Summer Free Play

Keeping Youth Active

The Summer Free Play Series aims to provide youth in all eight counties of Western New York opportunities to have fun and enjoy Free Play

The benefits of Free Play:

  • Free Play gives kids more autonomy over their play time and helps develop lifelong athletes and players
  • Free Play helps youth through active means of self-discovery
  • Free Play provides today’s youth with natural opportunities for socialization: compromise, cooperation and coordination
  • Free Play allows kids at different levels of athleticism to improve their physical literacy

The application is intentionally open-ended to allow youth organizations to create programs to encourage kid-led play that best suits the youth athletes they serve. Free play can be guided by adults, with help where needed, but should not be instructional.

Organizations with an IRS 501(c)(3) designation, schools or government agencies are eligible for funding. Applicants must be serving youth, especially ages 5-14. Applicants must also be located in Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Niagara, Orleans or Wyoming counties.

Summer Free Play

How to Apply

Applications MUST be submitted electronically online. No paper, emailed or pdf applications will be accepted. Outcome reporting will also be conducted online when closing the grant.

Featured Recipient

“The 2023 PPWNY Free Play Series gave our YMCA the opportunity to serve over 500 families in our surrounding communities of rural Cattaraugus & Allegany counties. We are grateful for the opportunity to fulfil our mission through the generosity of this funding and look forward to another successful year in 2024. A special thank you to the entire Project Play Western New York team!”

YMCA Twin Tiers

“Buffalo conducted ten Free Play Zones in 2023 & five in 2024. The Free Play Zones were located at Pierce Field at Mulroy Park in South Buffalo & at the Seneca-Babcock Arlene J. Myachjliw Community Center/Mullen Park. Our Free Play Zones consisted of lacrosse, basketball, soccer, flag football, volleyball, broomball, an obstacle course & street hockey. The plan for these three-hour Free Play Zones was free play & sports sampling. The results were friendships, peer leadership, exercise & fun. We registered from forty to sixty children for each Free Play Zone. Our smallest group was thirty-five children. We understand the importance of Free Play Zone & its impact on our children. Buffalo Legacy Project, Inc. is an inner-city outreach program. Buffalo Legacy uses recreation to build mentoring relationships with at-risk children in the WNY neighborhoods. Over 1,800 WNY children participated in our leagues, camps & clinics in 2023.


Buffalo Legacy Project Inc/Youth Advantage