Play Everywhere Philly

Awarding $1 million in Play Everywhere grants in Philadelphia

Meet the 2023 winners

Awarding $1 million in Play Everywhere grants with a focus on playful learning in Philadelphia

Play Everywhere Philly is a city-wide collaborative challenge to create playful learning spaces that support child development and literacy skills in everyday locations across Philadelphia.

The program awarded $1 million in Play Everywhere grants to groups across Philadelphia to create playful learning along sidewalks and footpaths, in waiting rooms, parks, and gardens. With support from KABOOM!, the William Penn Foundation, Playful Learning Landscapes Action Network (PLLAN), and Watchdog Project Management, grantees will develop places for kids aged 0-8 to play, strengthen caregiver and youth engagement, and promote early childhood literacy and learning.

Meet the 2023 Winners

Play Everywhere Challenge 2023 Winners

The 2023 selection process utilized the Playspace Inequity Prioritization Index (PIPI). PIPI combines 21 publicly available data points into a score for every census tract in the United States. Any census tract with a z-score over 0 is likely experiencing playspace inequity. If a census tract has a Z score of 3.0 or higher, that means it is one of 696 census tracts in the United States with the greatest estimated amount of playspace inequity (The top 0.01% of census tracts in the US). These estimates were one factor in determining the 2023 winners, along with other factors such as community engagement plans, project vision, and inclusion or playful learning concepts.

Our 10 Play Everywhere Philly winners received technical assistance during the application phase from our partner organizations: Playful Learning Landscapes Action Network, who helped applicants incorporate playful learning elements into their project designs, and Watchdog, who provided applicants with technical design assistance and project management support. Applicants will continue to receive technical assistance during the implementation phase as they bring their Play Everywhere projects to fruition.

Civic Spaces

Playful Learning in the Yard on John Coltrane Street

Strawberry Mansion CDC

This project will support restoring the John Coltrane House as a historic landmark, expanding its footprint to incorporate an adjacent vacant lot to preserve the street's architectural character and provide a much-needed cultural hub for the community. The new installation at the Yard on John Coltrane Street will include an outdoor installation with seating, a stage, puzzles, musical pathways, and interactive audio-visual games for children and caregivers.

Commercial Spaces

Expanding the “Reach” of Early Literacy Promotion and Play

Reach Out and Read Greater Philadelphia

Families spend a significant amount of time in waiting areas. Reach Out and Read aims to create playful and engaging spaces within medical offices to encourage interactive and joyful learning experiences for both parents and children, capitalizing on time spent waiting. At two medical offices in Philadelphia, the installations will focus on social connection, language development, and numeracy skills.

Parks, Trails, and Public Spaces

Fernhill Park Children’s Village

Friends of Fernhill

This project will create the Fernhill Children’s Village—a series of tiny structures designed to invite children to play, learn, and thrive in the park. The village will feature themed structures, such as a Farm Stand, Theater, Bus Stop, and School, each offering educational experiences that promote literacy, imagination, spatial skills, and connection to nature.

Civic Spaces

Logan Nook of Discovery

Indochinese American Council

This multi-intervention project will focus on creating a vibrant playspace in the Logan neighborhood, addressing the lack of outdoor areas for residents to gather, play, and interact. The project proposes transforming the area outside of the Logan Library into a "Logan Nook of Discovery" through murals and interactive play paths focused on the history and culture of the neighborhood.

Parks, Trails, and Public Spaces

All Aboard! The Rail Park Playspace

Friends of the Rail Park

This project aims to repurpose unused elevated railway tracks into a vibrant green space that connects multiple neighborhoods with playful infrastructure along the way. The flexible, loose-parts-based playspace will cater to children aged 0-8, incorporating elements of playful learning and literacy.

Parks, Trails, and Public Spaces

Play n’ Grow at Bartram’s Garden

Bartram’s Garden

This project will replace pre-existing, uninviting, and unsafe play equipment and completely redesign the playground as a nature-based playful learning space. The new playspace will encourage visitors to engage with the landscape in new and interesting ways, through physical play, interactive puzzles, and natural elements.

Moveable and Pop-Up Play

Read to Succeed Mobile Literacy Launch Pad

Read to Succeed- Philadelphia

In the form of a converted airstream trailer, this mobile playspace will transform ordinary spaces, like parks, libraries, pop-up events, summer camps, and more into an all-in-one library, playground, relaxation station, and space-themed imagination launch pad. Furthering their mission, Read to Succeed will use this mobile playspace to bring their reading program to children and families across Philadelphia.

Civic Spaces

Come Play with RMHC Philly

Ronald McDonald House Charities Philadelphia Region

Aimed at engaging children and their caretakers in playful learning experiences when they stop by for a wellness visit, dentist appointment, or if they’re just walking by, this project will include interactive installations at various locations on the medical campus at St. Christopher's Hospital for Children, including at the main entrance, Nelson Pavilion, and along where the mobile dental clinic parks.

Parks, Trails, and Public Spaces

Art in the Park: Nature Learning

Clean Air Council

This project will install interactive playspaces at various entrances to the Cobbs Creek Trail. These playspaces will invite more children and families into the greenspace while educating them about the natural environment through physical installations and interactive murals.

Commercial Spaces

The Lion of Zion Immersive Playful Learning Installations

Called to Serve CDC

This renovated church space will transform into a thriving community center with play opportunities for children and caregivers connected to civil rights, entrepreneurism, and oral histories. The Sullivan Community Impact Center is expected to house a café and bookstore, kiosks for entrepreneurs, career services, youth programming, food distribution, and health services.

About Our Partners

William Penn Foundation

William Penn Foundation

Play Everywhere Philly is funded by the William Penn Foundation. The William Penn Foundation, founded in 1945 by Otto and Phoebe Haas, is dedicated to improving the quality of life in the Greater Philadelphia region through efforts that increase educational opportunities for children from low-income families, ensure a sustainable environment, foster creativity that enhances civic life, and advance philanthropy in the Philadelphia region. Learn more about the William Penn Foundation

Playful Learning Landscapes Action Network

Playful Learning Landscapes Action Network

Playful Learning Landscapes Action Network (PLLAN) fosters the creation of playful learning infrastructure and activities in everyday spaces where children and families gather. PLLAN works with communities, designers, and researchers to transform spaces like corner lots, laundromats, and bus stops into hubs of playful learning. Providing equitable access to high-quality learning opportunities in everyday places and spaces enhances children’s cognitive and social development and prepares them for success in the 21st-century.



Watchdog’s vision and strategic direction is to empower excellence in our people through an unparalleled workplace culture that enables them to passionately serve and fiercely protect our clients. Through innovative thought leadership, unwavering commitment to our core values, and the highest standards of professionalism, we strive toward strategic organizational growth and continuous improvement. Above all else, we view success as leaving a distinctly positive imprint on the lives of our people, our clients, and in the communities we so proudly serve. We strive to align every project with our core values of community, authenticity, integrity, empowerment, entrepreneurship, and passion.

Through the provision of comprehensive services from predevelopment through ribbon cuttings, Watchdog is committed to using our skills to positively impact communities and the lives of their residents. By working alongside community-focused organizations, we aim to help increase the volume and quality of social impact development, therefore making our neighborhoods stronger and more prosperous.