Outside Play: Dr Pepper Snapple, KaBoom, and Mom 2.0 Partner to Build Playground

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You may have heard that play is on the decline, that children these days are less active than those of previous generations. The Centers for Disease Controls reports that 62% of children aged 9-13 years do not participate in any organized physical activity afterschool and 23% do not engage in any free-time physical activity.1 Participation in physical activity declines as children age.2 They cite support from friends and family and safe and convenient access to play spaces as positive influences on physical activity involvement among youth.


That's why the people at Dr Pepper Snapple and at KaBoom, a national playground-building nonprofit, have formed a partnership, called Let's Play, to "help end this play deficit." I got up close and personal with both organizations this past weekend at the Mom 2 Summit in New Orleans.

Instead of having traditional panel discussions on Saturday afternoon of the conference, the Mom 2 Summit team organized a series of "Go!" activities to help their attendees experience New Orleans. While @TroyPattee, who had joined me at the conference, was on a Jazz Tour sponsored by PBS Kids, I was out in East New Orleans with the Dr Pepper Snapple and KaBoom teams and more than 50 conference attendees helping to build a playground. And it wasn't just a playground, it was an entire park complete with grow boxes, picnic tables, garbage areas, and more.

According to the Let's Play website, Dr Pepper Snapple launched Let’s Play to reinforce their commitment to fit and active lifestyles. "For our part," they say, "we want to be constructive participants in the battle against social issues like obesity, particularly in children. We believe such issues can only be solved through cooperation with everyone taking some share of responsibility and working together. Let’s Play is an important step in helping families achieve a balance when managing calories in and calories out."

The partnership announced on April 21st that it will award a variety of Let’s Play grants to help build new playgrounds, update existing playgrounds or keep playgrounds open longer. The grants are part a $15 million, three-year commitment to KaBOOM!, the national nonprofit that’s saving play by ensuring that every child has a great place to play within walking distance. Together through Let’s Play, DPS and KaBOOM! will build or fix up 2,000 playgrounds by the end of 2013, benefiting an estimated five million children across North America.

The first five Let’s Play grants to be awarded will go to the winners of the KaBOOM! “Promote Your Playground” video contest, an interactive competition that invites consumers to upload a short video showing why their community needs a playground. The top-10 video entries competing for five $15,000 Let’s Play grants are now available online here. Five of the finalists will be selected by a public vote to win a grant to be used for new playground equipment. The voting period opened online on the 21st and runs through Sunday, May 15.

“Through our partnership with Let’s Play, KaBOOM! is making huge strides in saving play across America,” said Darell Hammond, CEO and founder of KaBOOM!. “DPS (Doctor Pepper Snapple) has demonstrated an amazing show of support through this initiative. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the 15th anniversary of KaBOOM! than with the creation of so many great places to play.”

If you know of a neighborhood in your area that is in need of a playground, share this information or apply for a grant to help KaBoom meet its goal to build 2,000 playgrounds by 2013.

(Featured in Pictures: Dina Freeman and Julie Marsh.)

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