This post is brought to you by Let’s Play, an initiative by Dr Pepper Snapple Group that provides kids and families with the tools, places and inspiration to make active play a daily priority by building and improving playgrounds and donating sports equipment to groups in need. All opinions are my own.
I had the very cool opportunity recently to head to Cincinnati to witness a community come together for a common cause – building a playground from nothing so the children of that community could have a safe place to explore, learn and grow.
If you’ve been following along, you know that I’m a Let’s Play Ambassador this year and that this playground build has been in the works for months! From the design team meetings, to the volunteer coordinating and everything else, it all finally came together and a playground was built.
It’s one thing to see it on a paper and to have notes about it, but when you get there and you see nearly 200 people working in almost 90 degree weather, it’s something special.
This playspace was designed to offer children a “treehouse” feel, and you can see it in the design and colors chosen. There’s many opportunities for them to swing, climb and slide. With any playground, the more opportunities to get their bodies moving and engaged, the better.
I couldn’t help but be a bit jealous of this community and their new play area. We have a park in our neighborhood that is frequently vandalized and trash is often left behind… why can’t my community come together to clean it up? We should! We should be jumping for joy that we have this large green space with huge trees, a playground and a basketball court, but yet we let it sit there and be trashed again and again. We should take pride in that space. We need to be reminded just how GOOD a playground can be. It’s a place where an afterschool snack can be enjoyed and all that pent-up energy can be expelled with running, jumping and climbing. It’s a place where our children can learn to play together, to share and to learn new games from each other.
What about your community? Do you have a playground that is underused because of its condition? Is there something you could do, like organize a neighborhood clean-up day to collect the trash? Consider the opportunities your children have and what you can do as an adult to encourage more play! If you want to make a difference in your community, apply for a playground construction grant through Let’s Play.
In Cincinnati, this playground will be so loved. It will be used as a treehouse, a castle, a fire station and more. It will be where someone gets their first scraped knee, where someone makes their first best friend. It will be a place where moms can connect off to the sidelines while their kids play together. It will be a space where families can gather for a birthday party, where classmates will stop after school until mom comes to pick them up. It will soon fill with the falling leaves of fall, and then a blanket of snow, only to come to life again in the spring and summer. It’s a welcome sign of youth for this Cincinnati neighborhood.
To find out more about Let’s Play and the playgrounds they build, visit their Get Involved page. For even more information about building playgrounds and why play matters, visit the KaBOOM! website. If you can, get involved. Clean-up a playground, organize a big play date at the park, or volunteer for a playground build every chance you get.
The entire Moments With Mandi family would like to extend a big THANK YOU to the following sponsors: Dr Pepper Snapple Group, KaBOOM!, Good Sports, Kroger, Cincinnati Recreation Commission and the beautiful Northside Community for all of their support in making this playground a reality!
In addition to the newly completed playground, Let’s Play partner Good Sports distributed 11,235 pieces of sports equipment worth $199,222 to several local organizations! In total, 134,100 kids will be impacted by the sports equipment donation. The sports equipment was sorted at the playground build and then delivered to the Cincinnati Recreation Commission, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Cincinnati, Happen, Inc., and Chase Elementary School. How insane!
We’ll be heading back to the playground soon with the kids to let them check out it! Be sure to follow along on social media – it’s going to look a lot different from the build day photos and live stream I shared!
For more ideas for activities that involve active play, visit LetsPlay.com.