Helping create memories

We were proud to offer the New Hampshire Recreation & Park Association (NHRPA) a Speaker Scholarship for the 2017 State Conference to support its members’ professional development. Today, we’re happy to have Greg Bisson, assistant director for Exeter Parks and Recreation, as our guest blogger discussing how NHRPA and its members are enhancing children’s lives through play.

NHRPA

New Hampshire Recreation and Park Association is made up of municipal park and recreation professionals whose purpose is to promote and advocate the development and administration of recreation and park services through educational sessions, meetings, seminars, and conferences to improve recreation and park activities and facilities in New Hampshire. These support and training opportunities help members develop the skills necessary to enhance children’s lives through play.

Our members continued pursuit of improving the quality of life for children is a staple of our organization. Three pillars—programs, facilities and community—help shape the lives of children. Without programs and facilities, the children in New Hampshire would be hard-pressed to find a safe environment in which to participate. The rural landscape with a few urban centers makes our state difficult to navigate children’s recreation. However, our determined professionals find ways to connect children and families and create community. Our members practice what they preach; they work hard and play harder, and enjoy all of what New Hampshire has to offer. While our state is unique geographically—the ocean, mountains and large cities are just a short drive away—our members continue to find new ways to enjoy our region and promote all it has to offer.

During our state conference, Keynote Speaker Steve Maguire brought his passion for recreation, especially summer camps. After a long summer, our members needed someone to recharge their batteries. And Steve did exactly that! His passion along with his expertise gave members the lift they needed. He challenged us to be better at our jobs, and encouraged us to strive to be memorable. This is what all parks and recreation professionals need to do. Help children and families create memories.

Elevate the excitement

On our many trips to the playground, we observed kids shouting “Higher! Higher!” And well, we’ve delivered.

Kids can now climb up, up, up our five new modern and curvy climbers to reach the top of the playstructure. More than delivering thrilling challenge to 5- to 12-year-olds, the 8-foot climbers encourage kids to invent new ways to go across, through, under and over.

Even better, we have an equally thrilling way for kids to get back down to the ground! Three elevated slides continue the breathtaking excitement.

See all of the new climbers and slides here, and get started on a playground design that encourages kids to reach new heights.

NDRPA and its members are shaping lives through play

We were proud to offer the North Dakota Recreation & Park Association (NDRPA) a Speaker Scholarship for the 2017 State Conference to support its members’ professional development. Today, we’re happy to have Kelly Churchill, marketing specialist at the Mandan Park District, as our guest blogger discussing how NDRPA and it’s members are helping build the leaders of tomorrow.

NDRPA

NDRPA members are shaping the lives of kids through play by providing recreational opportunities for all ages and abilities to promote a healthy lifestyle. Park districts across the state offer something for everyone in the community whether it is youth or adult programs, parks and shelters, facilities, aquatics or events! We continue to shape lives by improving the quality of life for all citizens of North Dakota.

Mandan Universal Playground

Mandan’s Universal Playground is a destination place for its community members as well as those in surrounding communities. The inclusive playground, which was designed considering physical, sensory, social, communication and cognitive abilities, fosters the community and welcomes both children and their families for play. Landscape Structures helps provide these inclusive opportunities throughout the state of North Dakota, and we are pleased to collaborate with them to shape the lives of North Dakota residents through play.

Building the leaders of tomorrow

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Play shapes us. It helps build leaders, encourage collaboration, teach persistence, develop problem-solving skills and much more. That’s why we launched the Shaped by Play Scholarship in June. Our goal was to fund activities that help build the leaders of tomorrow.

We accepted nominations for the scholarship throughout the summer, and are excited to announce the winners! We were able to award 16 individuals a scholarship to participate in activities ranging from figure skating lessons to invention camp.

See the list of scholarship recipients below, and see how they’re planning to use the funds:

  • Audrey D. from Victoria, B.C., will participate in summer figure skating camps
  • Chad D. from Lexington, S.C., will get inspired at Camp Invention
  • Charlize H. from Forest Park, Ga., will take an educational trip to Disney World focused on physics
  • Connor N. from Mifflinburg, Penn., will attend soccer camp, art lessons or an engineering/creative activity
  • Dmitri J. from Belvidere, Ill., will continue cello lessons at the Music Academy of Rockford
  • Emily S. from Victoria, B.C., will participate in a sports camp next summer
  • Ka’Mauri D. from Washington, D.C., will take charge of her own learning experience at Steve & Kate’s Camp next summer
  • Kelsey M. from Tallahassee, Fla., will improve her skills through club volleyball camps at the Prostyle Volleyball Academy
  • Kendal F. from Washington, D.C., will participate in gymnastics classes
  • Lauren N. from Palatka, Fla., will play in the upcoming soccer season and buy new equipment
  • Lili L. from Houston, Texas, will compete in the Miracle League All-Star Game
  • Miranda E. from Bennett, Colo., will take swimming lessons and purchase a membership to the pool
  • Morgan M. from Pittsburgh, Penn., will put the scholarship dollars towards college tuition, books and housing
  • Scott B. from Cypress, Texas, will compete in the Miracle League All-Star Game
  • Terron G. from Katy, Texas, will play in the Miracle League All-Star Game
  • Xavier D. From Lexington, S.C., will take on challenges at Camp Invention

Stay tuned throughout the next year, as we check in with our Shaped by Play Scholarship recipients to learn about their experiences.

Decline in children’s play time shown in new study

Do you think your kids get enough opportunity for play?

According to our recent poll, more than half of parents think that children today have fewer opportunities for play than children 20 years ago. And while nearly two-thirds of parents think the ideal amount of daily play time is between one and two hours, they reported that their children get one hour or less of unstructured play time each day.

Unstructured play time

Our survey, which took place in June 2017 and was conducted by ORC International, polled parents of children 12 years and under to understand their attitudes on the value of unstructured play. Topics ranged from important life skills gained on the playground to opportunities for free play.

Children's play opportunities

We recently commissioned a meta study in partnership with the University of Minnesota’s Institute of Child Development, which confirmed our culture’s growing infringement on children’s play opportunities. According to the study, a long list of daily distractions competes for children’s free time: hectic family lifestyles, organized activities, T.V. and electronic devices, and academically packed school schedules.

Learn more about our research and request a download of the full whitepaper at shapedbyplay.com.

Play shapes children into successful adults

Friendship

Children’s early experiences and the settings they inhabit play a powerful role in shaping the adults they will become. That’s according to a meta-study we recently commissioned in partnership with the University of Minnesota’s Institute of Child Development.

Our goal with the meta-study was to understand how children’s play behavior on school and community playgrounds contributes to whole-child health and development. The study aggregates and analyzes key findings from some of the most influential studies on children and play. Request a copy of the full research whitepaper at shapedbyplay.com.

We believe that play and playgrounds help children learn leadership, persistence, competition, bravery, support and empathy. And it’s play experiences that help shape kids into thinkers, dreamers and leaders. Watch our video below that brings the WHY
of what we do to life.

Mankato Downtown Kiwanis to create inclusive playground with Legacy of Play award

Legacy-of-Play-blog

A fourth grader who uses a wheelchair will soon get to play on the playground with her friends. Her story helped convinced a panel of judges to award the Mankato Downtown Kiwanis Club $25,000 worth of inclusive playground equipment in the Legacy of Play Contest, sponsored by Landscape Structures Inc. and Kiwanis International. The award will be used to develop the Fallenstein Playground, an all-inclusive playground where children and families of all abilities can develop, discover, laugh and experience the joy of play.

Mankato, 75 miles southwest of Minneapolis, is renowned for its great parks and trails, and offers breathtaking landscapes of rivers, lakes, ravines, bluffs, natural prairies and forested areas. With a population of nearly 41,000, Mankato offers small town living in a thriving regional center. The all-inclusive Fallenstein Playground will be located adjacent to Fallenstein Field, the fully accessible baseball field used by the Miracle League of North Mankato, in Caswell Park.

mankato-park-blog

The Mankato Downtown Kiwanis Club will complete its inclusive playground project on or around Kiwanis One Day in October 2018. Learn more about the project.