But it’s always nice when things are official, and so we’ll graciously accept the 29 “Playful City” designations that are being bestowed upon us.
KaBOOM!, the nonprofit group behind the Playful City program, focuses on increasing safe outdoor play opportunities for children across America. Their research shows that currently only 20 percent of children can easily reach a park or playground from their home. This contributes to the fact that today’s children are spending less time playing outdoors than any previous generation.
As such, Playful City U.S.A. communities are recognized for their efforts to increase play among children by becoming eligible for grants. These grants, sponsored by the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, can be for $15,000, $20,000, or $30,000.
Among the 29 Florida cities designated as a 2012 “Playful City” are Orlando, Palm Bay, Kissimmee, and Winter Park.
Winter Park was rewarded for their efforts to increase play at the city’s parks by updating the playgrounds at Phelps Park and Ward Park, as well as renovating the parking at Lake Island, Cady Way, and Phelps. Kissimmee, taking a suggestion from two teenagers who called on city leaders, built a brand-new skate park from the ground up last year.