Yes, the world has greatly changed since the U.S. park system was created in the 1930s, but the importance of parks and playgrounds in the lives of American children has never changed.
Today some might question the need for more or better parks and playgrounds, based on their belief that children prefer video games and other indoor activities. But a new report released by the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) tells us that nothing could be further from the truth. According to the 2016 report, an overwhelming number of Americans believe that parks play a vital role in the lives of their children, their communities and themselves. In fact, 7 in 10 Americans go to their local parks, and 4 in every 5 believe that our parks are worth investing in.
The report also states that despite digital transformation, demographic shifts, and change in the way both adults and children interact with each other, public support for local parks is at an all-time high.
The U.S. National Park Service sees further benefits of the national and local parks as well as children’s playgrounds. These outdoor assets are an important part of the America’s educational system, where children not only get to see and experience some of the things they learn in class but also pick up important social skills.
The NRPA report concludes that “besides the prevailing tight fiscal environment, Americans agree that local, state and national leaders need to dedicate financial resources to sustain and expand local park and other leisure facilities.”
So the next time someone offers resistance to your new or expanded playground plans, point them to this report and infographic, and remind them that the public’s passion for outdoor play is alive and well in America!