PORTLAND -- Parents trying to keep kids active during the summer months are getting free help from a playground on wheels.
Portland Parks and Recreation’s mobile playground program sends three vans loaded with camp equipment to 30 sites each week.
“Our goal is to get kids out of the house and get them moving,” said Kim Calame, Recreation Supervisor at the Portland Parks and Recreation Department.
The mobile playground offers children opportunities to play soccer, create artwork and even use stilts.
“The two staff members come with a van full of activities and they never know how many kids to expect,” said Calame.
Portland Parks and Recreation started the mobile playground program in the ’90s and this summer was able to expand it by adding two more vans.
“We had some very generous support in East Portland, which is an area where wanted to increase services,” said Calame.
The mobile playground is a real treat for children of families who might not be able to afford summer camp.
“Many kids who come to us might not have anything else to do,” Calame said. “This gives them a positive place to go.”
Members of the Russian community in East Portland helped raise the $32,000 needed to expand the program.
“This program is really good for families who have many children who live in small apartments with no open space where it’s safe to play,” said Portland resident Natalya Sobolevskaya.
The three vans go to parks, apartment complexes and church parking lots. The program serves hundreds of kids each week during two-hour morning and afternoon sessions.
“”I like it because there’s so many things we get to do like the crafts and I just love coming to the park,” said participant Sasha Fish as she ran off to join a game of football.
To find out if the mobile playground will be in your neighborhood, click here.