Families play together as fun tour pops up in Sacramento

More than 2,000 children and their family members solved puzzles and played at a pop-up play attraction as the Play Together Tour made its Sacramento stop Wednesday in front of the state Capitol.

Families were encouraged to enjoy playing outside together during a series of events and courses coordinated by Disney Parks and KaBOOM, a national nonprofit that promotes active lives and builds playgrounds in underserved communities, said Jessica Joisten, KaBOOM’s director of strategic communications. The nonprofit has built 14 playgrounds in Sacramento since 2003.

“We’re hoping that it’ll inspire families to incorporate balance and active play into their daily lives,” Joisten said.

Families designed team flags, made their way through an array of games and team-building stations to solve puzzles, build tunnels out of foam building blocks and play together. At each stop, parents received a card with tips for making everyday family activities more fun, like dancing together while brushing their teeth.

Darrell Jennings, 32, and Crystal Jennings, 31, of Sacramento brought daughters Aaliyah and Lailah Jennings, 5 and 7. The family displayed their flag at the end of the obstacle course. The flag was decorated with their names, flowers, princess symbols, sparkly dots and an Oakland Raiders symbol, which matched all of their outfits adorned with the Raiders logo.

The Jennings family members’ decided that their favorite activities were split. Darrell and Lailah preferred the problem-solving puzzle while Crystal and Aaliyah liked movie trivia.

Team-building activities were the highlight for the Paper family of Cameron Park, said Chris Paper, 50. He attended the event with sons Christian and Brody, 9 and 6.

Disney Parks and KaBOOM have collaborated on family-focused events since 2011 to encourage the idea of having fun with family, said Megan Navarette, Disneyland public affairs ambassador. Research supported by Disney Parks and completed by the Search Institute and Center for Childhood Creativity indicated that spending time together as a family influences a child’s success in school and community involvement.

“I think the biggest thing is that this was born out of the fact that research was done that showed the positive impact of play,” Navarette said. “It shows that kids do better in school, they’re better citizens of their community and their families are better citizens in their community, which in turn strengthens their communities that they live in.”

The tour’s Sacramento stop was the second of six this summer, with the first being in Anaheim last weekend.

“It’s great to come up to the Capitol, to be here in Sacramento and really promote that idea of play and strengthening family bonds to our leaders here at the state,” Navarette said.