Nonprofit: Aspen is a great place for kids to play

By City of Aspen
September 9, 2011
The City of Aspen was named a “Playful City USA” by KaBOOM!, a national nonprofit dedicated to saving play. The designation, created in 2007 is meant to help local governments address the play deficit occurring in the country today by ensuring children have the time and space they need to play.

Play is important to healthy brain development and allows children to use their creativity while developing their imagination, dexterity and physical, cognitive and emotional strength, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Today’s children spend less time playing outside than any previous generations in part because only 20 percent live within walking distance of a park or playground according to KaBOOM! This lack of resource results in a play deficit among the nation’s youth.

The City of Aspen, along with its partners, has made a commitment to offering platforms for play and locations for kids to play and engage in physical activity. Aspen has developed a local action plan to increase quantity and quality of play in the city, which helped garner the award.

“Thanks to our great partnerships with Kids First, Pitkin County Health and Human Services, the Buddy Program, the Aspen Youth Center and a focus on healthy families in our community, with play being a significant component of that, we have achieved this wonderful recognition," City of Aspen Recreation Director Tim Anderson said.

KaBOOM! selected Aspen as an award winner for its outstanding dedication to play. As part of the city’s commitment to being a leader, it is developing a report called “Aspen’s Best Practices of Play” and it will be adopted by policy makers and community partners. The report will highlight the best practices that increase the physical, cognitive and emotional benefits of play and will be shared with other cities across the nation.

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