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Playful City USA

Program Details

Is your city or town creating policies or investing in programs and infrastructure to keep kids active, playing, and healthy? Then it may have what it takes to be recognized as a Playful City USA community.

What is Playful City USA?

Playful City USA is a recognition program honoring cities and towns that ensure that kids in their communities, particularly kids from low-income families, get the balanced and active play they need to thrive.

Through policy changes, programs, and infrastructure investments, participating Playful City USA communities and their partners are driving a deeper understanding of the importance of play and engaging their citizens to reimagine cities with kids in mind.

Interested in applying to Playful City USA and want to learn more? Join us Wednesday, January 18th at 1:00PM EST for our 2017 Playful City USA Application Webinar. This webinar will be open to both our returning and new cities, as we provide an overview of the Playful City USA program, application requirements, and updates. Register for the webinar today.

Benefits of Playful City USA designation

National recognition
Your city will benefit from increased stature and competitive advantage because of your recognized commitment to improving the lives of kids and families. Several of our cities have leveraged their Playful City USA recognition in competitions for grants and other funding opportunities.

Playability engagement series
Access to webinars, newsletters, and networking events that give your communities the tools to continue to evolve as playful cities.

Marketing kit
You'll receive a marketing kit including press releases, a social media plan, and marketing materials to support your national recognition and increase awareness of your participation in Playful City USA.

Policy map
You will have access to Policy Map, an online tool that can be used in conjunction with KaBOOM! playspace mapping data.

Road signs
We'll send you two highway road signs to showcase your recognition to residents and visitors.

How to qualify as a Playful City USA community

What is your city or town doing to keep kids, families and communities active, playing and healthy? We’re looking for communities that demonstrate a strong commitment to the cause of play. Playful Cities also support their commitment through with a defined vision in collaboration with local partners to promote play opportunities. Whether you’re creating policies or developing programs, if your community is working hard to make play a priority, then you might have what it takes to be recognized as a Playful City USA community.

Selection criteria for Playful City USA designation

Equity
Cities must ensure play is available to ALL kids, especially those from underserved and vulnerable populations. Tell us how your city uses infrastructure investment, policy change, and programming to address inequity in play opportunities.

Scale (city-led efforts)
Investments in play are only successful when they lead to widespread behavior change. Let us know how your municipal leadership is taking comprehensive, city-wide action to increase play-related infrastructure investment, policy, and programming.

Ease
Tell us how your city is making play the easy choice for kids by creating safe places to "play along the way" -- on the daily routes of families and in unexpected places such as sidewalks, bus stops, vacant lots, and beyond.

Cross-departmental collaboration
Your examples should demonstrate significant collaboration among non-profit partners, foundations, municipal agencies (including but not limited to parks and recreation departments), the Mayor's Office, business community, and citizens.

Competitive advantage
Tell us how your city uses play infrastructure as a way to attract or retain residents or businesses.

Application Checklist

The following list represents sections of the 2017 application. We'll provide instructions for each section in the application. The checklist is meant to give you an idea of the types of information we'll ask you to provide in the application. Further instructions will be provided when the application opens in mid-February 2017.

  • General contact information
  • Community demographics
  • Playspace location and type information
  • Three examples of playability
  • Play related funding sources
  • Letter of support from city leadership

Contact Information

If you have any questions or want to learn more, please do not hesitate to reach out to Alex Davis at adavis@kaboom.org or (202) 464-6164.

Sign up to recieve an email when the Playful City USA application opens