Brad Wilson/Getty Images
We've created lists of playspaces for the five cities listed here on foursquare. Check out the lists, and check in when you visit them via the foursquare app on your smart phone to leave photos and tips about the best places to play. Don't have a smart phone? No problem, you can access foursquare from your computer and check off places on your to-do list!
Columbus, OH is home to 140 playspaces. We've included 30 of them in our Most Playful Cities: Columbus, OH list on foursquare!
San Francisco is home to 144 playspaces. We've included 30 of them in our Most Playful Cities: San Francisco list on foursquare!
Auburn, WA, is home to 90 playspaces. We've included 45 of them in our Most Playful Cities: Auburn, WA list on foursquare!
Play is serious business. Children need it. Daily. Study after study proves it makes them happier, healthier, smarter and more social.
But in America children are suffering from a play deficit.
The Centers for Disease Control reports that only one in five kids lives within a half-mile of a park or playground. And todayís youth spend less time playing outdoors than any previous generation, according to the Stanford University School of Medicine.
Why? Far too few places to play, and not enough time in a childís day, experts say.
Citizens, neighborhood groups, schools and organizations all over the country are trying to reduce Americaís play deficit.
Some 150 cities large and small are leading the way.
Here, we announce Americaís most playful cities for kids. KaBOOM!, a national non-profit dedicated to building and renovating Americaís playgrounds, has designated these communities the best when it comes to offering its children access to vital playground space.
Check out the efforts of these five cities and use the tool at the bottom to see if your city made the list.
San Francisco (pop. 805,235): Playgrounds make the grade
Number of public play spaces: 144
Why it made the list: San Francisco uses a unique Playground Report Card. Every two years, the city grades playgrounds and rates the safety and quality of each location. The report identifies playgrounds in need of maintenance and renovation, a concept KaBOOM! CEO Darell Hammond says ďevery city across the country should implement.Ē
You can play in the street: In 2005, PARK(ing) Day began in San Francisco. Every year on the third Friday of September, people across the city transform metered spots into temporary parks.
Columbus, Ohio (pop. 787,933): Working together for play
Number of public play spaces: 140
Why it made the list: Public-Private Partnership Task Force. In the past 10 years, more than $2 million in grants, capital investments, sponsorships and private donations have come in through the cityís Safe Playgrounds Initiative.
You can get there from here: Fifty percent of the U.S. population lives within 500 miles of Columbus.
Hartford, Conn. (pop. 124,512): Young means fun
Number of public play spaces: 30
Why it made the list: Public-Private Partnership Task Force. Last spring, Hartford held a six-week celebration of parks that included improvements to the cityís recreational facilities.
Young town: Nearly 45% of the cityís population is under age 24, so play areas are a priority. ďItís a very young population,Ē Mayor Pedro Segarra says. ďPlay is important for physical and psychological development, healthy lifestyles and respect for nature.Ē
A history of play: Hartfordís Bushnell Park is the oldest publicly funded park in the USA.
Orlando (pop. 238,300): When school's out, play's in
Number of public play spaces: 83
Why it made the list: Joint-use agreements.The city has 14 joint-use agreements with Orange County Public Schools to open up playgrounds for public use during after-school hours. Mayor Buddy Dyer is a huge fan: ďPlay allows parents to interact with their children and makes them happy, simple as that. A happy child having fun is a good thing.Ē
Play (for kids big and small) is big business: Seven of the nationís top 10 theme parks are located in Orlando.
Auburn, Wash., (pop. 70,180): Fun for everyone
Number of public play spaces: 90
Why it made the list: The community rallied and raised $310,000 to help build a 32,000-square-foot Discovery Playground, which opened last June. It is designed especially to accommodate disabled as well as able-bodied children.
Committed to diversity of play: The city is home to a water park, a climbing wall, bocce courts and a disc golf course. The Game Farm Park annually hosts Petpalooza, a pet festival attended by more than 10,000 people and their four-legged friends.
Is your city included, too?
Click on your state to see which cities made the list. You can click on the city names to see a list of playspaces on KaBOOM's Playspace Finder.
Bring play back to the kids of Phil Campbell, Ala.
Last April, the town of Phil Campbell, Ala. was struck by a devastating tornado, destroying nearly everything in its path, including their playground. Visit kaboom.org/usaweekend and join USA WEEKEND, KaBOOM! and Causes.com to help bring a brand new Imagination Playground to the kids of Phil Campbell Elementary School.