Kids and play… they go together like peanut butter and jelly. In fact, studies show that play is critical to the health and well-being of children. But far too many kids in the U.S. aren’t getting the play they need. This is especially true in low-income neighborhoods. To counter this trend, the nationwide Play Everywhere Challenge, powered by the Skild contest platform, seeks to find great innovations in city redevelopment that make play fun and accessible for kids and families.
Collaborating on More Ways to Play
The challenge was developed by a group including the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Target, Playworld, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the National Endowment for the Arts. It will provide $1 million in prizes to 50 winners across the country to help them turn their community-focused concepts into reality. The goal is to integrate play into everyday activities and unexpected places such as vacant lots, streets, bus stops, etc.
In the first phase of the challenge, KaBOOM!, a non-profit organization that helps communities build playgrounds for children, received more than 1,000 applications. From them, 200 finalists have been selected, and they will receive funds and assistance to further define their ideas, before the 50 winners are selected through the contest management system.
Just a Few of the Finalists
Here is a random sampling of the finalists:
Atlanta Beltline Beats Musical Park. The park would feature a range of outdoor musical instruments, including chimes, a xylophone and percussions. It will be located alongside the Beltline, a former railway corridor that is currently under development in stages as a multi-use trail.
Bus Stop Lookout! The plan is to take a boring (and sometimes long) wait at the bus stop and turn it into an adventure by creating a dual purpose bus shelter/climbing feature that embraces children’s natural desire to climb. The structure would have tree-like posts leading to a fenced green roof.
Chicago Children’s Theatre: Dreams on Parade. Chicago Children’s Theatre (CCT) is transforming a former police station in Chicago’s West Loop into a community arts center. It will be a free public convening point for children and adults to expand their concept of play. Dreams on Parade will be an interactive diorama experience.
Community Play Wrapped in a Garden. This idea is for a playground wrapped by a community garden so kids will feel the safe embrace of nature, family and friends while they play. It would have a series of circles for play, riding tricycles, small garden plots where children learn how to grow their own food, and a main community garden.
Dancing Daisies. This idea is to create a “dance” themed greenway trail. Along selected section of a greenway trail, dancing daisies will be painted in a playful and colorful way illustrating basic social dancing steps. While taking a walk along the greenway, anyone can use this guide and enjoy dancing.
Kudos to everyone who has participated in the contest! Winning ideas will be selected in September.