Here at Play N’ Learn’s Playground Superstores, we talk a lot about ways to keep your kids active. But what do you do if you don’t have a backyard or safe space where your kids can play?
In New York City, civic coalitions are doing an experiment to answer just that question. The idea is simple: close down a street for a few hours during a designated day and turn that street into a safe space for children to play. It’s called making a “pop-up playground,” and according to a New York Times article about the program, the results have been promising.
The sites of these pop-up playgrounds have been in low-income areas with high rates of obesity. Many of these areas have high crime rates and heavy traffic, so the streets are not usually the best place to play. Because of this, kids stay inside and watch TV and play video games instead of playing outside.
So far, the pop-up playgrounds have brought families to play outside for an average of one to two and a half hours. According to surveys conducted by event organizers, parents reported that they would have normally spent that time indoors.
At the pop-up playgrounds, there are activities for all ages of children, including yoga, running, tennis, and jump-rope. By focusing on athletics instead of toys, kids are encouraged to develop healthy habits that they can continue after the day is over. In fact, many of these play sites are located near existing playgrounds or farmers’ markets in order to promote the continuation of healthy choices.
By providing safe play space for kids, pop-up playgrounds help promote kids to choose to go outside and be active instead of stay inside and do sedentary activities instead. The hope is that this program will help to address the widespread problem of obesity in these areas, although the issue of obesity and inactivity is certainly not limited to New York City streets.
With events like pop-up playgrounds being met with such success, health administrators hope that lawmakers take notice and invest more effort into making local playgrounds safe and clean.
We hope that this program continues with great results. Between pop-up playgrounds, playborhood parties, and encouraging physical activity every day, we can help our kids develop habits to keep them healthy, strong, and happy!Tweet