Recently we went on a family vacation to Mississippi and stayed in a gated community with my husband's grandmother. This community was located around a lake with several homes. What I loved was the fact that there were several playgrounds located throughout the community, all clean and well groomed with a wide variety of activities. My daughter had never been to a playground and found a new obsession. So much to do and where to go next. What was her favorite activity? The shute-to-shute! If you don't know what a shute-to-shute is......it is a slide. This is what her great grandmother called it and it stuck! The funny part was the fact that there were two slides of two different size. One size she could manage herself, the other was much larger. Of course her favorite seemed to be the larger one, no surprise.
Not everyone has the ability to be located near a playscape. Playscapes are a wonderful place for kids to burn off some energy, have some unstructured fun and just be a kid! More outside play proves to have children more fit, active, creative and develop better social skills. KaBOOM!, a non-profit organization dedicated to finding and creating play spaces within walking distance for every child, has embarked on a nationwide mission to help communities build playspaces.
What is considered a playscape? This cane be a playground, field, a skate park, roller hockey rink, lake, dog park, community center, basketball court or ice rink - any place where kids can engage in unstructured play for free or a nominal fee. Listing a playscape on KaBOOM! consists of an address or cross street and a description, one photo and one rating. What I love about this site is you can not only list the playscapes in your community, but you can use tools they have available to help you build one. These tools range from how to fund projects, plans, equipment and involving volunteers.
I believe we are a society that has lost the drive to bring our kids to a playground. It is easier for many people to just turn the TV on, rely on video games or popping in a DVD. I was not as fortunate to live near a playscape of any sort but instead lived in a neighborhood near a town dock that I went fishing or some other water sport. I was fortunate to have this available to me. Not all children are this fortunate now, which is why it is important to help build the list of what is available and find places where one can be developed.
Mom Central has teamed up with KaBOOM! by which for every playscape entered, $1 will be donated to Jumpstart, a non-profit that brings at-risk preschool children and caring adults together to improve literacy. It is quick, easy and you can do so much good in such little time and effort. Please stop by KaBOOM! and see how you can contribute to building on 100,000 playscapes in 100 days, bringing children outside for safe playscapes.