It started when they were traveling between duty stations with their kids. All they really wanted was a playground where their four kids under 6-years-old and under could hangout and stretch their legs.
"It started with we’re moving from Kansas to Washington and we’re stopping at truck stops' and I thought 'there has got to be playground somewhere in that town over there,'" Army spouse Amy Rowland told me.
But finding one was easier wished for than done. And when they got to their new duty station, they realized that the mystery of great playground locations wasn't a problem just for road-tripping parents. Even people who had lived in the area for years didn't know about certain playgrounds.
So Amy and her husband joked about developing a website and an app where users could log great playgrounds in their area, upload a photo and help other parents out.
"We joked for the next year ... and finally were like 'are we going to do this or not?'" she said.
So they decided to do it.
Using the app or the site is simple. While at a playground, open it up, add a few details about the location, snap a few shots and hit "submit." Amy will then approve the listing, make sure it has a good address associated with it and - tada! - your playground is on the map. Here's the one I added -- a favorite of ours and a hidden gem near Fort Campbell, Kentucky.
Play Across America isn't the only site or app that works toward the playground goal, Amy admitted -- but she's hoping it works better than some already out there that often had inaccurate location details or no photos.
Amy said her top goal is to have 1,000 playgrounds in the system by the end of the year, in part from users posting local playgrounds and in part by playground manufacturers posting the location and information for the playgrounds they've built and installed.