This week, The City of McFarland was selected as a winner in the Play Everywhere Challenge, a $1 million national competition that will award innovative ideas to make play easy, available, and fun for kids and families in cities across the U.S.
The Challenge is hosted by KaBOOM!, a national non-profit dedicated to bringing balanced and active play into the daily lives of all kids, particularly those growing up in poverty in America.
The City of McFarland created a unique plan to create a bus stop that will be interactive and provide another recreational and educational opportunity for the children of McFarland. The KaBoom! Bus Stop was selected as one of 50 winners out of a pool of more than 1,000 applications nationwide.
The Challenge, developed in collaboration with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Target, Playworld, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the National Endowment for the Arts, attracted an outpouring of creative ideas to spark kids’ imaginations and get their bodies moving. The City of McFarland’s idea came from a passion for getting kids more involved in physical activity, art and music.
The City of McFarland realizes that every experience can be learning opportunity for children so the City of McFarland sought input from children in McFarland on what they thought the ideal bus stop should be.
“Winners like the City of McFarland are at the vanguard of building kid-friendly cities that meet the needs of families and enable kids to thrive,” said James Siegal, CEO of KaBOOM!. “By integrating play into everyday spaces in such an innovative way, McFarland’s project is a great model to inspire other cities across the country to follow suit.”
Research shows play is vital to healthy brain development and is pivotal to how kids learn problem-solving, conflict resolution, and creativity--in other words, the skills they need to succeed as adults. Yet today, too many kids, especially those growing up in poverty, are missing out on opportunities for play because of families’ time pressures, the lure of screens, and a lack of safe places to go. Meanwhile, evidence shows missing out on play time puts kids at risk for challenges ranging from obesity to anxiety to trouble adjusting in school.