In honoring Lakewood, the national non-profit organization KaBoom!, which selects the winning cities, took into account Lakewood’s regular upgrading of its parks and play areas, its free sports programs for youth and its free after-school programs at parks.
In the past year, Lakewood added new playgrounds to Bolivar Park (including a 75-foot zip line), Del Valle Park (with an airplane-theme playground) and Rynerson Park (with an innovative, side-by-side adult-child fitness and play area).
Lakewood was one of only 31 cities in California and 258 cities nationwide to receive the Playful City USA designation on May 17. The awards promote children’s recreation and the development of more places for children to play.
“We are thrilled to recognize Lakewood for putting kids first,” said KaBOOM! CEO James Siegal. “The well-being of our communities starts with the well-being of our kids, and play is critical for them to thrive. It is our collective responsibility to ensure that all kids get a childhood filled with play.”
“It’s great to be named Playful City USA again,” said Mayor Diane DuBois. “Lakewood is a wonderful place to live and work…and be playful. At the heart of our city are safe places for children to have fun, including 10 parks and 19 playgrounds. Since the city’s founding in 1954, Lakewood hasn’t wavered from its commitment to recreation.”
How Play is Vital for Kids’ Development
--information provided by KaBoom!--
• Physical: Play builds strong muscles and healthy bodies.
• Cognitive and creative: Play is vital to brain development. Play is how kids learn problem-solving, conflict resolution and creativity – in other words, the skills they need to succeed as adults.
• Social and emotional: Play is how kids make friends and build strong bonds with the caring adults in their lives.
• The best type of play for kids…is all types of play. All kids need balanced and active play every day to thrive.