27 Feb 16

The Power of Play


“We know when children have a place to play they live healthier, happier lives.” (Darell Hammond)

While scrolling through my newsfeed yesterday, something I typically do fairly mindlessly, I was struck by the above quote from Darell Hammond.  Not to be confused with the comedian Darell Hammond, from Saturday Night Live, Mr. Hammond is an active philanthropist and chief executive officer of the non-profit organization KaBOOM!.  Being that I had never heard of this organization before, I immediately Googled it, and was so inspired to see that their main goal is to help communities build outdoor playgrounds for children where safe and active play is not as accessible.

Reading Mr. Hammond’s bio I was even more inspired, as an entrepreneur myself, to see that he began KaBOOM! in his Washington DC apartment at just 24 years old. In 2011 he made the Forbes list of the Top 30 Social Entrepreneurs. Over the years I have found myself looking up to a number of successful entrepreneurs. If I’m being totally honest, I’ve never missed an episode of Shark Tank, and I’ve found myself in awe of the clever inventions, cutting edge products, and advanced technologies that I’ve seen pitched. However, there’s always an object, a tangible, something to be bought and sold.

The success of the KaBOOM! organization, where their mission is to highlight the tremendous societal impact that play can have, is  living proof that shiny objects aren’t always the best investment for the future.

As an early childhood educator I have always believed wholeheartedly in the power of play. At Learn’ique we believe in the unique power of learning, and we know that the best way for a young child to learn is through play. The creation of Learn’ique Design-to-Learn was in direct response to, what I perceived to be, the decline of quality play-time for children within the home.  Our mission is to create livable, learnable spaces that will inspire children to be creative, work together, problem solve and develop the necessary skills required to become productive members of society.

While I may never get my shot to face off with Mark Cuban in the Shark Tank, or gross 3 million dollars in sales, I believe that the impact we’re making on the families we reach is a priceless commodity. Hats off to you Mr. Hammond, and to the entire KaBOOM! organization for the meaningful contributions that you are making to the world. Thank you for adding inspiration to my efforts, and for continuing to bring the importance of play to the forefront.

To purchase Darell Hammond’s inspiring story: KaBOOM!: A Movement to Save Play.

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