Building a playground may appear to be a major undertaking. However, in many neighborhoods where residents are dissatisfied with existing parks, individuals are working together to design, finance, and build creative and safe places for their children to play. Many local and nationwide nonprofit organizations exist that specialize in the planning and construction stages of these neighborhood playground-building efforts. Given the trend of these community-supported playgrounds around the country, numerous resources exist to support individuals who are drawn to playground-building for the first time.
Parents and other community-minded residents may find that volunteering on such projects helps them connect with the community while creating a valuable resource for area youth. From experienced professionals to individuals with no building experience at all, anyone can contribute to a playground-building project. Most projects require a range of skill sets. Volunteers may participate in various parts of the process, from selecting playground designs to working with city government and zoning officials and from organizing fundraising events to assembling jungle gyms. Individuals with extensive legal or clerical experience may assist by acquainting themselves with all of the necessary steps to gain city or county approval for building. Salespeople and extroverts may lead community-wide fundraising events. Talented writers may dedicate themselves to grant-writing to seek private or public funding for the project.
Most of the individuals attracted to playground-building projects are parents or individuals involved with primary education and child care. However, anyone interested in building a neighborhood's sense of community may find the process rewarding and interesting. Besides the obvious benefit to local children, neighborhood playgrounds can elevate local property values, reduce crime, abate city pollution, support tourism, complement local businesses, encourage fitness and public health, and foster connection within a community. By working on a playground-building effort, individuals may develop their skills at community organizing, forge meaningful local personal or business relationships, and acquaint themselves with local ordinances and city governance.
Numerous factors must come together for a successful playground build. However, a few key steps stand out as the most crucial elements of the project. Identifying an appropriate location and creating a safe and appropriate playground design are essential first steps. Obtaining all of the necessary permits and complying with local zoning laws is another crucial consideration before any building can take place. Successful playground planning also requires skillful organization of a sufficiently large group of volunteers. For the project to flow smoothly, the group of volunteers should be organized to best reflect the group's mixed skill sets. The financial side of playground planning is likewise critical to the project's success. Experienced financial professionals may lend their support to a playground build by supporting in assessing the project's overall costs and working in concert with the group's fundraising team.
Essentially, adults of all kinds can benefit from volunteering on a community playground project. Likewise, these community-minded projects can use individuals of all backgrounds and with all kinds of skill sets.
- KaBOOM!: Playgrounds that Build Communities: Building community playgrounds together can enrich connections among local adults as well as children, according to this report.
- Let Them Be Kids: This nonprofit organization assists in funding and advises community playground-building projects throughout Canada.
- Playground Design Library: Find creative playground designs from a varied library, which is searchable according to price, building skill level, and material type.
- Tips to Make Your Playground Rock: Parents and playground-builders can find tips for rehabilitating or building a community playground here.
- Unlimited Play Services: A nonprofit organization offers design and development consultation for inclusive playgrounds.
- Safe Playground Build: This nationwide nonprofit helps to organize regular community playground builds around the country.
- Building Safe Playgrounds and Neighborhoods: Before building a playground, volunteers can learn about safe playground-building practices from this handbook.
- Tips for Building a Great Playground: Here are the fundamental tips and first steps toward planning a community playground build.
- Fundraising Pack: This packet on playground fundraising includes creative ideas and inspiring stories.
- Raising Money for Your Parks: A comprehensive booklet on fundraising strategies, this guide is aimed at public parks and playground projects.
- Fundraising Tips and Ideas: This general resource on fundraising especially targets parents and teachers.
- Playground Design and Equipment: In this article on effective playground design, the author especially focuses on designing playgrounds for safety, enjoyment, and accessibility.
- Public Playground Safety Checklist: Here is a basic list of design features any playground should have to ensure safe play.
- Age-Appropriate Design: Learn the right playground features to ensure safe play among children of mixed ages.
- The Benefits of Parks: An assessment on the benefits of community parks and playgrounds looks at various angles (including public health, property values, environmental factors, etc.).
Find more about the author: Kim Hart