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Written by:  Odile Fredericks
Date: May 6, 2012

If you live in Raleigh or Durham, you won't be surprised to learn that both cities this year were deemed among 213 Playful City USA communities. Parents in the Triangle do love to take our kids to play, and we have a wonderful pick of parks, greenway trails and recreational activities.

KaBOOM!, a national non-profit organization, created the Playful City USA award in 2007 to help local governments across the U.S. address what it sees as a play deficit among children. The organization was founded by social entrepreneur Darell Hammond to carry out his dream for every child in the U.S. to have a great place to play within walking distance. Since then, KaBOOM! has mapped more than 85,000 places to play and built more than 2,000 playgrounds. The group advocates for play policies in cities across the U.S. and provides communities with online tools to take action to support play.

KaBOOM! selected Raleigh and  Durham for the Playful City USA award for demonstrated creative commitments to addressing the play deficit. Durham has resurfaced 18 playgrounds, opened a new park (Bethesda Park), two playgrounds (Walltown Park and Old Chapel Hill Road Park), and a major new trail (Third Fork Creek Trail). The city also renovated two playgrounds (Garrett Road Park and Lyon Park). Raleigh is involved in the PlaySmart program, a mobile educational safety program for children. Play equipment, including mock city environments, obstacle courses and play houses, are taken to 11 community centers around the city to reach children in a variety of neighborhoods.

Once taken for granted, play has been shown as key to children's social, emotional, cognitive and physical well-bring. Play helps kids develop resiliency as they learn to cooperate, overcome challenges, and negotiate with others and allows them to be creative, according to the a clinical report of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Lucky for us, finding places to play and things to do with kids is easy in the Triangle. Any day of the week, you can find kids activities, like nature programs at local parks, in our Daily Calendar. Browse our Things to Do pages for festivals, like Artsplosure and BrickMagic LEGO, that promote art and creativity. Each year, we report back to you our readers' Family Favorite places to move and be active and their picks for best places for children's activities in the Triangle.



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