Remember when you were a kid in school and your favorite part of the day was recess, when you’d conquer the monkey bars and swing as high as the sky? After school you’d race home to play catch in the yard, shoot hoops at the basketball court, or meet friends in the park. Playing outside with friends was once the highlight of my day, so its difficult to understand why today’s children play less than any generation before them!
Part of the problem, may be that only 1 in 5 children in the U.S. lives within walking distance of a park or playground, or that many schools across the nation are eliminating recess! What?!?! I wonder if they know about a 2009 study of 11,000 third graders which showed children with more than 15 minutes of recess time per day behaved better in class and were more likely to learn than peers who had less than 15 minutes of recess.
Even more shocking, only 1 in 3 kids can climb a tree? If you can’t climb a tree, where will you hide from that pesky little brother or sister? Why is it so important for kids to get outside and play? Well, with an overall decline, a “play deficit”: has emerged and been linked to several problems:
- Childhood obesity-according to the American Heart Association, today 1 in 3 kids are obese which is almost 3X more than in 1963
- Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity, anxiety disorders and depression
- Increase in violence and other behavioral problems
- Decrease in social, cognitive, and creative development
- Less green spaces in cities and suburbs
- Failing schools
One of my favorite parts of being a blogger, is sharing information about organizations I’ve never heard of, but are working hard to improve the quality of life for our children! KaBOOM! is one of the largest nonprofit organizations in the United States, and is dedicated to saving play for children. To date, KaBOOM! has built over 2,000 playgrounds, saving play for over 5.5 million children.
Our mission is to create great playspaces through the participation and leadership of communities. Ultimately, we envision a place to play within walking distance of every child in America.
This month KaBOOM! wants to know, which playgrounds do you love? To enter you can submit a photo now through 2/19 and be entered to win some cool outdoor toys!If you’re out and about and want to snap a photo with your phone, you can Tweet it and tag with #ilovemyplayground or upload it to Instagram and tag it with #ilovemyplayground!
By increasing play, we have children that are healthier and happier, our communities are stronger, and our cities are greener! Check out the KaBOOM! Facebook page to see some of the amazing work they have done to build more playgrounds across America.