Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

KaBOOM! Continues to Explode with 'Playspaces'

Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

KaBOOM! Continues to Explode with 'Playspaces'

Article excerpt

A toy-filled, orange and purple office in Washington, D.C., holds the key to helping children become healthier, do better in school and to just plain go outside and play.

There's a method to this youthful decor. According to Darell Hammond, CEO and co-founder of KaBOOM!, a nonprofit that is determined to provide a place to play within walking distance of every child in America by organizing the construction or renovation of playgrounds and other "playspaces" such as skateparks and youth sports fields, "You can't be a playful organization without being playful yourself."

The KaBOOM! team, which also has offices in Chicago, Atlanta and San Mateo, Calif., believes that being playful is just what the doctor orders as, according to the organization, 82 percent of pediatricians believe play improves problem-solving skills, 89 percent believe play combats obesity and 96 percent say play develops social skills and confidente for the future.

Another reason they believe play is benefieial goes hand in hand with NLC's Partnership for Working Toward Inclusive Communities, an initiative to promote equal opportunity and fairness in cities.

"A lot of times on the playground, kids see kids that don't look like them, kids that don't even talk like them," noted Hammond. "Play helps open up world view."

The Play Process

With its inception in August 1995, KaBOOM! hasn't built or renovated more than 1,000 playspaces in America, Canada and Mexico on its own.

The playspaces are built by business employees and community residents who work with the organization for approximately four months to create places to play where kids need it most.

The process begins with local kids helping KaBOOM! design their dream playspace.

Then parents rally local volunteer support and committees plan the aspects of the project. …

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