With research proving play is critical to the overall well-being of children, 217 cities and towns, including Redwood City and Brisbane, earned recognition from national nonprofit KaBOOM! as 2013 Playful City USA communities for their efforts to give children the childhood they deserve by providing ample opportunities for play.
Sponsored by the Humana Foundation, Playful City USA is a national program from KaBOOM! that celebrates and promotes local policies that increase play opportunities for children and is a key platform in combating the lack of play among children.
“Kids need to play actively, every day, at home, in school and in their communities, yet play is disappearing,” said Darell Hammond, founder and CEO of KaBOOM! “Children spend nearly eight hours a day in front of a screen; almost half of all poor students are deprived of recess; and to make matters worse, only one in five children live within walking distance of a park. Playful City USA communities like Brentwood, Brisbane, Fairfax, Redwood City and San Francisco are creating innovative programs and initiatives and deserve recognition because of their efforts to give kids the childhood they deserve and best prepare them for their future.”
Redwood City has several initiatives through the Parks, Recreation and Community Services Department that are intended to increase play opportunities for children. After physical education cuts in local schools, the city applied and received a grant to provide physical education for 5,000 K-fifth grade children during the school day.
Brisbane’s Let’s Play Construction Grant helped forge a relationship with the city and the Mothers of Brisbane organization, which has been a driving force for the importance of play within the community. As a result of this partnership, the Mothers of Brisbane raised $33,400 and the Lions Club dismantled the old play structure, both helping build a new park for the city. The city is looking to expand partnerships with community organizations to increase access to play for citizens of Brisbane.
The Playful City USA communities are now eligible for $15,000, $20,000 and $30,000 grants via Let’s Play, a community partnership led by Dr Pepper Snapple Group to get kids and families active nationwide. Grant recipients will be announced in the fall.
For more information on the KaBOOM! Playful City USA program visit www.playfulcityusa.org.