Today’s guest post is from KaBOOM!, in support of their 2012 Summer Playground Challenge. As a mom of two very active boys I spent hours of my life in the many playgrounds in my neighborhood when those kids were younger. Given that there was no playground in the town that I grew up in, I often wondered how my Mom and other Moms who don’t have playgrounds nearby survive.
As the national nonprofit KaBOOM! kicks off its 2012 Summer Playground Challenge — which challenges
families to explore as many playgrounds as you can this summer and offers prizes for your playground
visits — past Challenge participant Sarah Brown shares what she and her family gained from a summer
full of outdoor play.
1. I think the biggest joy of last summer came from watching my children’s relationships with each
other grow. I watched age differences slip away as they played chase, made up games, and
lent a helping hand to a younger sibling. Suddenly, the barrier of age or ability had no bearings
among the tree limbs and monkey bars. This character development carried over into their daily
life at home and they were always eager to retell stories of their adventures over dinner each
night. Families that play together have more fun!
2. Because we feel outdoor play and time spent in nature is so important, it was a lot of fun to find
various new places to go. Everyone enjoyed locating new parks, playspaces, nature preserves
and even State Parks to visit. We learned being in a city can be quite different from rural areas,
but there are still plenty of play places to visit.
3. It was so nice watching their reactions to parks in different areas of our town and how they
noticed the conditions of or amount of equipment (and lack thereof) at others. Their eyes were
opened to our community needs and the children who should be provided with a safe place to
4. Their natural curiosity about the world around them was heightened. Instead of passing along
an area unfamiliar and hitting the swings, I watched all of the kids gravitate to a new apparatus
or area of the park. They wanted a space for free thinking adventure and fortunately, some of
our visits provided just that.
5. I found the more opportunities provided to my children to be outdoors, with place and space
to roam and PLAY the more they CRAVED it!! It became a nightly ritual to talk about what
new adventures lay ahead and if something like a rainy day prevented playground play, they
would be so disappointed and frustrated. You see they were not satisfied with video games or
indoor activities, after a short time of making the effort to provide them with what I feel is a
child’s natural outlet of PLAY, they wanted it and more of it, and I think that is how children are
designed and loved every second of the transformation!
We look forward to expanding our horizons this summer in other parks, playgrounds and play spaces.
We also look forward to serving our community through park cleanup efforts and of course enjoy adding
to the KaBOOM! Map of Play so others can easily find places to get outdoors and PLAY!
Get motivated to visit more playgrounds with your kids this summer by joining the 2012 Playground
Challenge! The three top Challengers will win a trip for two to DC and all participants can win great
prizes throughout the summer.