Building play spaces to support community healing

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Earlier this year, we became KaBOOM!’s Partner in Play. That means we’re their primary supplier of commercial playground equipment, and we partner with them to build playspaces in communities in need across the United States, Canada and Mexico. And this summer, building playspaces is exactly what we’ve been doing. Together with KaBOOM!, we completed more than 30 playground builds during the months of June and July, and we’re on target to complete 13 more before August is over.

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It’s more than just the numbers. The playspaces that KaBOOM! builds help ensure that all kids have great, safe places to play. In fact, a single build in June–at the Abbott House in Irvington, N.Y.–impacted more than 500 kids! Abbott House is an organization that supports children in foster care, unaccompanied immigrant children, and other vulnerable populations while providing a place for healing. And the new playground is sure to deliver an additional source of restoration needed kids and their families.

Held during Morgan Stanley’s annual Global Volunteer Month, Morgan Stanley employees withstood the blistering heat to help transform a 50-year-old rundown and unsafe playground into a brightly-colored play space with slides, climbers and playground spinners. They were joined by enthusiastic Abbott House staff and volunteers who embraced the opportunity to transform the space. At the end of the day, the playground space was complete. Volunteers stood silent, many with tears in their eyes, as a group of children, recently transported to Abbott House, thanked them for their hard work.

To learn why play matters for all kids, visit KaBOOM! and join the conversation on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram with #playmatters and #PLAYceforKids. Get more details about our partnership with KaBOOM!

Contribute to children’s development with well-designed playgrounds

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Child development experts tell us that what looks like mere child’s play is preparation for a successful adult life–as vital as learning to walk and talk. But few studies have examined patterns of play on specific playground equipment to assess how these play spaces might shape children’s development. To find out, we commissioned an observational study in partnership with the University of Minnesota Institute of Child Development.

Children demonstrated key developmental skills in a variety of ways, with behaviors often linked to specific types of equipment. For example, children’s gross motor play—seen on swings, slides, overhead events and climbers—may contribute to physical development. Imaginative play has been linked to language development, social competence and self-regulation. Even waiting in line requires children to take turns and consider others’ needs. To request a complete copy of the research whitepaper, go to playlsi.com/whitepapers.

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Our observations showed that well-designed play spaces contribute to the development of children. By helping them learn and practice key life skills, great playgrounds help children grow into healthy, well-adjusted adults. Watch our video below that brings the WHY of what we do to life.

Invigorated because of play

We were proud to offer the Nebraska Recreation & Parks Association (NeRPA) a Speaker Scholarship for the 2017 State Conference to support its members’ professional development. Today, we’re happy to have Amanda English, recreation supervisor for City of Omaha Parks & Recreation, as our guest blogger sharing how she’s #shapedbyplay.

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.