Washington Redskins’ Donovan McNabb couldn’t help his team break a two-game losing streak this past Sunday, but that hasn’t stopped the star veteran quarterback from helping lives in the real world. McNabb recently teamed up with the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and KaBOOM!, a national nonprofit organization, to bring new play equipment to one of KIPP’s Charter Schools in Washington, D.C.

McNabb was also joined by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan as they unveiled the new Imagination Playground in a Box at the KIPP DC charter school’s Benning Road campus.

The Imagination Playground is a breakthrough play system designed by famous architect David Rockwell to encourage child-directed, unstructured free play. Complete with custom-designed blue foam blocks and other loose parts, and elements that encourage sand and water play, Imagination Playground in a Box allows children to constantly reconfigure their environment and design their own course of play.

“Play helps students become creative problem-solvers,” Duncan said. “This nation runs on bright ideas, and play is the best natural resource in a creative economy, and that kind of creative thinking is what Imagination Playground in a Box is all about.”

McNabb, who knows how important creative play is to his job, backed Duncan.

“Intelligent people use information to create and discover new things,” McNabb said, “and one of the best ways to make children intelligent is to encourage creative play.”

KIPP DC is one of 14 community organizations to receive new play equipment thanks to the Knight Foundation as part of a national effort to engage residents in getting involved in their communities.

“Play time challenges kids to think on their own,” KIPP CEO/CAO Susan Schaeffler said. “It helps them learn to be creative and think outside the box, how to work together, how there can be more than one answer, and how to engage their brains and really have fun, instead of just being entertained.”


Perry Green

AFRO Sports Editor