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Is there a site in your community where you'd like to see a Boundless Playground? This Boundless Playground in Wyoming is called "Frog Hollow" (a playground to be featured in the Oct. issue).

Win a Boundless Playground for Your Community

Hasbro, Inc. is sponsoring "PLAYSKOOL Win a BOUNDLESS Playground Essay Contest." One grand prize winner’s community will receive a Boundless Playground valued at approximately $300,000, donated by GameTime and Hasbro, including GameTime playground equipment and installation services, surfacing/subsurfacing work and materials, and site preparation.

The scoring criteria for the entry essays (500-750 words) are:

  • What a BOUNDLESS playground would mean to my community (40 points)
  • Why play that includes children of all abilities is important (30 points)
  • Description of the site for the playground (15 points)
  • Approval/support received from the owner of the property and community for the proposed playground (15 points)

Entries (postmarked by Nov. 30, 2006) are mailed to:
PLAYSKOOL Win a BOUNDLESS Playground Essay Contest
P.O. Box 11507
Bozeman, MT 59719-1507

For more info visit

Tender Baby Feet

Just last month the subject of this column was playground supervision, written by Arthur Mittelstaedt Jr., EdD. The agency that operates childcare centers in North Carolina's westernmost counties will be inspecting all their playgrounds after a two-and-a-half-year-old received second-degree burns on her feet from walking barefoot on black rubber safety mats exposed to the sun. The mats were in place because state law requires safety surfacing. The facility claimed the playground had adequate supervision, but that the child just slipped out off her sandals and headed for the mats before she could be stopped.

The girls' father said the sandals had multiple straps and were not easily taken off, and claimed the injury (burns that became swollen blisters) required more than a few seconds on hot mats. The father has hired a lawyer.

This is the first such reported incidence in the state, but the New York City Council last year heard a report about four injuries from hot mats at city parks.

Donna Thompson, director of the Iowa-based National Program for Playground Safety, said adults must test equipment and surfaces on hot days before allowing children on playgrounds, a sentiment shared by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. The CPSC reports incidents of children suffering second and third-degree burns to their hands, legs, and buttocks from contact with metal stairs, decks or slides. Young children, the CPSC says, are most at risk because they may remain in place when they contact a hot surface.

Sources: Haywood County News and CPSC Document #5036

Michigan Erects Accessible Playgrounds at Rest Stops

The Michigan DOT, along with Travel Michigan and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, has opened two universally-accessible play areas at the state's two most-visited Welcome Centers (highway rest stops), one in New Buffalo, the other in Monroe. Together, they welcome nearly three million visitors to Michigan each year.

The play areas, the first such in the U.S., reports Access to Recreation, cost about $200,000 each. Members of the Michigan Recreation and Park Association (MRPA) have volunteered to provide annual inspections of the playground equipment to ensure that safety standards are maintained.

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation supports statewide effort in Michigan to help communities build fully-integrated, universally accessible playgrounds and raise awareness about the benefits of children of all abilities playing together.

The Welcome Center playgrounds are a continuation of the foundation's Able to Play project, which helped build 19 access-to-all play areas throughout the state as part of its 75th anniversary.

According to the foundation, founded in1931, it established the first school in the U.S. to integrate regular and special education students in the classroom.

Source: Access to Recreation

Colella Is "Ahrens National Playground Safety Advocate of the Year"

Earl Colella

The National Program for Playground Safety's fifth annual Playground Safety Advocate of the Year award went to Earl Colella, an engineer for the Safety & Industrial Hygiene Environmental Health and Safety division of the Global Research and Development for Pfizer, Inc.

In Connecticut, Colella served as playground safety chairperson for New London County Safe Kids, conducting many training sessions for members of the playground safety committee, SAFE orientation trainings for playground supervisors in Montville Public Schools, and for parent-teacher associations in many towns in New London County and numerous elementary schools and Girl/Boy Scout Troops. He was also a resource for Schools and Public Works in New London County and assisted many new playground projects, including installing Boundless Playgrounds.

Look Before You Build

The playground equipment at Mackeben Elementary in Algonquin, Ill., is sinking. The problem is the playground was built on an easement meant for future sewer line construction. So when sewer construction work began in June and crews dug a 30-foot deep trench not far from the playground, the compaction of the playground soil was compromised. The village will regrade the land and replace asphalt, but the school district is responsible for moving the playground equipment, which will cost an estimated $54,000. At this point the play equipment has not been damaged.

Speaking of All-Access Playground

The Idaho Falls Kiwanis Club on July 27 donated $34,000 to help built the all-access playground scheduled for Tautphaus Park, which will be the only playground of its kind within 250 miles.

The Kiwanis Club raised the money by selling the Greater Idaho Falls board game and expects to raise another $15,000-$20,000 for the playground.

Source: KPVI/DT, Idaho

Out with the Old ...

Wood play structures have their place, but damaged wood supports at the West Broad Street School cannot be replaced and the playground will be dismantled.

Stonington, Rhode Island, like many communities, needs to update playground equipment. The West Broad Street School has wooden play equipment, however, the manufacturer of the 11-year-old wooden playground no longer makes replacement parts for the wooden uprights that need repair. The equipment problems were found during an inspection after the school year.

The diagnosis is the playground is beyond repair. Wooden supports could be fashioned, of course, but for liability reasons this can't be done.

The playground is closed, but the community and board of education feel it's important the school have a playground. Playground equipment at local schools has generally been donated by the local parent-teacher organization (PTO). The cost of a new playground is really beyond the means of the PTO, which usually raises about $15,000 per year but only has a $2,000 balance. It will take a community-wide initiative to build a new playground (see "Playground Donations Filched").

Location, Location, Location

The mantra in real estate is location, location, location. Playground location is also fairly important. The Alabama State Health Planning and Development Agency's Certificate of Need Board approved in January a treatment center for opiate addicts in Fort Payne. However, in July the board approved the location--less than 50 feet from a church-sponsored children's playground. Not surprisingly, letters of opposition are coming in.

Playground Donations Filched

The funds for refurbishing and building new playgrounds for communities across the country is not easy to come by. Many communities rely on donations, so it's a bit disconcerting when the executive director (now former) of the West Jordan, Utah playground project steals $27,000 in playground donations.

Robert Leroy Dalley, 32, has pleaded guilty to the theft. While he may face prison time, his defense attorney indicated everyone involved is more interested in seeking restitution.

And Finally...

Cat Steven's song "Where Do the Children Play" comes to mind here. A kindergarten playground in a southern Israeli town was hit by a rocket launched from the Gaza Strip on July 28. Fortunately, none of the children playing were killed, but two received shrapnel wounds. File this under "Insanity of War."

Source: CBC News

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December 6, 2019, 1:06 pm PDT

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