KaBOOM! and Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation Announce New Play Everywhere Challenge Winners to Create Unique Playspaces for Kids Link copied!

July 10, 2019

Washington D.C.

Today, KaBOOM!, the national non-profit dedicated to giving all kids the childhood they deserve through great, safe places to play, and the Built to Play initiative, supported by the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation, announced new winners of the second Play Everywhere Challenge these partners have led together. The Challenge awards a total of $1 million for 22 projects across Western New York and Southeast Michigan to create landmark playspaces that provide kids with equitable opportunities to play.

The Play Everywhere Challenge invites 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.

Examples of playful projects coming to these areas include:

  • A half-mile Chadakoin Adventure Trail (Jamestown, NY) linking an elementary school with a local park and featuring climbable animal figures, tunnels and tree trunk steppers.
  • An installation called Heat Islands (Buffalo, NY) with rock-like structures that change temperature with the seasons, providing an interactive outdoor learning space year-round.
  • A Playful Dragon (Orion Township, MI) statue/playspace hybrid complete with slide, ‘lava’ balance pieces and a ‘burnt forest’ of climbing logs and stumps.
  • A musical playspace Good Fun & Sound Abounds Downtown (Pontiac, MI), transforming an empty lot with instruments like a xylophone and chimes along with a pop-up stage for events.

The Built to Play initiative answers a need identified through the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation’s work with the Aspen Institute Sports & Society Program on each region’s “State of Play” assessment, and through research conducted by KaBOOM!, which shows that while play is an essential factor in childhood development, there are far too many kids who lack opportunities for great, safe spaces to play — especially in rural and low-income neighborhoods.

“Play is an essential part of childhood, but kids are too often denied the benefits of play. Play is an equity issue, and the opportunity to play should not be determined by zip code, socio-economic status or race,” said James Siegal, CEO of KaBOOM!. “The Play Everywhere Challenge helps address this critical need, and we thank the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation for their commitment to ensuring every kid can experience the joy of a play-filled childhood.”

The projects implemented through the Play Everywhere Challenge will help families make play the easy choice and support kids in getting the physical activity they need to thrive.

“The creative projects that make up this round of the Play Everywhere Challenge are remarkable,” said Jim Boyle, vice president of programs & communications, Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation. “We’re proud that this program helps provide kids and families with more high-quality options for the active play necessary to develop and thrive.”

Through the Play Everywhere Challenge and the creation of playspaces starting this summer, the Built to Play initiative will create 22 new playspaces that reach thousands of kids in Western New York and Southeast Michigan.

Learn more about the Play Everywhere Challenge and view a gallery of winners from across Western New York and Southeast Michigan.