KABOOM! is a non-profit organization in America, which has dedicatedly served the objective of building playgrounds and play spaces for children since its inception in 1966. It was founded with the objective of providing every kid, irrespective of his skin color and zip code, equal opportunity to play.
Ending Play Space inequity in Philadelphia
With the objective of ending play space inequality in Philadelphia, KABOOM! organized a city-wide competition to create playful learning spaces that would not only focus on providing play space but would also ensure overall children’s development and increased literacy rates.
What is the scope of the program?
The program named “Play everywhere Philly” was intended to find 16 groups in the community with the best ideas to make learning fun for children. On Oct 12, 2020, it announced the 16 winning groups have been awarded $1 million to create playful learning features and build interactive playful learning installations.
The installations should help children develop their literacy skills by increasing access to interactive playful learning installations in places like libraries, community centers, and even public plazas. All these locations will be called Play Everywhere: Philly.
These environments will help in quality learning, strengthen the caregiver-child interaction, and promote early language development. Playful learning makes free play spaces meant for children to discover and explore as well as guided play, which is a more objective base that would spark interaction. This would support learning and skill development as well.
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Why is playful learning important for children?
- Overall learning and development
Play is very important for every child’s development, especially in the early years. It is the best way to inculcate important skills into them. It helps in developing their language skills, emotions, creativity as well as social skills.
- Improves imagination
Playing teaches children to interact with each other, thus helping them in building friendships. They learn to express their feelings through physical play, storytelling, art, and other activities. This, in a way, helps in building their imagination.
- Makes them engaging
Playful learning makes learning fun. Children do not realize that they are learning something while engaging in their favorite games. That is why it motivates them to participate more as it is different from the traditional drill and practice method. With time, they can also come up with games and activities of their own.
- Helps in problem-solving
With playful learning, children develop critical thinking capabilities. They can analyze and shift through information to apply their use in different situations.
- Effective communication
Playing helps in developing speech and language skills along with listening skills. These skills are essential to be able to communicate effectively with others.
- Builds confidence
Playful learning helps in developing confidence in young children. As they start developing different life and social skills, their confidence level is also increased.
Let us learn more about the type of installations and projects approved by KABOOM! under this program:
- Belmont Alliance Civic Association will convert an empty lot into a play space with puzzle walls, walking trails, and fitness areas. Children will learn about numbers, alphabets, colors besides developing other math and spatial skills.
- The 10th Street Plaza will be converted into a play space with games and interactive learning murals by the Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation
- The Clay Studio will install two ceramic murals at the Cecil B. Moore and Kensington libraries. These murals will focus on art as well as literacy.
- An interactive treasure hunt by the name “Discovering Sharswood”. The puzzles and games in this section will focus more on topics like art history, civil rights, and a healthy lifestyle.
- Nationalities Service Center of Philadelphia will install a Book Nook, Computer Lab Lane, Alphabet Alley, Counting Court Marketplace, and Town Clock within the NSC.
- A play space will be installed in the Frankford Pause Park to educate kids about stormwater management and the importance of saving water. As they play and jump around in the water, they will simulate evaporation, condensation, and precipitation. This will help them have a better understanding of environmental science.
- A musical play space will be added, which will use boxes to enhance musical skills in kids through singing and creative movement activities. These boxes will be located outside of Laundromats and other high traffic areas around Philadelphia.
- A kid-sized traffic park will be built with the name “Lil' Philly Safety Village” to caregivers to teach their children about traffic rules and road safety.
- People for People, Inc. will design 5 installations including Spinning Spell, Wheeling Words, Serpentine Story, Audible Alphabet, and Letter Launch.
- A play space consisting of 32 curated science kits will be installed to inspire kids to explore different natural species of their neighborhood.
- A play space consisting of a play wall, outdoor classroom, rain garden will be installed alongside a "learning shed" at the FESPP managed park. The main focus will be to teach kids about science, sustainability, and animal lives.
- An interactive play walk to encourage walking, skipping, and running using creative objects.
- Some unique play stations will be built alongside the Delaware River including puzzles, plexiglass mazes, or painted "story stones. These will focus on building spatial skills, critical thinking, and literacy.
- A pop-up play kit will be built at the city's parks and recreation centers. These kits will include resources, books, musical instruments, loose-parts play, jump ropes, and balls of all kinds for a kid to involve in playful learning.
- A triangular empty lot will be converted into a park by the Philadelphia City Planning Commission
- The Puentes Community Health and Wellness Center will be renovated to include different interactive murals for learning.
This is a great move on the part of KABOOM! to end play space inequalities in Philadelphia. If you wish to do your part for the future of unprivileged children, you can do so by contributing through our website.
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