Monday, July 13, 2009
In a time when 82% of parents believe children don’t spend enough time playing outside, 93 communities across the nation have taken innovative approaches to make play a priority for the health and well-being of their kids.
Communities large and small, urban and rural, have created initiatives designed to increase the quantity and quality of play and playgrounds, while improving access to existing play opportunities.
To honor cities and towns making this commitment to play, KaBOOM!, a national non-profit dedicated to bringing play back into children’s lives, named them Playful City USA communities. In the third year of this annual program, 32 of 93 Playful City USA communities were repeat honorees from 2008, while 22 cities were cited for the third consecutive year.
Thirty-nine new communities have joined others in making a commitment to children, including Indianapolis, San Antonio and Wichita. These 93 communities created and implemented programs to positively impact childhood wellness, public safety and the quality of life.
Each of the 2009 Playful City USA communities demonstrated creative commitments to the cause of play in the areas of quantity, quality and access. Quality relates to the number of usable, open playspaces. Quality involves subjective factors that encourage repeated use and make playspaces engaging, exciting, interesting and fun. Access entails the ability to get to a playspace (roads, trails) and a lack of barriers to the playspace (cost, safety, traffic, locked gates, equity).
Playful City USA celebrates and highlights these unique initiatives developed by communities across the country. A primary goal of Playful City USA is to encourage cities and towns to share creative ideas, concepts and programs in an effort to increase play opportunities for children.