Mayor Barry, NCDC begin Play Everywhere project

Play Everywhere Challenge allows the city to activate inactive locations near Napier/Sudekum and Jefferson Street.

Play Everywhere Challenge allows the city to activate inactive locations near Napier/Sudekum and Jefferson Street.

The Office of Mayor Megan Barry and Nashville Civic Design Center (NCDC) are launching Nashville’s own Play Everywhere Challenge project, called The Nashville Soundbox, this week. The Nashville Soundbox repurposes a 20-foot shipping container and outfits the outside with whisper dish, large chimes, talking tubes and a ‘cyclophone’ that will be traveling to multiple locations in Davidson County.

“Kids need play to grow up healthy, resilient and ready for life. Research shows play is vital to healthy brain development and is pivotal to how kids learn problem-solving, conflict resolution and creativity,” said Mayor Barry. “Yet today, too many kids, especially those growing up in poverty, are missing out on play because of the time pressures put on working families and a lack of safe places to go. KaBOOM! expands opportunities for children to have a safe and fun place to go and engage positively with their peers.”

The Mayor’s Office and NCDC were awarded $15,000 from KaBOOM! out of a pool of more than 1,000 applications nationwide. Winners were announced in fall of 2016. KaBOOM!’s Play Everywhere Challenge supports outside-the-box ideas to make play easy, available, and fun for kids and families in cities across the country. KaBOOM! is a national non-profit dedicated to bringing balanced and active play into the daily lives of all children, particularly those growing up in poverty in America.

“It is fitting that the Mayor’s Office and Nashville Civic Design Center were able to design our project in a way that uses sound to activate kids and families to play together in Music City.” said Gary Gaston, executive director of the Nashville Civic Design Center.

The Play Everywhere Challenge, developed in collaboration with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Target, Playworld, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and National Endowment for the Arts, attracted an outpouring of creative ideas to spark kids’ imaginations and get their bodies moving.

“We were astonished at the number and quality of the applications we received,” said James Siegal, CEO of KaBOOM!. “To us, it shows a huge, untapped potential to reimagine cities with kids in mind, and boost their opportunity to get the play they need to thrive. And when kids thrive, cities thrive.”

The opening day for The Nashville Soundbox was April 14.

The Nashville Soundbox will be located in the ‘parklet’ at 90 Academy Place, at the end of the pedestrian bridge near Napier/Sudekum homes from April 14-May 14.

The Nashville Soundbox will be located at 1606 Jefferson St. from May 15-June 15.

To learn more about the Play Everywhere Challenge, including a gallery of ideas for what Play Everywhere could look like across the U.S., visit <>.

We’re thrilled at the possibility that Nashville’s kids have this fantastic new opportunity to learn and develop from play,” said Lonnell Matthews, director of the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhoods and Community Engagement. “We hope this will be just the beginning of a larger effort to make play a way of life for kids and families in our community.”