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Mercer Island is KaBoom! 'Playful City' for fourth year
Mercer Island is among 151 cities across the country to be named as a "Playful City USA" this year. The national nonprofit organization KaBOOM! has recognized Mercer Island for the past four years for making children's outdoor play spaces a priority.
KaBOOM! is an organization that promotes healthy activity for children.
"Today's children spend less time playing outside than any previous generation in part because only 20 percent live within walking distance of a park or playground," said Recreation Superintendent Diane Mortenson. "This 'play deficit' can have profound consequences for kids physically as well as mentally and socially."
Play supports healthy brain development in children, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, and is an opportunity for them to be creative and develop their imagination, dexterity, and physical, cognitive and emotional strength.
Mercer Island has 11 playgrounds, 475 acres of parks and open space, more than 50 miles of marked hiking trails, and 30 developed and semi-developed parks. Recreation programs contributing to KaBOOM! recognition include the Adventure Playground and Fun Mobile, drop-in programs for children to experience imaginative play supporting healthy development.
Other Washington state cities recognized include Auburn, Kenmore and Longview.