and Promote Safe Usage of Playgrounds
Playgrounds are vital to the health and resilience of kids and communities. However, due to necessary COVID-19 public health measures, playgrounds across the United States closed this spring.
KABOOM! stands in full solidarity with these decisions for the safety and well-being of kids and their families. As playgrounds across the country reopen, it is paramount that health and safety remain the priority, and the strategies to reopen playgrounds be grounded in equity.
We must ensure that communities facing decades of disinvestment have access to the resources to make playgrounds open and accessible to kids and communities again.
To ensure that all kids — regardless of race, ethnicity, income and zip code — can return to the playground safely, playground reopening strategies must address inequities that exist by prioritizing financial and staff support resources. The need for an equity-based approach is heightened by the disproportionate impact of playground closures on kids living in under-resourced communities of color.
Many kids living in these disinvested neighborhoods already have fewer recreation options than kids who may have been less impacted by these closures — for example, kids with outdoor playspaces in yards, or close access to parks and trails.
Developing the Guidance for Reopening Playgrounds
As public health authorities determine when playgrounds can reopen, the question is how to do so safely while emphasizing public health goals. To help answer this, the KABOOM! Playground Reopening Taskforce developed an actionable resource for playground owner/operators as they plan for reopening.
Members of the KABOOM! Playground Reopening Taskforce include experts in public health, community development, parks and recreation and facilities experts. The guidance accounts for a thorough review of the latest guidelines on COVID-19 published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
This guidance also complements and builds from existing guidance by the CDC, and the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) on playground cleaning and maintenance that playground owners and operators should consult and integrate as appropriate for their contexts.
KABOOM! recognizes that individual playground users will make their own determinations about whether to visit the playground. For playground owner/operators, we outline the following suggested guidelines with supporting resources to help prepare their spaces for kids and adults to play safely.
Watch the Webinar
Watch a recording of the live discussion introducing the guidance with representatives from KABOOM!, Outdoors Alliance for Kids, NRPA, and more. Learn more about how to maintain public health and safety when reopening playspaces.
Steps to Prioritize Safe Play on Playgrounds During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Financial and Supplementary Resources for Supporting Play Equity
- Friends of the Park resources from Park Pride
- Build a Playground Toolkit: Fundraising from KABOOM!
- 7 Online Donation Tools to Delight Your Donors from Nonprofit Hub
Tools for Staff Education
- National Guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- Statewide Guidelines
Tools for Public Education and Parents and Caregivers
- Protecting Child Health and Wellbeing During COVID-19 from the NRPA
- From the CDC:
- How teachers can talk to children about coronavirus from UNICEF
- From the American Academy of Pediatrics:
- From the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry:
- Finding the Right Words to Talk with Children and Teens about Coronavirus (PDF) from the Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress
- Keeping Play a Priority (and Staying Safe) During COVID-19 from Voice of Play
- From the CDC:
- Infographics and Posters Promoting Safe Playground Use from the NRPA.
KABOOM! Playground Reopening Taskforce Members
- Allison Colman, Director of Health, National Recreation and Parks Association
- KimberlyDriggins, Executive Director, Washington Housing Conservancy
- Lori Freeman, CEO, National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO)
- Nabeeha Kazi Hutchins, Vice President of Programs, KABOOM!
- Michael McAfee, President and CEO, PolicyLink
- Julie Morita, Executive Vice President, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
- Catherine Nagel, Executive Director, City Parks Alliance
- Dr. Keshia Pollack Porter, Associate Dean for Faculty and Professor of Health Policy and Management, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
- Kate Robb, Senior Program Manager, Environmental Health, American Public Health Association
- Nonet Sykes, Chief Equity and Inclusion Officer, Atlanta BeltLine, Inc.
- Jennifer Vey, Senior Fellow and the Director of the Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Center for Transformative Placemaking, Brookings Institution