With a KaBOOM!, we can get kids outside to play

KaBOOM! Play DayOne of the greatest joys of suburbia is the big green playground in our back yard–which makes not having decent sushi down the block almost worth it. But it bums me out that there are loads of kids who can’t just walk to a great place to play because there are no safe playgrounds nearby. How else will kids learn how to play Four Square or how to jump from a high swing if we adults don’t step in to help? 

Fortunately, Chicago-born Darell Hammond has been thinking about this since ’95 when he read about kids who died playing in an unsafe place. The story spurred him to start KaBOOM! which forms partnerships with well-funded corporations to build safe playspaces in areas that have none. Fifteen years later, they’re putting up playgrounds, community centers and even skate parks all over the U.S. You can help by building a playspace in your neighborhood or even just donating to KaBOOM! to help insure their work carries on in the future.
KaBOOM! also realizes that many kids are more familiar with how to work the wii nunchuk than the rules to Capture the Flag, so they’ve started Play Days as part of their National Campaign for Play. During the week of September 18, volunteers will bring kids in their area together to teach them some great outdoor games.

Interested in hosting your own Play Day? Then check out their website for how to get started and hopefully lure some kids away from the couch and computer screen. Even my suburban kids could use that. –Christina 

EXTRA COOL: Help out! What’s your favorite outdoor game with the kids? Leave a comment here describing it, and help us
build up the database of childhood game ideas on the
KaBOOM! Play Day website. They just may include your
idea on their Play Day site of ideas so kids from all over the country
can benefit.

Plus…host a Play Day in your own neighborhood playground from September 18-26 and be part of KaBOOM’s national celebration presented by Mott’s. Just list your Play Day on KaBOOM’s Play Day planner. While on the site, you’ll find ideas for games and activities, as well as ways you can apply for grants to improve the state of your playground.


Senior Associate Editor Christina Refford loves homeschooling, running, cool kids’ music, and coffee. Not in that order.


  • Christina
    Reply May 23, 2010


    I wrote this above, but I wanted to include it in the comments too because it really was my favorite game in elementary school: Four Square! It just takes a piece of chalk, a ball and a bunch of kids, and can get pretty complicated and competitive, or stay mild and easy for the little guys. For some rules (I love that it has an “official” site), see here: http://www.squarefour.org/rules

    Hope we can get loads of comments here.

  • Cool Mom Picks
    Reply May 23, 2010

    Cool Mom Picks

    I’ve been dying to get my kids a croquet set for Grandma’s house. (Considering we city folk don’t have our own backyards.) I’m thinking my almost 5 year-old might be just old enough.

    But right now? Hopscotch is definitely a favorite, and all it takes is chalk. -Liz

  • Reply May 23, 2010

    Amy Flanagan

    I love making obstacle courses around the park or yard and timing the kids as they run it. Around the tree, down the slide, over the swing, back under the slide…
    Also we play Swing Kick. As the boys swing forward I throw a kick ball at their feet. They have to kick it and I have to catch it. We see how many times we can be successful in a row. Our record is 21.
    Oh, and the boys love another game they made up called Random Actions. The rules are pretty similar to the title.

  • Reply May 23, 2010


    My kids love to play street hockey on the driveway. We have a small set of nets and some sticks, and they play for hours. We also play a game we invented a frisbee game that is a cross between frisbee golf and shuffleboard.

  • Reply May 23, 2010


    My kids play Wall Ball at school. After 4 years of watching it, I still don’t understand the rules. LOL! Basically you throw a tennis ball against a wall. Someone either catches it and throws it back or they miss it and run for it. The thrower runs to the wall and touches the wall before the catcher can tag them OR before the catcher can throw the ball to the wall. The boys LOVE this…and baseball.

  • Reply May 23, 2010


    Our fave games are ghost in the graveyard, tag, and good old fashioned swinging and scootering.

  • Reply May 23, 2010


    Red Rover
    What Time Is It Mr. Wolf (I play this with my little ones everyday)
    Used to love double dutch skip rope

    The number one game for my group of friends growing up was Kick The Can. We would play for hours on end.

    Get out and play.

Reader Comments