One 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’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.