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We are losing the central gathering spaces in our neighborhoods Children play in insular groups in backyards surrounded by privacy fences We literally create physical barriers that prevent kids from coming together to play spontaneously All those hours of free play time that most adults today enjoyed when they were were kids are long gone, replaced by soccer practice and music lessons Participation in things like soccer and flag football and Little League has doubled in the past few dec We are losing the central gathering spaces in our neighborhoods Children play in insular groups in backyards surrounded by privacy fences We literally create physical barriers that prevent kids from coming together to play spontaneously All those hours of free play time that most adults today enjoyed when they were were kids are long gone, replaced by soccer practice and music lessons Participation in things like soccer and flag football and Little League has doubled in the past few decades Children end up with an unhealthy reliance on adults, who direct every action of their lives, including resolving the sort of playground issues kids used to handle on their own Darell Hamond, How One Man Built a Movement to Save Play My 22 year old daughter Jenny and I were sharing lunch when she observed These kids today actually have iPads When I was a kid, the best thing we had was a Nintendo Gameboy I smiled and said Honey, when I was a kid, we played with spoons My grandma gave me a spoon and told me to go play in the dirt on the side of her house My daughter thought I was joking But I explained how Grandma said I could use that spoon to dig my way to China, how I dug with a spoon and had a fantastic time using my imagination Just playing.Fast forward several months to a meeting with our friends at the Grand Rapids Children s Museum, who are leading a regional effort to champion the value of play Numerous studies show free play boosts creativity, imagination, social skills, productivity and a host of other valuable gifts.Unfortunately, the number of hours of free play has dropped drastically in recent yearskids play video games instead of going outside andhours of organized team sports and adult supervised play dates have also sent free play hours down as childhood obesity has risen.When I was in grad school at the University of Michigan, Professor Larry Rowley showed us an incredible Atlantic article asking Is Google Making us stupid The ability to find everything we want to know by simple search, it noted was robbing us of a lot of learning skills A huge tool that counters the downside of the Internt and feeds learning free play Yet recess periods are being cut at many schools.Darell Hammond, the founder of Kaboom, the national nonprofit that builds playgrounds nationwide, asks If we don t let our kids play, who will be the next Steve Jobs Hammond s book, Kaboom How One Man Built a Movement to Save Play outlines the issue and its consequences very well Hammond is part of the movement for boosting free play and will keynote the Grand Rapids Children s Museum s Symposium on Play March 1 Businesses, education leaders and other community leaders are becoming part of the effort to boost interest in free play.The museum is also spurring play among adults with its Corporate Recess program to teach teams the value of free play toward spurring innovation, creativity and team building in the work place.How Change Conversations move the needle the Grand Rapids Children s Museum s fantastic idea becoming the state s leading champion of play reminded me of my earlier spoon discussion The two ideas melded into something new with a pro play campaign that now asks questions like What can you do with a spoon The takeaway if you can come up with imaginative things to do with a simple every day item like a spoon, just think what other innovative ideas you or your workers could develop, invent or create.Or as your mom or grandma might have said OK, OK Now just go outside and play An inspiring true story, this book covers Darell Hammond s journey thus far, from a rough start in life to his current efforts to save play in America Through years of hard work and dedication, Darell and his organization have made a huge impact on 2,000 communities across the country Darell s story proves that one person can make a difference, and that a group of caring and dedicated people both at KaBOOM and the communities they partner with can truly make this world a better place A ver An inspiring true story, this book covers Darell Hammond s journey thus far, from a rough start in life to his current efforts to save play in America Through years of hard work and dedication, Darell and his organization have made a huge impact on 2,000 communities across the country Darell s story proves that one person can make a difference, and that a group of caring and dedicated people both at KaBOOM and the communities they partner with can truly make this world a better place A very enjoyable read and an uplifting story, I highly recommend this book to readers of all ages I read this book because I was a volunteer at a Kaboom playground build in Champaign, IL I found that experience to be very fun and rewarding, to see the playground go up in the span of just a few hours, so I was intrigued by the book Overall, I thought it was goodalthough I do have a few critiques.First, the good I think that the information and business model mission of Kaboom are really great, and so for that I found the book quite fascinating It was cool to read about not only the s I read this book because I was a volunteer at a Kaboom playground build in Champaign, IL I found that experience to be very fun and rewarding, to see the playground go up in the span of just a few hours, so I was intrigued by the book Overall, I thought it was goodalthough I do have a few critiques.First, the good I think that the information and business model mission of Kaboom are really great, and so for that I found the book quite fascinating It was cool to read about not only the successes, but also the challenges that the author and creator of kaboom faced, showing the realness of starting a nonprofit More than anything, I love his determination that what Kaboom does is to focus on helping the community realize their own strength and resources, so that they can continue to transform the worlds they live in It is so heartwarming to know that there are dedicated people like that out there, and to see his positivity and determination shine through all Also, Hammond was deeply inspired by his time with City Year, and so considering that I am now serving with the same organization I was intrigued by that aspect.Now, for the critique Number one, Hammond isn t the best writer in the world, and so after getting about halfway through, sometimes I felt like I was being fed the same stuff, over and overso it was a bit dry and difficult towards the end, but not terrible after all, I still finished the book and give it 4 5 stars If you are interested in the organization and content, great If you are looking to be struck speechless by elegant proselook elsewhere.Secondly and this isof a personal critique against an attitude rather than any sort of attack on the book itself I found myself not quite in line with what he was saying sometimes For example, he claims that Kaboom works to build playgrounds inimpoverished communities where there is a lack of playspaces Thinking about the build I was a part of in Champaign yes, Champaign has low income areas and has many of the same problems as even larger urban areas, but that phrase impoverished carries a sense of sympathy rather than empathy I m not going to go into a whole tirade about this, because people who may read this probably just want a review, but anyways, I think that he could have framed certain things in a better light although I do admire his desire to help communities realize their own potential instead of just coming in, giving a playground, and leaving So I think his greater message trumps my argument in the end, but still Andjust as a note, he claims that they like to build playgrounds in places where there aren t safe playspaceswell this one we built was right across from a school, which already had a seemingly public playground Hmm.Overall, though, if you are looking to be inspired by the power of an individual, and to renew your faith in humanity, read this book About the time Darell was starting Kaboom, I was teaching in Balti City At that time, recess was formally discouraged as instructional time was most critical for children 2 3 years behind grade level Additionally, the school I taught at had no playground equipment a grassy area, but zero equipment I thought this was an atrocity for me, childhood play Needless to say, this book spoke to me on so many levels first and foremost for the need for safe, creative play spaces accessibl About the time Darell was starting Kaboom, I was teaching in Balti City At that time, recess was formally discouraged as instructional time was most critical for children 2 3 years behind grade level Additionally, the school I taught at had no playground equipment a grassy area, but zero equipment I thought this was an atrocity for me, childhood play Needless to say, this book spoke to me on so many levels first and foremost for the need for safe, creative play spaces accessible to all children Every child deserves that Yet, I also walked away from this book believing that the very well being of our country is dependent on providing time and space for play The ability for individuals to innovate and to be entrepreneurial is founded in this sacred time and space for children to create, to brainstorm, to socialize, and to work together Really interesting book overall, don t regret reading it Anyone interested in advocating a cause really should dig into this just to see how the organization ended up scaling up and survived the earlier years They really ended up running itlike a business to ensure that it was going to survive, which some people have ideological issues with. KaBOOM is a great organization, and the philosophy behind it is common sense and liberating While Hammond comes off a little pushy on occasion, you can t fault him for doing a lot of good, and for laying out a mindset that encourages children not just to be children, but fully functional human beings. A good organizational history with some good advice for communities trying to createspaces for unstructured play Brings in the work of many other groups and individuals, although at times it starts to feel like name dropping It didn t pull in as much research as I would have hoped but does refer to a few other resources for the academic side of this work. *Download ↾ KaBOOM!: One Entrepreneur's Quest to Build Community & SAVE PLAY! ⇜ KaBOOMis the powerful, uplifting journey of a man who grew up in a group home with his seven brothers and sisters and went on to build a world class nonprofit that harnesses the power of community to improve the lives of children Great exploration of community based approaches to solving important societal issues Darell Hammond is inspirational and KABOOM Has set an example for how innovative ideas can scale and create meaningful change. I was very interested as my daughter works for Kaboom It s an interesting story if not a literary masterpiece Honestly, for most people a magazine article would probably be enough.