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Kids’ Play: KaBOOM! Playspace Finder Can Help

by Borderstan.com November 1, 2008 at 9:45 am 0

Borderstanians, I received this comment from Lisa of Borderstan in response to a posting on a mapping tool, the DC Citizen Atlas, which I highlighted here on this blog. I will let Lisa explain how you can find playspaces for kids using a mapping tool created by a DC-based non-profit, KaBOOM!

Any parents on this blog looking to find great places for kids to play? I live in Borderstan and thought I’d share a cool program with everyone: Its called the KaBOOM! Playspace Finder. I work for a DC based national non-profit called KaBOOM! We work to make sure kids nationwide have a great place to play within walking distance of their home… by empowering communities and corporations to take action and support and build playgrounds and recreation areas.

Essentially, KaBOOM! created Playspace Finder to be an online, user-generated national database of outdoor places for kids to play.  It is also available as a widget for those of you with blogs.

The KaBOOM! Playspace Finder is an amazing online tool that allows people to enter, search, and rate playspaces in their communities. It is a free, searchable directory that helps parents, community members and kids to locate playgrounds, skate parks, sports fields, and even ice rinks across America. It can also be used to alert local communities about recreational areas that need a little help.

Right now, more than 10,000 playspaces have been entered on our website and we’re looking to really turn DC into a leader by making sure that we have all of DC’s playgrounds included (which we do not right now–please help us out with this) and also make sure that folks in DC are using this program as a resource, since we are based here.

Anyone can add a playspace to the KaBOOM! Playspace Finder. With step-by-step instructions and a Playspace Finder worksheet, its pretty easy for you to upload photos, include details about the playspace and submit your thoughts on the space’s overall “play value.” The KaBOOM! Playspace Finder is a great and easy way to get your kids outside to play, help visitors and new residents in your community locate nearby playgrounds, and create positive changes in the state of play in your neighborhood.

Ultimately, our hope is that we will use the data we collect in the Playspace Finder to help us audit the quality and quantity of, and access to, play nationwide. We’ve already seen it work in some communities–in Tucson, Arizona, for example, city leaders recognized, via their audit of playgrounds with the KaBOOM! Playspace Finder, a disparity in access to playgrounds across their community.

In order to address this deficit, the City formed an explicit partnership with the Tucson Unified School District whereby identified school playgrounds would remain open after school hours, on weekends and during summer months. The new program will begin with 12 elementary school playgrounds and the hope is that all of the school playgrounds will open as neighborhood parks in the future.

Please check out this great resource and pass it on!

P.S. – We also have a program set up for school-age kids who are looking for community service credit to work with us, and help us populate the KaBOOM! Playspace Finder. Visit our Web site to find out how to volunteer.

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