Nathan’s Famous and KaBOOM! brought a little piece of Coney Island to the students of Keysor Elementary School and the surrounding Kirkwood community, a suburb of St. Louis. The hot dog company and national non-profit honored the school with a night of carnival-like fun to launch Ready. Set. PLAY., a program that celebrates active play and the organizations that facilitate it for children.
Keysor Elementary was chosen after recently overhauling its playground and other outdoor space to better promote physical activity and inclusive play for children. The reconstruction project, dubbed “Project IDEA” by the school, was completed in 2013 with the support of a grant awarded by KaBOOM!.
The event held in the school’s gymnasium treated the school and its neighbors to the taste of Nathan’s Famous Premium Beef Franks as well as some authentic Coney Island fun with interactive games and activities such as a Zoltar Fortune Teller machine, mechanical pony ride, claw game with giveaways and a photo booth.
The event was the first event for Ready. Set. PLAY. which was created by Nathan’s Famous and KaBOOM! to celebrate play and the “playmakers” who are making play possible in communities around the country. The program will stage similar events in other locations, encouraging activities that promote active play as a part of healthy development of children.
“We are really proud of our partnership with KaBOOM! and to have the opportunity to create a program like Ready. Set. PLAY.” says Mike Paribello, senior director of marketing for the John Morrell Food Group, a subsidiary of Smithfield Foods and licensing partner of Nathan’s Famous. “We believe active play is important for children and their development and we hope that the interactive games and activities that are a part of the Nathan’s Famous mobile tour provide a fun way to play and be active.”
“The fundamentals of healthy, active lifestyles begin at home with our parents and in our communities,” says KaBOOM! CEO and founder Darell Hammond. “With support from Nathan’s Famous through Ready. Set. PLAY., we are able to bring play opportunities to communities across the nation and inspire families to participate and incorporate play with their everyday lives.”
There was a little work involved though for the students leading up to this event. For two weeks, students participated in a play journal assignment where they kept track of their play experiences. Additionally, they were invited to create a Public Service Announcement about the importance of play. Five students were chosen from their submissions and awarded tickets to a St. Louis Cardinals game and one of the five winners won the chance to go on the field during opening ceremonies of the game.
“We are honored to host this community event with KaBOOM! and Nathan’s Famous,” says Dr. Bryan Painter, principal, Keysor Elementary School. “We know that play is integral to learning, and their Ready. Set. PLAY. initiative aligns perfectly with Keysor’s commitment to fostering creativity and playful, innovative thinking in our students.”