K'NEX designs, manufactures, and distributes plastic toy construction sets that encourage creativity, interaction, self-confidence, fine motor skill development, and an understanding of math, science, and technology concepts. With a slogan of “IMAGINE – Build – Play”,1 K'NEX believes that “play is the work of childhood and a prerequisite to the development of many important skills and abilities.”2
KaBOOM! is a national nonprofit organization founded in 1996 by Darell Hammond and Dawn Hutchison. Since 1996, Darell has served as CEO and led KaBOOM! in raising more than $200 million to build more than 2,000 playgrounds with help from more than 1 million volunteers with the playgrounds annually serving more than 5.5 million children.
The name according to Darell refers to “an explosion of hope and opportunity and possibility and what can be.”1 The vision of the organization was a great place to play within walking distance of every child. This was to be achieved through the partnering with communities and their leaders.
1. Hunter, Jeff. “The Chief Executive of Play.” Today’s Playground. May 2001.
Tom Kalousek began working for the Bensenville Park District in Illinois after completing a Bachelor of Science degree in Geography/Geology. He supervised maintenance there and subsequently at the nearby Arlington Height Park District and the Elmhurst Park District. During this time Tom began a long association with the Illinois Park and Recreation Association (IPRA).
Dr. Stephen R. Kellert is a Tweedy Ordway Professor Emeritus of Social Ecology and Senior Research Scholar at the Yale University School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. His research and writings have centered around the concept of “biophilia,” the instinctual connection of humans with the natural world. Stephen's work centers on this connection with special interest in sustainable designs and environmental conservation.1
1. “Stephen R. Kellert.” Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. < http://environment.yale.edu/profile/kellert/ > 1 Sep. 2011.
Kenner Products was formed in 1947 by the Steiner brothers, Philip, Joseph, Albert, and Albert's son, Robert, as a soap, flavoring, and extract business.1 They named their new company Kenner, after the street their office was on in Cincinnati, Ohio.
1. Skomial, Marcin. “Joseph L. Steiner, 95, a Founder of a Well-Known Toy Maker.” The New York Times. 15 May 2002. < http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=FA0B1EFA395D0C768DDDAC0894DA404482 > 10 April 2011.
A classic children’s game, Kick the Can has elements of hide and seek, tag, and capture the flag in its game play. The rules of the game are simple and can be played outdoors in a variety of settings, including back yards, streets, or open spaces that allow for hiding places for children.
Kids Around the World is a faith-based organization founded in 1994 by Dennis Johnson. Initially, their goal was to provide safe play equipment for children who were affected by natural disasters, economic stress, political injustice, war and other situations beyond their control. Many organizations, such as the Rotary International Foundation, the Million Dollar Round Table Foundation, Salvation Army, World Vision, and Samaritan’s Purse, along with individuals provide the resources for global travel and the construction of playgrounds.1
1. “About Us.” Kids Around the World. < http://www.kidsaroundtheworld.com/about.htm > 31 Jan 2011.
Kids in Distressed Situations (K.I.D.S.) is a nonprofit organization that gives children and teens impacted by poverty and tragedy new kid-essential products that are vital to their self-esteem. K.I.D.S. ships and delivers products directly to impoverished children through a network of local partner agencies located in all 50 states.
For every $1 raised, K.I.D.S. provides $10 worth of product. The nonprofit receives both financial and product donations directly from companies, foundations, and individuals.
Kidstuff Playsystems began as Olympic Recreation in George McGuan’s basement in 1982. At that time, Richard Hagelberg and his wife Cheryl were operating three child care centers. Richard met with George to review available playground equipment. George had a background specializing in complicated construction projects, and Richard had a background in Early Childhood Education. With the country in a deep recession, Richard and George agreed that building playground equipment was a viable business opportunity.
Barb King graduated from Iowa State University in 1968 with a degree in Food Science. She was known for her work in creating sustainable, healthy lifestyles not only for children and their families but for the community. Barb King was a co-founder and a major influence in the growth of Landscape Structures until her death in 2008.1
1. “Our History” Landscape Structures Inc. < http://www.playlsi.com/Learn-About-Us/Our-History/Pages/Our-History.aspx > 13 Aug. 2010.
While studying Landscape Architecture at Iowa State University, Steve King was given a senior design project. He was looking for a creative way to develop a small play space in a suburban housing development. “I developed a concept of connecting various play components together to form a continuous play opportunity for kids” said King. “It was a way of saving space while encouraging decision-making and interaction among kids – an important ingredient in a child’s development.”1 That concept has been developed worldwide.
1. Adams, John S. “Playground Pioneer,” Today’s Playground, January 2003:16.
Flying kites on a breezy day is a delightful activity for children and adults alike. Kites come in many shapes and sizes, and their different designs allow for different flight maneuvers in the sky. However, the principles of flying a kite are very much the same no matter the design.
Kiwanis International started in 1915 as a business and professional men's club in Detroit, Michigan. The unusual name of “Kiwanis” came from the American Indian expression, which is translated as “We Build.”
Reuben B. Klamer invented or designed more than 200 toys, including 46 games, the most famous of which was the The Game of Life.1 He felt that “the best playthings for children are simple, with shape, structure and form appropriate for their developmental stage. Great toys fire children's imagination and can be played with in many creative ways. Watching kids play is a superior education and inspiring itself – do it often!”2
1. Levy, Herb. “An Interview with Reuben Klamer.” Gamers Alliance. < http://www.gamersalliance.com/reubenklamer.htm > 20 June 2012.
2. Couzin, Mary. “Reuben Klamer on Success, Careers and The Game of Life.” Global Toy News. June 17, 2011.
Tom Lindhart Wils thought he was creating colorful outdoor sculptures that would help the children find their correct street in a city where the buildings all looked the same. After noticing that the children enjoyed playing on the sculptures, Tom joined with Hans Mogen Frederiksen to form Multikunst Legepladser (Multiart Playgrounds) in 1970. They later changed the name to KOMPAN, which is derived from the Danish “kumpan” that means “companion.”1
Two years later in 1972, Tom designed KOMPAN's first spring rider, the Hen, to enhance children's balance and language skills. They won the Jeppe Design Award that year, and in 1977 they won the Danish prize of Technology.
Ken Kutska began his illustrious career in parks and recreation at age 16, when he was a summer youth sports program leader who handled park maintenance between the youth programs. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Parks and Recreation Administration in 1971 from Western Illinois University.
Ken's first post-graduate job was with Elmhurst Park District in DuPage County, Illinois. Here he spent over three years “learning the ropes” and making connections on local and state levels that would assist him later. He also continued to attend Western Illinois University for graduate courses in Facility Management and Public Administration.