Playground Ideas: Supporting anyone, anywhere, to create time and space for play using only local tools, materials and skills
Playground Ideas equips anyone, anywhere to build creative, unique spaces for play using only local materials, tools, and skills. Through our open-source website and DIY plans, we have supported over 500 communities in 72 countries to build play spaces, impacting over 250,000 children.
From the founder, Marcus Veerman
Today, more children than ever are attending school, but access to education alone is not enough for a child to thrive. A staggering 60-66% of children in the developing world leave school without the literacy skills to even manage daily living and employment tasks. Early Childhood Education is essential to later life success, but poorly trained teachers, rote learning and packed classrooms in barren spaces are creating an environment that leaves children ill-equipped for the challenges of real life.
Research shows that children who have regular access to play, particularly in their first years, have higher IQs, are more self-regulated and creative, and as adults have less criminal activity, higher education levels, and higher wages. The availability of a play space provides a child with these direct benefits, regardless of the quality of education they may have access to. Playground Ideas supports communities to build their own play spaces using only local materials, tools, and labor. Through our website, we offer a 5-step building manual, safety manual, and over 150 DIY plans.
Who will benefit from this idea and where are they located?
To date, 516 playground projects have been added to our site. Many more use our resources without adding project profiles as our site receives over 4,000 hits per month. These projects span nearly every country in the developing world and have impacted over 250,000 children.
How could you test this idea in a quick and low-cost way right now?
Playground Ideas began in 2007 as a playground building project where a group of volunteers built 40 playgrounds along the Thai/Burma border over the course of two years. After our initial builds in Thailand, an assessment was carried out to evaluate impact. The data showed that the playgrounds improved school attendance rates and teachers reported that the playgrounds made their jobs easier in the classroom as the children were more focused and motivated. The playgrounds also had a positive effect on the local community as both Thai and Burmese children played together, building relationships previously unlikely.
By utilizing an open source approach, we have shifted our on-the-ground work to online knowledge sharing, enabling exponential growth at a low cost. Our current model allows us to expand access to play globally at a cost of only $1.50 per child and dropping as our impact grows.
What kind of help would you need to make your idea real?
The lack of play is a global epidemic and our children need an army of passionate people on their side. Our organization is made up of a collaboration of community builders, NGOs, volunteers, architects, designers, and child development experts. Join us.
Is this an idea that you or your organization would like to take forward?
Yes. I am ready and interested in testing this idea and making it real in my community.