Plan a Play Day for Kids

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Andrew Howley, who deftly manages National Geographic’s homepage, gave me a shout to ask if I knew about KaBOOM! (exclamation point included) and their Play Day 2009 campaign. I didn’t, so he filled me in: KaBOOM! is a non-profit devoted to helping communities find resources to build outdoor play spaces for kids, and to encouraging families to get their kids outside—to playgrounds, parks, any place fun and safe—to play. Outdoor play helps address an increasingly rife problem for youth that the author Richard Louv has termed Nature Deficit Disorder.

KaBOOM! is encouraging folks (this would be, say, you and me) to plan and host a fun outdoor play event for kids between September 19th and September 27th, 2009, or to participate in one that someone else has organized. To help, they’ve created an online tool that lets people share and find Play Day events across the United States and Canada.

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I live in Northern Virginia near Washington, D.C., so checked Virginia listings and found all sorts of fun events, from concerts, star-gazing, and bird- and butterfly walks in Virginia state parks to community clean-ups, kayak trips, geocaching rallies, family fitness parties, and barbecues (a sort of antidote, perhaps, to the fitness parties).

If you know of something fun coming up for kids to do outdoors near where you live, share it here and on KaBOOM!’s website—and maybe while you’re at it learn how you can help create a new playground for the children in your community. Don’t neglect to join our own My Wonderful World campaign as well, to bring kids out for a BioBlitz if there’s one near you, and to share some of National Geographic’s own most excellent games, activities, and other resources for kids with the younger people in your life.

Photographs courtesy KaBOOM!