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PlayTalk

Play Moves Us in so many ways and we want to share our passion with you! From industry news and trends to Burke sales and products, PlayTalk brings important information right to you.

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    Combat “Boredom” Outside

    Combat “Boredom” Outside

    How fitting is it that National Anti-Boredom Month is the same month as Parks & Recreation Month!? We think it’s on point! Parks and recreation spaces are the perfect way to combat boredom while spending time outdoors moving, socializing and playing! Our top five ideas of fun things to do outdoors will help get kids, families and communities having fun together. Who has time to be bored anyway? Take a picture outing! Not only will this flex your creative muscle, but it encourages movement and helps us really see what’s around us. Use phones or disposable cameras for a fun time for all ages and abilities. Exercise! There are so many ways to exercise outdoors. Run, bike, hike or use a local outdoor fitness space to get your daily exercise. ELEVATE® Fitness Course is a great way to involve people of all ages and fitness levels in a workout. With three different levels of challenge, people from fitness beginner to fitness mature can get their move on. Get on or in the water! When it’s hot outside, the water can feel so ...

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    Rise Up for Parks and Recreation

    Rise Up for Parks and Recreation

    July is Park and Recreation Month and a time to celebrate and support our parks and recreation spaces! There are so many reasons these places are important to us and to our communities…here are our Top Five Reasons We Rise Up for Parks and Recreation! Parks get people moving. We love movement and so do our bodies! Whether it’s a swinging adventure, a ride on a trail or climbing to the top of a tower or a tree, research shows that the more parks there are in a community, the more people exercise. Building new parks and playgrounds and updating existing ones is a great and proven way to get and keep people exercising. The ROI is strong! It’s true, parks and recreation spaces are great for communities, but do we know how great?! Research shows that spending $20 or more per resident on parks and recreation has incredible community benefits including lower obesity rates, better air quality, higher property values and decreased unemployment. Parks improve mental health. People living closer to parks and greenspaces report better mental health and have fewer ...

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    Family Health and Fitness Day 2022

    Family Health and Fitness Day 2022

    Movement and fitness are so important and parks, playgrounds, recreation and outdoor fitness spaces are the perfect places to move. Getting everyone moving is crucial to the physical and mental wellbeing of the community and gives us healthy ways to connect, engage and play together. In our home community of Fond du Lac, WI, we’re celebrating Family Health and Fitness Day on Saturday, June 11 at Walleye Weekend – a local festival held every June in the beautiful Lakeside Park! Some of the Burke “family” is taking on the five-mile run and we’re sponsoring a scavenger hunt that provides outdoor enjoyment for the entire family. The Burke playgrounds and the ALL-NEW MOVMNT™ provide a place for children and families to find movement and fitness that is also playful and FUN. MOVMNT is as the name implies – a way everyone to compete with each other or themselves on this outdoor electronic game that you can only play by moving and using your agility. The advantages of movement and time spent outdoors are endless and include a variety of benefits from increased ...

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    Global Employee Health and Fitness Month

    Global Employee Health and Fitness Month

    Movement positively contributes to the physical and mental health of communities. Our places of work are often where we spend the most time and they are a huge part of our community. As we grow older, we tend to lose ourselves in our work routines and a consistent exercise can sometimes take a backseat. Global Employee Health and Fitness Month was launched in 1989 by the National Association for Health and Fitness to help employers and employees create a healthier lifestyle. One of these projects includes the Global Employee Health and Fitness Month — an award-winning worksite health promotion program. This lack of activity doesn’t just affect your health. It can have a direct impact on your work performance and engagement. According to studies from the American College of Sports Medicine and the Journal of Workplace Health Management: 60% of employees said their time management skills, mental performance and ability to meet deadlines improved on days they exercised 27% of employees reported higher levels of “dealing calmly with stress” on days they exercised 41% of employees reported higher rates of “feeling motivated to ...

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    Mental Health and Movement

    Mental Health and Movement

    May is Mental Health Awareness Month and to mark this important month, we want to talk about mental health and how exercising – and exercising with a community – can positively impact well-being. There isn’t one answer or one way for everyone but study after study shows that regular movement and exercise helps us feel better both physically and mentally. This doesn’t mean we have to run marathons (although you can!), it just means that if we replaced 15 minutes of sitting with 15 minutes of running (high intensity activity) or an hour of walking (low intensity activity), we could reduce our odds of becoming depressed by 26%. This is all according to a study done by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. And the good news is “exercise” can be something fun like doing an obstacle course, playing with our children at a park or playground or walking or running on a trail. One might ask why exercise is one way to prevent and treat depression. Exercise promotes changes in the brain that include neural growth and ...

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    BCI Burke Cooperative Contract Through OMNIA® Partners Renewed

    BCI Burke Cooperative Contract Through OMNIA® Partners Renewed

    Fond du Lac, Wis – BCI Burke, a leader in the play, playground, recreation and outdoor fitness industry, and OMNIA Partners, the largest and most experienced organization in public sector procurement, extended their contract for another three-year period. This competitively solicited and publicly awarded cooperative contract through Region 4 ESC, gives participants of OMNIA Partners access to BCI Burke products and services. “This cooperative contract will deliver value for our participating agencies seeking to create outdoor recreation spaces for their communities,” said John Lander, Executive Vice President of Sales at OMNIA Partners. “Burke is a leader in the industry, and we’re excited to have them as part of our offering.” Cooperative purchasing allows agencies to take advantage of contracts that are already publicly solicitated and awarded by another public agency. This is made possible through the OMNIA Partners lead agency model. “Our experience and leadership in the recreation industry helped us earn the OMNIA Partners contract for the next three years and we’re excited to partner with them to bring the best in play to communities throughout the United States,” said Michael Phelan, ...

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    Your Partner in Playground Safety

    Your Partner in Playground Safety

    This week, we recognize National Playground Safety Week as a time to focus on the outdoor environments where our children play! Creating safer play environments helps everyone gain the benefits from playing outdoors and is a top priority for us! From age-appropriate signage, products and playgrounds designs and rigorous safety certifications to a FREE Burke maintenance kit and playground safety kit from our partners at National Program for Playground Safety (NPPS), we’re proud to be your partner in playground safety! Learn more about ways we are creating safer play environments and celebrate Playground Safety Week by being on the lookout at your local playground(s). Safer play is Play That Moves Us!

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    Designing Spaces for Communities – The Importance of Landscape Architects

    Designing Spaces for Communities – The Importance of Landscape Architects

    April is World Landscape Architecture Month (WLAM) – a month-long international celebration of landscape architecture! Designed public and private spaces impact people and communities every day and provide places to connect, develop, play, reflect, learn, gather and grow. This year’s theme is “Growing Together,” a fitting way to describe how people grow together as communities, as individuals and with nature while engaging in and with these outdoor places. Think about the last time you were outside – did you go to a park? Use a trail? Visit an outdoor garden, walk through a pedestrian plaza or eat lunch in a picnic area? How did it make you feel? All of these places – and more – are outdoor areas meant to connect communities to each other and each of us to ourselves. We need more of these important areas so everyone of all ages, backgrounds, colors and abilities can come together and reap the benefits of time spent outside. In an effort to bring attention to these incredible places, we’re excited to highlight one of our favorite projects for this year’s ...

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    World Health Day – Play for Your Health!

    World Health Day – Play for Your Health!

    Play is fun, developmentally rich AND it’s HEALTHY! On World Health Day let’s talk about a couple health benefits of play! Play keeps kids and families active and moving and helps them have fun while playing! Climbing, sliding, swinging, jumping and running are all great ways for kids to get the 60 minutes per day of movement needed. A well-designed playspace offers these and more activities for children of all levels and abilities. Outdoor play brings people, well, outdoors! And being outdoors has incredible benefits – lower blood pressure, better mental health outcomes, lower obesity and more! Communities as a whole are happier and healthier with places to gather for socialization and movement. The Aspen Institute reports higher home values, better walking and biking scores, less smoking and better air quality in areas that spend at least $20/resident on outdoors spaces! Returns for the whole community! Intergenerational engagement improves language in children and helps everyone feel like part of the community. One of the most fun and exciting – and healthy – ways to play with all ages of community members is on ...

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    MOVMNT Brings Movement to Communities

    MOVMNT Brings Movement to Communities

    Fond du Lac, WI – MOVMNT™ brings movement for people of all ages and abilities and creates an atmosphere of competition, fun and engagement. Powered by people, MOVMNT doesn’t require electrical or batteries and allows everyone to be in control of their play experience. Studies show that active communities do better. Whether it’s higher graduation and lower obesity rates or better air quality and higher home values, having public greenspaces within your community helps to improve quality of life. For communities seeking intergenerational engagement, MOVMNT is the perfect answer. It brings people together to play an active game that stimulates both mental and physical development. With two options for MOVMNT – MOVMNT Inclusive and MOVMNT Xtreme – the MOVMNT collection of products provides play for all abilities. MOVMNT Inclusive is perfect for one or two players and is designed so a user with a mobility device can participate fully in the play experience. MOVMNT Xtreme provides an active play experience for an induvial or a larger group of people and offers high replay value with four games to choose from. To ...

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    Playground Preparedness

    Playground Preparedness

    Spending time at the playground is so much fun and helps children develop in a variety of ways from socially and emotionally to physically and cognitively. Being prepared with a well-stocked and maintained playground pack can help kids and caregivers have the most fun for the longest time at the playground. More time means even more movement, development and enjoyment for everyone. Voice of Play recommends sunscreen, water and first aid kits as part of their list of essentials – check out the rest of their recommendations in their blog! If you’re ready to start designing your dream playspace, check out some of our fabulous featured playgrounds!

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    MOVMNT at CPRS 2022

    MOVMNT at CPRS 2022

    Sunny skies, excellent coffee and the capitol city of California laid the foundation for what was an incredible week at CPRS 2022. Our booth space was full of energy with a MOVMNT tournament in FULL Swing. We had a lot of excellent competition, laughs and some serious smack talk, of course. In the end the winners battled it out and each of the top three places took home a smart fitness watch to keep them rocking on their MOVMNT journey. MOVMNT is really a game for everyone. It’s fun, competitive and promotes movement (get it, the name comes from here!), agility, coordination. It also gets that heartrate up a zone or two! See MOVMNT in action and bring this exciting play event to your community. One of the best things about it is it belongs everywhere – no batteries or electrical needed.

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    BCI Burke Joins NRPA’s Inaugural Business Council

    BCI Burke Joins NRPA’s Inaugural Business Council

    Collaboration between business and park and recreation professionals to spur innovations for improving local communities. BCI Burke announces that it will be a founding member of the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) Business Council — a collaboration that will strengthen the connections between the essential role of parks and recreation and the business sector. Local park and recreation agencies not only provide essential places for communities to gather, move and develop; they also generate economic value. Across the country, parks and recreation generated more than $166 billion in economic activity and supported 1.1 million jobs from their operations and capital spending in 2017. “Parks and recreation spaces are critical to the health of communities. They provide places for children and families to gather, exercise, play, develop and engage together,” said Brian Johnson, COO – BCI Burke. “These places and spaces also provide economic benefits to the communities they reside in. That’s why we’re excited to join the inaugural group of Business Council members to explore, share and deploy powerful solutions that benefit both businesses and parks and recreation.” The NRPA Business Council ...

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    Walking For Outdoor Fitness

    Walking For Outdoor Fitness

    Finding time to exercise can be difficult but it doesn’t have to be such a process or take hours every day to get the benefits. You don’t even need a gym membership. Walking is one of the best ways to increase your fitness and spend time outdoors! A new study shows that if every US adult over 40 years old walked just an additional 10 minutes each day, we would collectively prevent 110,000 deaths in the country each year. That’s a lot of good from 10 minutes! Walking trails can be in parks, around playgrounds (notice the sweet Burke playground shown in the article), through the woods or even at sports fields. Adding in outdoor fitness equipment can enhance walking by incorporating strength, additional cardiovascular options, balance and agility into our daily walks. Check out this article in Popular Science that sheds even more light onto the collective benefits of walking for exercise!

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    A Resolution we WANT to Keep

    A Resolution we WANT to Keep

    It’s a new year and as we welcome 2022, many people make resolutions to be healthier, spend more time with loved ones or take time for themselves. All of those resolutions can be accomplished with play. Hear me out…this is the real deal! Playing outside makes us healthier from increased Vitamin D to improved mental health and focus. It’s also an opportunity to spend time with children, friends, neighbors and spouses or, if you need a mental break, time alone. Below are a few ways we’ve found to spend more time outside and reap a variety of health benefits – this is a resolution that’s fun to keep!  Visit a playground in a nearby town. It’s always fun to explore somewhere new and a playspace is an excellent reason to break the norm and discover something new. Bonus…you can do this as a great family activity that everyone will enjoy. Create a walking coffee date with a friend or your significant other. Walking is incredible exercise and meeting someone else increases our chances of making it happen. And coffee is always ...

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    Movement Helps Keep Holiday Stress to a Minimum

    Movement Helps Keep Holiday Stress to a Minimum

    It’s almost like holidays and stress go hand and hand…travel, tight timelines, so much preparation and, of course, no time for yourself. Many of the stressors are out of our control but some aren’t, and we can work to improve the things we can! Exercise, time outdoors and movement have long been helpful in reducing stress and helping us stay healthier and happier. This blog by The American Heart Association gives some helpful, simple tips to take stress levels down and make the holiday season more enjoyable for everyone! Enjoy and remember to make time to play!

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    Top Five Inclusive Playground Design Considerations

    Top Five Inclusive Playground Design Considerations

    Inclusive playgrounds, recreation and outdoor fitness spaces help communities get outside, get moving and develop lasting bonds. There are many factors to consider in inclusive playground design…these are the Top Five from our professional team of playground designers! Play variety. Different people have different needs and thrive by participating in a variety of play activities. Having a multitude of play opportunities in different categories (sensory, spinning, swinging, etc.) is key to meeting everyone’s needs and preferences. It also provides a well-rounded play experience and hits all developmental areas so children can get the most from their playtime. Age groups. Age-appropriate play helps children develop at a level that is comfortable and fun for them while still challenging them to grow. Not only is it important to have different age groups for children, but multigenerational play is also important! ELEVATE® Fitness Course is a great way to engage people of all ages and fitness levels in outdoor fitness and fun! Communities can exercise and compete together in an open space making it that much easier to WANT to move! Play equity. Everyone deserves ...

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    Getting Outside – Even When it’s Cold!

    Getting Outside – Even When it’s Cold!

    Being outside playing, socializing and getting much-needed movement has so many benefits and is extremely important for mental and physical health! For those in colder climates, it can be harder to get outdoors in the winter. Harder…but not impossible…it just takes a little more planning and preparation to be comfortable and have fun year around. Burke’s Nucleus Evolution Play System brings adventure to the playground in all kinds of weather. With towers, climbers, Rope Tunnels and Cobra® Slides, kids will keep moving and keep warm while gaining important developmental benefits that transcend the playground. Keeping kids engaged through adventure is just one way to keep them outside! Check out this article with tips on how to keep your outdoor habits happening even in winter! If you’re interested in creating your new commercial playground, recreation area or outdoor fitness space, contact your local Burke Representative and get started!

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    Together Again - NRPA 2021

    Together Again - NRPA 2021

    Together. That was the theme of this year’s NRPA, at least for us here at Burke. We were so excited to be together with our park and recreation friends, other exhibitors and together as Burkies. We were also excited about the hybrid model of this year’s NRPA and the opportunity to be together, apart with everyone participating in NRPA Virtual. We filled the Burke in-person exhibit space with products that encouraged togetherness, intergenerational engagement and inclusive play. The Brava® Universal Swing helps children of all abilities swing independently and together while having control over their play experience. It also provided a nice place to rest while visiting Burke Booth 1821. Novo® Playful Furniture shifts the paradigm of playground seating and brings it into the playspace for improved caregiver/child engagement, learning, socializing and fun. Many beverages and snacks were consumed and conversations had on these colorful and comfortable seats during the two days of exhibit hall fun. The Nucleus® Evolution® brings adventure back to the playground and offers tall towers, rope tunnels and fast, sweeping slides. The bold amongst us ...

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    Trending in the World of Play

    Trending in the World of Play

    Play is part of us and helps us grow, learn and develop. Keeping abreast of trends in play is how we keep bringing you the best and most innovative products that keep communities moving in more ways than one. Outdoor fitness: With obesity rates rising amongst children and an increased amount of time spent on electronics, there is a heightened focus on physical fitness for all people, especially children. Moving fitness outside is really something that’s a win for everyone. It increases equity and access, helps adults model healthy habits for children so they can be physically literate and brings everyone together outdoors. ELEVATE® Fitness Course brings fun and challenge outside and can be easily integrated into a play environment for children ages 5-12 and 13+. It’s a great way to encourage movement in a fun, intentionally-designed space and provide a place where people of different fitness levels can exercise together comfortably. Intergenerational engagement: This is a trend we’ve been taking note of and are really excited about! Bringing people of all ages and abilities together in the same space to engage in ...

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    Our Park & Recreation Story

    Our Park & Recreation Story

    July is Park and Recreation Month and the theme for this year is “Our Park and Recreation Story.” Parks and recreation spaces are essential to life and we are proud to be part of an industry that makes a positive impact on people of all ages and abilities around the world and helps them create their stories. In the spirit of storytelling, we will share “Our Park and Recreation Story” – a unique unfolding of a company that you could say began in a barn. That may be an exaggeration, but it did begin on a family farm back in 1920 as a weather-stripping company with J.E. Burke at the helm. At the request of a family friend, he fabricated a slide and a playground company was born. BCI Burke still designs and manufactures playgrounds on the same land where the company was born more than 100 years ago. Since that time, so much has changed that helped us develop our story and create our “Play That Moves You” rally call. The story we’re sharing isn’t that of a company ...

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    Get Outside and Get Creative

    Get Outside and Get Creative

    What’s something that reminds you of summer? Is it the sun, not having school, getting more time with friends, the beach or maybe grabbing your favorite treat from your local ice cream shop? There are endless reasons people love summer, and for many, it’s the best time to get out and play! But have you ever heard of “summer funk”? Summer funk starts right around the middle of the summer when you’re running out of things to do. Kids may claim boredom, say there’s “nothing to do” and turn to screens to occupy themselves. Enter the outdoors and endless possibilities! Let’s talk play and ideas from us at BCI Burke on outdoor activities that can help kids get outside for play, community and learning! If it’s too hot where you live to spend the day outside, try going out early in the morning or later in the day – even 20 minutes outdoors can positively impact physical and mental health! Nature walks are a great way to get the whole family out of the house! You can find a trail ...

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    Adding More Play for Your Community

    Adding More Play for Your Community

    Bringing a new park, recreation area or playspace to your community helps keep people healthy both mentally and physically and provides a place for them to gather, learn and grow. Designing this new commercial playground allows you to customize the space for exactly what’s needed and will help everyone find the best of themselves through play. Sometimes that’s just “not in the cards” so to speak. You can still add value and bring more play to your community by adding some key pieces to your existing playspace. Below is a “Top Five” list but it certainly isn’t exhaustive – there are so many more play pieces that can add just as much value – these are just a few favorites right now. 5. Volito Swing: It’s a swing, yes, and swinging is a childhood staple that helps develop the inner ear, balance and core strength but there is also a social and cooperative component to this particular playground swing. With room for multiple children, the Volito is a swinging social space and children of different ages and abilities can join in ...

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    April is Autism Awareness Month

    April is Autism Awareness Month

    As we wind down from April, Autism Awareness Month, we are continuing our quest for knowledge about autism and how to best serve our autistic children and community in the best way we know how - through thoughtfully-designed products and playspaces. The goal is always to help all people find the best of themselves through play and learn and develop in a way that is comfortable and accessible to them. Because there is no one type of autism, there isn’t one type of play piece or experience that will be engaging or helpful for all children with autism but there are some underlying pieces we can add to create an experience that may speak to a larger group of children. In 2021, we introduced a couple of research-based products that are designed for all children with a lean toward helping children with autism find comfort and fun within the playspace. The Serenity™ Spot is a sensory-based play piece that provides games, the opportunity for repetitive movement or stimming – short for self-stimulatory behavior and engagement with both peers and ...

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    Play That Moves Bossier, LA

    Play That Moves Bossier, LA

    Sometimes a play environment moves us so much we just have to share it. Field of Dreams park in Bossier, LA is that environment – a thoughtfully-designed playspace that invites everyone to experience the joy of play. Field of Dreams is universally-designed and includes all of the guiding principles with play variety, inclusivity and a feeling of togetherness that permeates the entire environment. Choosing the design and equipment for Field of Dreams was a group effort and called on everyone from Planet Recess, our Burke LA Representative, to special educators to people with differing abilities and their family members to provide their experiences and help shape this environment into the largest, most inclusive playscape in Louisiana. A fully ramped structure and unitary surfacing brings everyone into the heart of play and creates equity where children of all abilities can have the same experiences in their own unique way. Slides, climbing, swinging and sensory play all help children develop and gain skills that transcend the playground. This is truly a place for everyone to dream big and reach their milestones ...

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    Play for Health!

    Play for Health!

    Play is one of the most amazing things ever. It’s not only enjoyable but also beneficial to people of all ages and abilities! One of the major benefits of play is the opportunity to be physically active while having fun. Movement is inherent in play and instead of being a chore, it is an exciting and social way to get the 60 minutes of exercise recommended for children ages 6-17 by the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. Since February is Heart Month, let’s start this chat about how spending time on a playground can make hearts healthier! Play and Exercise Improve Cardiovascular Health  Exercise strengthens your heart and helps it more efficiently pump blood throughout the body. Starting children with vigorous activity at a young age strengthens their hearts and lungs and can help reduce the risk for cardiovascular disease later in life. Healthy Habits for Life Physical activity in children helps them develop what the Aspen Institute calls Physical Literacy or “the ability, confidence and desire to be physically active for life.” This sets them up for healthy habits that ...

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    Outdoor Spaces for the Win

    Outdoor Spaces for the Win

    Spending time outdoors is important for both mental and physical health. People are more active when they are outside and children learn better. There is Vitamin D and it’s a sensory-rich environment. Active communities do better. This may seem like an obvious statement but hear us out. They do better in ways that are above and beyond obesity rates and high blood pressure scores, although those are better as well. Research shows that active communities have lower unemployment scores (2015-2019), higher property values and higher graduation rates. Recreation spaces are one way to help communities get and stay active. The importance of these spaces became abundantly clearer when most other places were closed and the outdoors became our gym, refuge and playspace. The benefits of creating more spaces outdoors are vast and range from child development and intergenerational engagement to better community health and bike and walking scores. We know children develop through play and that when they play, their development is child-directed and based in fun. Through play children learn social, emotional, cognitive and communication skills while developing physically ...

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    Great Design Comes from Great Research

    Great Design Comes from Great Research

    We know parks, recreation and outdoor fitness areas are critical to the health and wellness of communities. It’s why we do what we do and are so passionate about bringing Play That Moves You to communities around the world. And we want to know more, to do more. So, we partnered with NRPA to invest in research that will show us the impact of an inclusive play environment in the Carrolton Ridge neighborhood, west of downtown Baltimore. Not only does this space positively impact the community, it will teach us more about play and product design and provide valuable information we can share with our team and our customers to help them bring a higher level of play to their community. See what we’ve done and where the next phase of research is going! Learn More

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    Move Forward Playground Sales Event

    Move Forward Playground Sales Event

    Forward is defined as what is in front of you. And we’re looking at what’s in front of us. Communities that seek to get outside. People that crave a sense of normalcy. Adults and children that want to - need to - play. There are so many ways to move forward. We’ve chosen to work with what we know best – play, playgrounds, outdoor fitness and recreation. Providing some of our favorite play environments that beckon to people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities to head outdoors at up to 50% off list price is how we know to help communities move forward. Join Our Forward Movement and see how play can move your community. Shop the Sale!

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    Play Moves Lester Elementary

    Play Moves Lester Elementary

    Lester Elementary School in Downers Grove, IL is boasting a new inclusively-designed play environment where everyone can develop, grow, socialize and play together! This new playspace consists of two BCI Burke playgrounds featuring bright colors and unmatched play variety, including sliding, swinging, climbing, games, communication panels and more. During non-school hours, this engaging play environment functions as a community park where the community can gather and enjoy time outdoors. See what a local blogger has to say about this incredible space and how Lester Elementary brought Play That Moves You to their community!

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    Step Outside for Learning!

    Step Outside for Learning!

    Being outdoors with room to move, learn and be together, apart, is the place to be right now. We're feeling pretty inspired by the need to create these outdoor learning spaces and thinking beyond the classroom walls. Check out our latest in outdoor classroom, fitness and music exploration...we hope it will move you as much as it moved us! Learn more about Burke's Outdoor Classroom designs!

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    Play as a Uniting Force

    Play as a Uniting Force

    At Burke, play is our passion, our mission and our business. Above anything else, our work focuses on bringing Play That Moves You to all communities around the world. This year is a challenging one and recent national events have added to the divisiveness in many of our communities. We believe play is more important now than ever before and it is equally important that we stand together in play and understand that even in the toughest times, play is a bright light. Not only is it beneficial to each individual, it unites us and brings us together. Our belief is that play can be a catalyst for positive change. We believe children, families and communities belong outside - moving, developing and growing. Play builds community and it is our job help them provide fun, engaging and developmentally-rich spaces for all people, of all ages, abilities, ethnicities and races. As we encourage people and communities to step outside, we feel it is important to challenge ourselves inside to keep creating an equitable, diverse environment that respects all differences. We know that ...

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    Play Moves the Marengo Valley School Community

    Play Moves the Marengo Valley School Community

    For the past five years, parents and students at Marengo Valley School have worked toward a singular goal - raise money for a playground. But they didn't want just any playground - they wanted a space that would challenge and engage children of all ages and abilities and encourage them to be outdoors moving around and having fun. You know, playing! Earlier this month they saw their hard work pay off when their BCI Burke playground equipment arrived in time for the community build. With the help of Lee Recreation, a Wisconsin-based BCI Burke commercial playground Representative, volunteers and school officials, the Marengo Valley Home and School Association constructed a new playground and outdoor classroom that will serve students for years to come. “We think our kids deserve a nice playground to play on,” said Erica Lehto, the association’s president and the mother of six children who have gone to Marengo Valley. “It was something we wanted to raise the money for because we think it’s important that our kids could play outside on good, safe quality playground equipment.” "Until the new ...

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    Social Fitnessing Helps Us Stay Fit and Healthy

    Social Fitnessing Helps Us Stay Fit and Healthy

    We need movement. It’s essential to our lives and our overall health. As we return to outdoor fitness areas, we return to a new normal. Enter social fitnessing. Social fitnessing is a way to create space to move, practice safe distancing and encourage each other while maintaining a safe distance. While social fitnessing can be practiced anywhere, it is much easier to practice outdoors where space is prevalent and many obstacle course and other exercise areas are already designed to provide appropriate space. Besides just the space factor, outdoor exercise is an incredible way to get your workout while experiencing other benefits inherent in spending time outdoors in recreation and outdoor fitness areas. Time spent outdoors has benefits like stress reduction, a rise in creativity and offers a healthy dose of immune-boosting Vitamin D. Interestingly enough, when people exercise outside, their perceived level of effort is lower allowing for longer and more intense workouts. If that’s not enough, outdoor fitness and recreation areas can be a great way to spend time with family out of the home…and so many of ...

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    Music and Mental Health

    Music and Mental Health

    “Music can heal the wounds that medicine cannot touch.” (Debasish Mridha) I had been so excited to write about Burke’s amazing PlayEnsemble line this month. I teach K-5 general music and couldn’t wait to plan engaging lessons for my students using the outdoor instruments this spring; lessons I could share with other music educators and park and rec departments. We were going to jam, play our favorite songs, play along with recorders and ukuleles, spread joy; but then COVID-19 had made its way to the United States and schools were closed for the remainder of the year. The words “quarantine,” distance/virtual learning,” and “social distancing” are a part of our normal vocabularies now. This has been a trying time for all of us, both physically and mentally. We know how to take care of our bodies (eat well, exercise, wash hands, avoid touching one’s face, etc.), but how do we take care of ourselves mentally? Meditation? Reflection? Journaling? Therapy? While I am not a licensed therapist, counselor or psychologist, I do understand the healing power of music.   “Music has healing power. ...

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    Play Will Always Move Us

    Play Will Always Move Us

    If movement is life then Play That Moves You speaks to the importance of play in our lives. From social and emotional development to physical and cognitive growth, play is the backdrop to many happy times had and yet to come. During this pandemic, many playgrounds were closed and children, communities and families had to find new ways to connect and play. While some playgrounds are reopening and communities begin to come back, we return with a new appreciation for connection, laughter and play. As we get back to play in a new normal, there are an incredible amount of resources available to help us return and be mindful of new ways and new approaches to play. Being outdoors has an extraordinary amount of benefits and getting back outside in a prudent manner can benefit the health and well-being of people and communities. One resource that offers practical suggestions and guidance for a return to play and the outdoors is Voice of Play. Visit their site to get the latest ideas and tips and see how play can move ...

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