PHILADELPHIA – PlayStreets, a 60-year-old citywide youth meal distribution program, will expand this year to bring safe, fun play to thousands of Philadelphia children right on their block. The Philadelphia Parks & Recreation program is presented in partnership with the Greater Philadelphia YMCA, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the William Penn Foundation, and the van Ameringen Foundation. This year, PlayStreets has been reimagined to offer young people safe, hyper-local recreational opportunities at 310 locations as the city begins to re-open while working to slow the spread of COVID-19. All sites will operate under Philadelphia Department of Public Health guidance.

Thanks to overwhelming philanthropic and community support, the 2020 PlayStreets program will provide a day camp-like experience to thousands of children on the street they call home. Beginning today, 50 designated “Super Streets” will receive daily programming, including arts and sports tutorials, pop-up dance parties with beloved Philadelphia sports mascots (including Gritty), and  portable play landscapes that encourage safely-distanced play. In addition, Mural Arts Philadelphia will visit Super Streets to create temporary chalk murals through its Murals on the Move program. Super Streets were selected based on geographic diversity and community need. 

An additional 10 streets will be part of the William Penn Foundation-funded PlayStreets of Wonder program, which focuses on playful learning and literacy. PlayStreets of Wonder will receive visits and programming from the Free Library of Philadelphia, Fab Youth Philly and its Play Captains, as well as officers from the Police Athletic League.

The PlayStreets program is made possible by local residents who volunteer to serve as Playstreet supervisors. Long-time PlayStreet leaders rally their blocks to host a PlayStreet, opening and closing the street to traffic daily, and giving out meals and play items. 

100 PlayStreets will receive giveaways like: “Cooling Kits”, which include personalized misting fans, super soakers, branded tents and patio umbrellas, and neck cooling rags. These locations were selected in partnership with the City’s excessive heat steering committee to target supplies to areas that are most impacted by the urban heat island effect. 

Other giveaways include: 

  • Sports Kits, which include soccer balls, nets, frisbees, basketballs, footballs and playground balls.

  • Art Kits, which include crayons, markers, sidewalk chalk, coloring books, and construction paper along with DIY art projects complete with supplies and instructions.

  • 1,350 Mobile Mural Kits, 2,000 Designs for Unusual Times Activity / Coloring Books, and 1,000 Chase Doodle Books from Mural Arts. 

  • Individualized “Play Packs” for hundreds of young people designed by Studio Ludo.

  • Clay pottery kits donated by the Clay Studio.

  • Books donated by Wawa Welcome America and Book Smiles Book Bank NJ.

  • Branded merchandise and visits by our local professional sports teams including the Philadelphia Eagles, the Philadelphia Phillies, the Philadelphia Flyers, the Philadelphia 76ers, and the Philadelphia Union. 

Portable Play Landscapes that allow for social distanced play will also travel to PlayStreets.The Kounkuey Design Initiative has provided  a “wobble” which features large playful learning structures that can be manipulated into many various shapes.  Kounkuey Design Initiative first designed the portable play landscapes for the City of Los Angeles which has a similar PlayStreets program.

Local design firm Tiny WPA has also constructed specially designed play landscapes for PlayStreets which include customized seesaws and modular play islands. All 310 PlayStreets will benefit from the expanded PlayStreets resources, including additional play items, books, and art supplies. 

Mural Arts will provide designed banners, posters, and spaces pads advocating for public health measures, all designed by local artists.


The Greater Philadelphia YMCA will provide staff to supervise, train, and mentor the Parks & Recreation WorkReady Play Ambassadors (ages 19-24) who will be assigned to lead play across selected streets. 

“This summer, COVID-19 has dramatically limited the recreational opportunities available to Philly youth, so Parks & Rec is bringing fun and joy right to their doorstep,” said Philadelphia Parks & Recreation Commissioner Kathryn Ott Lovell. “PlayStreets is a wonderful Philadelphia tradition, powered by hundreds of amazing community volunteers who serve as neighborhood site supervisors. Year in and year out these unsung heroes make summer a time of fun and joy. This summer will be no different, providing hundreds of thousands of children with free summer meals. We are thrilled to be partnering with so many amazing local organizations to innovate this program and give Philadelphia children a summer to remember.” 

The funding and in-kind donations made by sponsors in support of PlayStreets will enable each Playstreet to offer a variety of safe play and programming, focused on maintaining safe distance and engaging young people in playful learning. 

2020 PlayStreets is presented by Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, the Greater Philadelphia YMCA and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation with support from: Bank of America, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, the Ertz Family Foundation, Flyers Charities, KABOOM!, the Kind Family Foundation, the Philadelphia Eagles, the Philadelphia Phillies, and Resolve Philadelphia, the Satell Institute, The Tampico Foundation, the Tuttleman Family Foundation, the van Ameringen Foundation, and the William Penn Foundation.

PlayStreets partners, who are donating supplies, staff, and services to PlayStreets this summer include: Book Smiles Book Bank NJ, the Clay Studio, the City of Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual Disability Services, Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer, the Ed Snider Youth Hockey Association, Elite Training, FabFitPhilly, FiveBelow, Girls on the Run, Greensgrow, the Free Library of Philadelphia, Mural Arts Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, the Philadelphia Flyers, the Philadelphia Union, the Philadelphia Wings, Read by Fourth, TinyWPA, and Wawa Welcome America. 

“We are excited to join Mayor Kenney and Philadelphia Parks & Recreation in bringing play back to our city’s streets” said Shaun Elliott, President and CEO, Greater Philadelphia YMCA. “Healthy activity doesn’t get any more organic than kids playing together on their block. It’s where communities are built. After months of dealing with the current crisis, we know kids are eager to enjoy fresh air, exercise, and togetherness—and we’re eager to support them. Building upon the great work PlayStreets has already done, the Y is excited to help keep kids active, healthy and engaged. We are so grateful to the individuals and organizations who’ve offered their support!” 

“The PlayStreets program is a testament to the power of residents who advocate for their blocks and communities, year after year, for critical services through the summer months. It’s because of their voice and their leadership that our streets and public spaces can be more equitable, inclusive, and safe for all Philadelphians,” said Ellen Hwang, Knight Foundation Philadelphia program director. “We’re proud to support the City of Philadelphia’s innovative plans, which will be catalytic in making our streets more resident-centered and engaging places that bring community together — especially through the challenging and difficult times we’re facing.”

“Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia is proud to serve as a community partner for PlayStreets because it offers children a safe and fun way to advance their growth and development right in their neighborhoods,” said Madeline Bell, president and chief executive officer of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. “With limited options for recreation this summer, PlayStreets is a great example of ways our community is coming together to support Philadelphia’s children during extraordinary times.”

Dating back to the 1960s, PlayStreets is a Parks & Recreation tradition that allows residents on small, one-way streets to serve free summer meals to youth 18 and under on their street. Volunteer PlayStreets supervisors close their street to vehicular traffic from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each weekday in the summer to serve two meals and provide young people with light recreational activities. 

PlayStreets opened on June 15, and will run each weekday through the end of August. There is no registration requirement, and meals are served on a first come, first serve basis. PlayStreets summer meal sites are available at

Philadelphia Parks & Recreation

Philadelphia Parks & Recreation (PPR) advances the prosperity of the city and the progress of her people through intentional and sustained stewardship of nearly 10,200 acres of public land and waterways as well as through hundreds of safe, stimulating recreation, environmental and cultural centers. PPR promotes the well-being and growth of the city’s residents by connecting them to the natural world around them, to each other and to fun, physical and social opportunities. PPR is responsible for the upkeep of historically significant Philadelphia events and specialty venues, and works collaboratively with communities and organizations in leading capital projects and the introduction of inventive programming. To learn more about Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, visit, and follow @philaparkandrec on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

About the Greater Philadelphia YMCA 

The Greater Philadelphia YMCA is one of the region’s leading nonprofits, connecting people to healthier lives. Throughout the Delaware Valley, the Greater Philadelphia Y serves more than 200,000 individuals each year, regardless of age, income or background. Its mission is to nurture the potential of children and teens, improve the health and well-being of the communities they represent, and to serve all guides in its activities each day. Anchored in 15 branch locations, more than 80 childcare sites, and one overnight camp, throughout Berks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, Philadelphia, Pike, Burlington and Camden counties, the Greater Philadelphia Y has the long standing relationships and physical presence to deliver lasting personal and social change. For more information, please call 215-963-3700 or visit