Rural Play Streets Guide

Implementing Play Streets in Rural Communities

Play Streets — place-based interventions that involve temporarily closing streets to create safe places and free opportunities for physical activity — are a great way to engage youth and families, get people active, and promote community connections. The Guide to Implementing Play Streets in Rural Communities provides guidance and recommendations to community groups, schools, faith-based institutions, or other organizations, on how to plan and put on a Play Street in rural communities based on first-hand experience from community partners in rural Maryland, North Carolina, Oklahoma, and Texas.

Playstreets Infographic Playstreets Infographic Animated

What You Will Find in the Guide:

Benefits Picture

The Guide is a terrific resource on how to adapt Play Streets from urban settings, where they are typically implemented, to rural settings, and informs each step of the implementation process: what happens before, during, and after a Play Street. The guide also includes examples and feedback from organizations that hosted Play Streets in rural communities, including challenges they faced and overcame, as well as resources like advertisement templates.

Post Play Streets Form and TemplateIn addition to the Guide, you can also find the entire Post Play Streets Form and Template to help with evaluation.  Please feel free to download/use this form for your own Play Streets. (Click HERE or on the image to access the for.m)

This guide was made possible with funding from the Physical Activity Research Center. The research that generated the guide was led by Drs. Keshia Pollack Porter from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and M. Renée Umstattd Meyer from Baylor University. Contributing authors to the guide included Christina Bridges Hamilton, Tyler Prochnow, Tom Schmid, Emily Wilkins, and ChangeLab Solutions.

For more information please contact Dr. M. Renée Umstattd Meyer at (254)710-4029 or

Additional Resources:

If you are interested in learning more about the research related with this project please reference the following scientific articles: 

Umstattd Meyer M. R., Prochnow T., Picket A. C., Perry C. K., Bridges Hamilton C. N., Abildso C. G., & Pollack Porter K. M. (2021). The effects of Play Streets on social and community connectedness in rural communities. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18(19), 9976. doi:

Prochnow T., Umstattd Meyer M. R., Bridges Hamilton C. N., Wilkins E., & Pollack Porter K. M. (2021). Real-time video scan method for community partner use to inform Play Streets implementation. Health Promotion Practice. doi:

Pollack Porter, K. M., Bridges Hamilton, C. N., & Umstattd Meyer, M. R. (2020). Implementing Play Streets in low-income rural communities in the United States. Health Promotion Practice. doi:

Prochnow, T., Umstattd Meyer, M. R. ., Bridges Hamilton, C. N., & Pollack Porter, K. M. (2020). Differences in child physical activity levels at rural Play Streets due to activity type and sex. Journal of Healthy Eating and Active Living, 1(1), 16–26. doi:

A 2-page lay summary of this article is also available by clicking the image below.

Differences in Child Physical Activity Levels

Umstattd Meyer M.R., Prochnow T., Bridges C.N., Carlton T., Wilkins E., Arnold K.T., McClendon M.E., McKenzie T., & Pollack Porter K.M. (2020) Assessing physical activity in temporary spaces: Application of SOPARC / iSOPARC® for Play Streets. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 91:2, 346-353, doi:

A 2-page lay summary of this article is also available by clicking the image below.

Umstattd Meyer M.R, Bridges Hamilton C. N., Prochnow T., McClendon M.E., Arnold K.T., Wilkins E., Benavidez G., Williams T.D., Abildso C. G., Pollack Porter K. M. (2019) Come together, play, be active: Physical activity engagement of school-age children at Play Streets in four diverse rural communities in the U.S.. Preventive Medicine, 129. doi:

A 3-page lay summary of this article is also available by clicking the image below.

Come together, play, be active

Bridges C. N., Prochnow T. M., Wilkins E. C., Pollack Porter K. M., & Umstattd Meyer M. R. (2019). Examining the implementation of Play Streets: A systematic review of the grey literature. Journal of Public Health Management & Practice.

A 2-page lay summary of this article is also available by clicking the image below.

Systematic review of the grey literature

Umstattd Meyer M. R., Bridges C. N., Schmid T. L., Hecht A. A., & Pollack Porter K. M. (2019). Documenting how Play Streets impact opportunities for play, physical activity, and environments: A systematic review. BMC Public Health, 19:335. 

A 3-page lay summary of this article is also available by clicking the image below.

Impact Opportunities for play