Awarding $1 million throughout Southeast Michigan and Western New York
KABOOM! and the Built to Play initiative, supported by the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation, have proudly announced the winners of the second Play Everywhere Challenge. The Play Everywhere Challenge awarded a total of $1 million for 22 projects across Western New York and Southeast Michigan.
The Play Everywhere Challenge invited communities to submit creative design ideas that make it easier for families to incorporate play into everyday moments. Selected projects will bring play into public spaces in unconventional ways — such as implementing swings at bus stops or play zones at laundromats.
2020 Play Everywhere Design Challenge
Keep watching this page, or sign up for our Grant Alerts, for news about the Play Everywhere Design Challenge, launching in Spring 2020.
Much more news to come!
2019 Play Everywhere Challenge winners
Explore the early designs and descriptions of our 2019 winners.
all You can be
This project will transform several sidewalks and a bus stop area outside a local YMCA into a vibrant playspace. This 2D, training camp-inspired obstacle course will utilize in-ground trampolines to provide an estimated 845 kids annually with opportunities to be active and socialize.
Barker Road Play Path
Northfield Township, MI
The Barker Road Play Path will connect local residents to Whitmore Lake, a major downtown area. The path will feature musical instruments, hidden painted rocks, custom benches and interactive games like hopscotch. Due to its proximity to the school, the path can also be used for outdoor education purposes. The project will serve an estimated 500 kids annually.
Coryn Kempster and Julia Jamrozik
This project consists of three blue, rubber-surfaced areas, each with a unique circular assembly of powder-coated steel pipe that allows kids of different heights to play and interact. The Blue Dots will be located along a walking path in Lion’s Park and aim to make the area a destination for socialization and play. The project will serve an estimated 510 kids annually.
Bridge to Bay Musical Parklet
Marine City, MI
City of Marine City
The Bridge to Bay Musical Parklet, located in a grassy lot along a bike and pedestrian trail, will add outdoor musical instruments for kids and families to use. The Parklet will include cherub bells, a xylophone, tubular bells, rainbow sambas, an akadinda and a seating area. To attract cyclists as well, they hope to include bike racks and small repair stations. The project will serve 3,900 kids annually.
Chadakoin Adventure Trail
Chautauqua County Health Network’s Creating Healthy Schools & Communities Initiative
The half-mile Adventure Trail will provide kids from a local elementary school with safe pedestrian access to Chadakoin Park and encourage exploration of their natural surroundings. An estimated 400 kids annually will enjoy the Trail and its interactive features, which include climbable animal figures, tunnels and tree trunk steppers.
Daisy’s Adventure Garden
Daisy’s Garden will bring together a number of fun structures, including an amphitheater, water playspace, sound garden and treehouse, for the enjoyment of kids and families from the surrounding community. The Garden will be located near the campus of a community non-profit, and will serve an estimated 1,260 kids annually.
Fit Facts by the Falls
Niagara Falls, NY
Old Falls Street, USA
Located along three blocks of the Old Falls Street entertainment district, this project will consist of signs featuring facts and challenges that encourage residents and visitors alike to complete an exercise or activity while learning about Niagara Falls. Elements like backdrops, exhibit walls, painted sidewalk sections and equipment to support physical activity will complement the signs. The project will serve an estimated 30,000 kids.
Good Fun & Sound Abounds Downtown
City of Pontiac
This project will transform an empty lot and corridor into a musical playspace with outdoor instruments like a xylophone and chimes as well as a pop-up stage for events and programming. The space will complement the nearby Phoenix Center, which is undergoing redevelopment with plans for extensive kid-centered design and programming. The project will serve nearly 4,800 kids annually.
Great Little Place to Play, Prepare and Practice
Independent Health Foundation and Eden Central School District
Located in a rural community where access to playspaces is limited, this project will transform school hallways into play zones during cold winter months by creating areas where kids can hop, skip and jump. An empty classroom will also be converted into a play zone for indoor recess when the weather prohibits outdoor play. The project will serve an estimated 450 kids annually.
Growing a Brighter Tomorrow
Clinton Township, Centerline and Detroit, MI
UP Art Studio
This project consists of three playful community mural projects, each in a different location. These murals will be located at Salvation Army retail stores and will be influenced by community input. Interactive chalkboards and play paths will complement each mural. The project will serve an estimated 435 kids annually.
Growing Roots Through Play
Monroe County, NY
Foodlink, Inc. – Lexington Avenue Community Farm
This project will create a play area in an empty half-acre lot in Rochester that sits between an urban farm and the surrounding neighborhood. Featuring log and boulder-based climbers and steps, labyrinths, public art and wayfinding features, the space will support community gatherings and serve an estimated 500 kids annually.
Healthy Habits Play Path
Monroe County, MI
Monroe County YMCA
This project will be centrally located along the county’s Heritage Trail. In addition to traditional sports equipment, the Path will feature oversized, interactive board game elements like Jenga and Connect 4. A garden area, play farmers market and signage will reinforce themes of healthy eating and active play. The project will serve an estimated 10,000 kids annually.
Gekh with King Center Charter School
This project in Buffalo will create a physically engaging outdoor learning space using a unique set of features that look like naturally occurring rocks. Each of the features has a warming/cooling element, inviting kids to interact with the space in different ways as the seasons change. The project will serve 500 kids annually.
Howell Tales Trail
Howell Main Street Inc.
The Howell Tales Trail will be an interactive downtown path that combines seating, play structures and tabletop games with a unique mobile app. Visitors can use the app to access folklore, fun facts and history related to the community. The project will serve nearly 10,000 kids annually.
Lumination is Family Fun
River Rouge, MI
City of River Rouge
This project will create interactive spaces throughout the community that encourage play and learning. Glow-in-the-dark sidewalk games and interactive art projects, some incorporating bilingual language learning elements, will complement a movable chalkboard canvas. The project will serve an estimated 160 kids annually.
Orion Township, MI
To support the township’s goal of prioritizing play in a revitalized thoroughfare, this project will provide kids and families with a unique playspace in what is currently an empty lot. The Playful Dragon will be a hybrid statue/playspace in the shape of a dragon, and will feature a slide, ‘lava’ balance pieces and a ‘burnt forest’ of climbing logs and stumps. The project will serve an estimated 600 kids annually.
Playful Path at the ANT
Wyoming County, NY
Camp Puzzle Peace, Inc.
This project compliments an interactive nature trail in Letchworth State Park designed for people with autism, intellectual disabilities, developmental delays and other conditions that may limit parents’ comfort with bringing their kids into the outdoors. The Playful Path will invite hikers to “jump on” a series of serpentine paths, each made of a different surface material, such as gravel, grass, soil, pine needles and even pieces of river slate. The Path will serve an estimated 7,000 kids annually.
Play Me a Tune Music Garden
Genesee County, NY
Genesee-Orleans Regional Arts Council
This space, situated in an alleyway along an existing art trail, will feature more than a dozen interactive musical instruments, sidewalk lights and a musical-themed mural. The project will expose families to arts and culture and create opportunities for after-school programming. The Music Garden will serve an estimated 860 kids annually.
PlayROCs: Interactive Rochester Signs
Healthi Kids Coalition of Common Ground Health
Using signs and playful sidewalks to activate areas of downtown Rochester, this project aims to direct people to local attractions and provide residents with spontaneous opportunities for play. These will include: a climbable “I Heart Rochester” sign, hop, skip and jump opportunities and a play map. The project will serve an estimated 271,000 kids annually.
City of Algonac
This project will install a variety of outdoor musical instruments in a local riverfront park, including a variety of multi-pitch drums and aluminum chimes. The instruments are appropriate for ages 2 to adult and aim to activate the riverfront for intergenerational play. The project will serve an estimated 2,500 kids annually.
Run, Play, Experience Manchester
Village of Manchester
This project will create five play stops along a newly developed shared use trail, which guides people through a scenic wooded area, two parks, a local library and downtown offerings. The stops will include telescopes, stone features for climbing, a race track, outdoor instruments and sidewalk games. The project will serve more than 1,700 kids annually.
Seneca Stay and Play Park
Oak Park, MI
City of Oak Park, Seneca Park
The Stay and Play Park will be a pocket park accessible to pedestrians. It will feature a public art display, artificial boulders for playing or sitting and a DNA helix inspired climbing tower in the center, designed for kids of various ages. The project will serve an estimated 12,500 kids annually.
2018 Play Everywhere Challenge winners
Explore the early designs and descriptions of our 2018 winners.
BreakwaterChautauqua County, NY
Julia Jamrozik and Coryn Kempster / City of Jamestown Parks
Designers Julia Jamrozik and Coryn Kempster are teaming up with the City of Jamestown Parks, Recreation and Conservation Department to install Breakwater. This project is designed to promote awareness of the new bike path and create a new social space where people from different backgrounds can meet.
Bryant Community CourtWashtenaw County, MI
Community Action Network (CAN)
Community Action Network’s project, Bryant Community Court, will transform a backyard space from an empty lot into colorful basketball hoops, murals, jumping games and solar-powered lighting that will extend playtime in fall/winter months.
Corridor of Play in Downtown RochesterMonroe County, NY
Common Ground Health
An interactive play trail including musical elements, sidewalk games, and river-oriented features will connect the projects in the Riverway initiative to The Strong Museum of Play, allowing kids and families to play along the way as they go to the library, wait for the bus and/or go to classes at the Rochester Educational Opportunity Center.
ElevateMonroe County, NY
Wilson Commencement Park
Elevate will transform a currently hazardous empty lot behind a busy bus stop into a safe place for kids and families while they wait for public transportation. It's designed to help kids navigate natural landscapes and includes hills equipped with built in tunnels, ladders, and a maze.
Fassett GreenSpaceAllegany County, NY
Art for Rural America (AFRA)
AFRA is a non-profit that uses artistic, cultural and sustainable educational programming to enrich the lives of residents living in rural communities. The Fassett GreenSpace is aimed to enrich kids’ quality of life through the arts, and provide opportunities to play, learn environmental stewardship and develop a stronger connection to community.
Finding Fun DowntownWayne County, MI
Allen Park Citizens Civic Fund
Finding Fun Downtown will include concrete chess, foosball, tennis tables and corn hole boards. Each item has been selected to engage adults and kids, and to be accessible to multi-ability levels, helping to provide a safe playspace for kids and increase foot traffic to the downtown area.
GO OUTSIDE!St. Clair County, MI
Port Huron Housing Commission
The project will combine a set of intersecting play walls featuring chalkboards and murals with a wooden stage at the intersection featuring work from a local artist. There will also be space for kids and families to create with chalk paint, and the housing commission will provide programming at the site each summer.
Hop! In the Name of LoveWayne County, MI
Located at a park the organization is currently building on two vacant lots, the idea combines a light up wall and hopscotch made of tiles that collect energy and will power the wall. The goal of the project is to help recreate a sense of community within Detroit, and long-term, help teach the community about renewable energy.
Let it Flow, Mt. ClemensMaycomb County, MI
A series of murals and interactive sidewalk games will be implemented at different sites, each with a STEM and water element focus. The murals will potentially be made into a city wide scavenger hunt with stops at community performance spaces, a local park, the art center, the YMCA and a popular transit stop.
LoopholesChautauqua County, NY
Julia Jamrozik and Coryn Kempster / Citizens for a Better Cassadaga
Loopholes is designed to offer a less formalized play opportunity by allowing kids to occupy the top undulating surface through crawling, climbing, walking and even running while being protected by the soft perimeter; and also have quieter zones to retreat to for some peaceful play.
Palmer CoastSt. Clair County, MI
City of Port Huron Recreation Department
The installation will include two ramps that will allow kids and families to sled during the summer using tubes, skis, sleds or snowboards. There will also be a variety of materials used in the ramps and at different slopes to accommodate all kids of varying abilities and experience levels.
Play Here, Play TogetherWashtenaw County, MI
Washtenaw County Health Department
In an effort to destigmatize social services buildings and help families claim the space, the project will bring a playful pathway to draw kids and families from a busy bus stop, through the atrium of a service building, and into a safe and fun courtyard complete with colorful games, a mini farmers market and climbing structures.
Playing Through TimeErie County, NY
Black Rock / Riverside Alliance
The Black Rock / Riverside Alliance’s project, Playing Through Time, will bring three interactive stops along a playful path – each with a unique theme encouraging kids to learn more about the rich cultural history of the community.
Play it Forward 'n Graham Soccer Park!Wayne County, MI
Beaumont Health System
Located in a community with a large population of immigrant families from the Middle East and North Africa, in which many expressed interest in having a community soccer field, the playspace will also have a soccer obstacle course, crocheted hoops that kids can climb or shoot balls through, swings, a sensory climb structure and a walking path.
RePlay Garden: Reimagining Play in FitzgeraldWayne County, MI
A lot with a house set for demolition under The Fitzgerald Revitalization Project will be transformed into a space that reflects community history. Amenities include multi-generational seating, reclaimed platform, tunnel and tire structures allowing kids of all ages to climb and play, and plants and signage encouraging sustainability education.
RiverWalk Play Everywhere CubesWayne County, MI
Detroit RiverFront Conservancy
The Detroit RiverWalk is one of the city’s most visited attractions, particularly the four green lawns (garden rooms) set just off the walk. The project, located in the garden rooms, will offer a unique shape to foster kids’ imaginations through colorful geometric shapes and invite visitors to come explore and imagine.
Roc Paint Division's Concrete to CanvasMonroe County, NY
City of Rochester, NY
The project will create artistic, creative play opportunities that pay homage to the cultural heritage of the residents from the neighborhood. including pedestrian pathways featuring tradition tile/textile patterns representing diverse cultures, and play pads with interactive sidewalk games.
Seneca-Babcock Links and CrossesErie County, NY
Seneca-Babcock Community Association
An 18-hole public art nano-sized golf course will be developed, helping to increase physical activity, safety and a sense of community. The course will be a total of 1.5 walkable miles and has support from both the community (non-profits/churches) and the City of Buffalo.
SerpentineOrleans County, NY
Julia Jamrozik and Coryn Kempster / Lyndonville Elementary School
A colorful, shapeable, snake-like structure called Serpentine will be located outside the school building, accessible to all community members. The installation is designed to foster more social interaction among families during pickups and drop-offs, and can also be used by reading groups as a gathering place.
Trailhead ParkletCattaraugus County, NY
City of Olean BOA Downtown Redevelopment
This project will transform the public space of Walkable Olean into a wonderland with opportunities for kids of all ages to play. Activities include a rock climbing wall, LED glow swings, a train station playground, climbers, tunnels, slides, oversized musical instruments, an outdoor ping pong table and seating.
Voyage of Discovery Adventure Loop TrailErie County, NY
West Buffalo Charter School
The pathway will include a one-mile trail of graphic art embedded in the sidewalk for "voyagers" to follow, a series of urban periscopes to discover and explore along the way and a trailhead performance space to use as a destination that includes outdoor instruments to stimulate a celebration.
Walk, Talk & Play on the Boice Parkway!Wayne County, MI
City of Romulus
The city will implement a play pathway that winds through the neighborhood and connects two city parks. It will include a large plane for kids to play around, life-sized checkerboard, musical play area, ping pong tables and interactive mile markers to inspire exercise along the route.
About Built to Play
The Built to Play initiative aims to give kids in Western New York and Southeast Michigan more opportunities for unstructured, kid-driven free play. This need was identified in the regional "State of Play" reports conducted by the Aspen Institute and supported by the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation, and through research conducted by both Tony Hawk Foundation and KABOOM!.
In addition to the Play Everywhere Challenge, Built to Play is also funding Unique Playground Builds through KABOOM! and Community Skateparks through the Tony Hawk Foundation across both regions. Learn more about the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation and these opportunities by visiting www.RWBuiltToPlay.org.