Unstructured outdoor play is essential for young children’s social, cognitive and physical development. Active play (without rules and instructions) can promote creativity, relieves stress and is a great way for to children have fun. Lots of free space outside promotes physical activity — encouraging young children to run, skip and jump! Playing with friends teaches how to share and take turns. Finally, what better way to learn about nature than to find a squiggly worm or allow a butterfly to land on your nose?
Physical activity is an important part of staying healthy. In our Healthy and Active Before 5 Action Plan, we encourage access and availability of safe places to play for all young children.
Healthy and Active Before 5 with the help of Kaboom! is mapping safe outdoor play spaces for Contra Costa families.
Did you know that Kaboom! has a Map of Play on their website? It allows each of us to enter information about our local playgrounds. This user-generated database list will soon grow to include all our local parks and play spaces. Enter a zip code or city and a map shows you a play space near you, along with helpful information about slides, restrooms, courts and even water fountains. (There’s a mobile phone app too. Playgrounds! uses your smart phone’s GPS or a zip code to locate playgrounds near you.)
HAB45 staff and volunteers are visiting local parks, taking pictures and asking parents and child care providers for their park “ratings.” We hope to have a handy brochure ready to distribute to families in child care, local clinics and community centers, for folks who might not have access to the internet.
You can do your part by encouraging outdoor play for your kids or clients. Next time you visit a park, take a picture and upload comments to the Kaboom! website. Need some tips? Download our Plan 2 Play Guidelines!