Whether they’re swinging across a playground or tearing around a track—for kids, daily exercise is best when it comes with a dose of fun. But today, studies show that American kids are playing less than ever—only one in four children gets 60 minutes of physical activity each day. As more of their time is spent in front of screens, obesity rates have tripled and behavioral and cognitive disorders are on the rise. So how to encourage kids to get out and play every day?
That’s the inspiration behind Target’s wellness partnership with KaBOOM!, a nonprofit that creates community spaces to play while inspiring kids and families to boost their physical activity. Target is investing up to $40 million this year with partner organizations like KaBOOM! across the country helping communities provide kids and families more choices to increase their physical activity and eat healthy where they live, learn, work and play.
Since we first teamed up earlier this year, Target and KaBOOM! are working to build 175 unique play spaces across the U.S., impacting more than 72,000 kids. Of those spaces, 29 will be full playgrounds, while others will be Imagination Playgrounds with elements to enhance existing spaces, like indoor tracks, gardens, fitness equipment and even Rigamajig building kits to help kids learn about science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
From start to finish, watch a playground come to life
So what does it take to bring one of these exciting new playgrounds to a community? It starts with some big ideas and a bit of innovation. During the concept phase, KaBOOM! holds a “Design Day” where community members, families and staff come together to share input on things from the size of playground to accessibility options. Kids get in on the action too, submitting their ideas and drawings of their dream playgrounds, including details like how many slides it should have and where the swings should go.
The teams from KaBOOM! take the brainstorm notes back to their network of partners and turn them into blueprints for the playground, designing the space and ordering supplies. Then on building day, a team of volunteers—including many of our talented team and community members—go to work, building the playground in a matter of hours. Don’t believe it? Check out this video to see a playground build in action.
We’re also a proud sponsor of KaBOOM!’s Play Everywhere Challenge, which empowers cities to turn everyday spaces into play areas. The program challenged applicants to submit their bright ideas for turning everyday spaces in their city into awesome places to play—even in unexpected places like bus stops, laundromats, grocery stores and alleyways. Meet the 2016 winners hereand read about the play spaces they dreamed up.