I knew about KaBOOM! as the folks who come in and help people build new playgrounds, but now they're doing something a little different. They want people to submit info about playspaces in their neighborhoods -- descriptions, ratings, and photographs -- which they're mashing with Google Maps, so that wherever you are, you can search for a playspace* to visit.
I'm doing this as part of a MomCentral blog tour, but I really do think it's a great idea. As I've written before, there's a lot that goes into a successful playground, and a lot of the factors that go into it won't ever show up on a city's website. So being able to tap into real people's experiences can make a big difference. Some of the parenting bulletin boards capture some of this info, but they're not linked to maps. Oh, and you can win prizes by entering new playspaces, and Julianne Hough is donating $1 per playspace to JumpStart. They're trying to get 100,000 sites identified in 100 days.
I'm on the late side posting this because I wanted to include photos of our local playground, but I haven't gotten out with my camera yet. It's the playground at Mason District Park, and they just redid it this fall. They've got some great equipment now, including a climbing volcano and drums. And there's some cute details, like dinosaur "bones" molded into the underside of the playstructure. And there's a pond nearby where you can see turtles and fish. The only negative -- no coffee.
*"A playspace can be a field, skatepark, horseshoe pit, roller hockey rink, disc-golf course, playground, lake, dog park, community center, basketball court or ice rink - any public place where anyone can engage in unstructured play either for free or for a nominal fee."