This sign has been erected in the city of Lanesboro in honor of its designation as a “Playful City USA.”
This sign has been erected in the city of Lanesboro in honor of its designation as a “Playful City USA.”
Today's children spend less time playing outside than any previous generation, but 213 cities and towns across the United State, including Lanesboro, earned recognition from national non-profit KaBOOM! The organization has named Lanesboro as a 2012 Playful City USA community for its efforts to increase play opportunities for children.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, play is critical to healthy brain development. It allows children to use their creativity while simultaneously developing imagination, dexterity and physical, cognitive and emotional strength. Yet today's children spend less time playing outside than any previous generation in part because only one-in-five live within walking distance of a park or playground. The resulting play deficit is having profound consequences for kids physically, socially and academically.

Presented by The Humana Foundation, Playful City USA is a national program advocating for local policies that increase play opportunities for children and is a key platform in combating the play deficit.

KaBOOM!, the national non-profit organization dedicated to saving play, created Playful City USA in 2007 to help local governments address the play deficit and it is through mayors, city council members, parks and recreation departments, school districts and community leaders that the program succeeds in benefiting children.

"We are very excited to be named a Playful City USA!" said Bobbie Vickerman, Lanesboro's city administrator. "Many people work very hard to make Lanesboro a great place to play and this designation is a direct result of their hard work and commitment to the community."

Playful City USA communities are making a commitment to play and physical activity by developing unique local action plans to increase the quantity and quality of play in their community.

"Some of the most innovative concepts and cost-effective programs are being developed in Playful City USA communities," says Darell Hammond, founder and CEO of KaBOOM! "Cities like Lanesboro are key allies in the fight to combat the play deficit and serve as outstanding role models for government and community leaders across the country."

Each of the 2012 Playful City USA communities demonstrated creative commitments to addressing the play deficit. Playful City USA celebrates and highlights these unique initiatives developed by communities across the country. A primary goal of Playful City USA is to encourage cities and towns to share ideas, concepts and programs in an effort to increase play opportunities for children.

KaBOOM! selected Lanesboro for its outstanding dedication to play. Lanesboro, the local school and other non-profits come together to improve the playground and implement new programs to ensure that future improvements continue, while the city's park board remains active throughout the year in engaging citizens.