Community playgrounds provide a host of benefits that go beyond giving kids something fun and entertaining. They give children the chance to hone key physical, cognitive, emotional and social skills. Kids are constantly learning through play – interacting with other kids, sharing and making new friends. This increased interaction with children of all abilities and backgrounds gives them a more open view of the world, as well as the opportunity to form new relationships.
If you’ve been hired to build a playground for a community, you’ll need to remember that this requires careful execution, good organization and thorough preparation.
Here are a few suggestions to make sure that your build goes smoothly:
1. Think About the Community
The most vital tip to consider when building a community playground for the children is to think about who you’re building for.
If you are building a toddler playground, take note that this is for children between the ages of two and five. So consider the setting and the age range.
Here are a few guide questions that you can answer:
- What types of equipment will be beneficial for the kids who will be using the playground the most?
- Will the community playground be part of a large community serving hundreds of families each week?
- Will the playground serve students at a daycare or a sizable portion of a neighborhood?
Although you have the option to answer these questions on your own, you should survey the teachers and parents who will bring their little ones to use the community playground when it is completed. Understanding their needs and preferences can be helpful as you design the layout of the playground and choose your materials and equipment.
2. Sort the Materials and Equipment You’ll Need
Once you’ve ordered the equipment and materials you’ll need to build the playground, take the time to open the boxes, do some sorting and count the individual pieces. Please do take note that this is an organized process, not a Christmas morning free for all.
Make sure to inquire with the vendor on how to open and sort the equipment. If you come across problems during shipping, such as the dimensions being incorrect in your ordered galvanized steel pipe, get in touch with the manufacturer or vendor as soon as possible for guidance.
When you stay organized and keep an inventory log, you can reach out to the vendor right away. What’s more, you’ll have vital information like the description of the problem, model number and order number right at your fingertips. Your vendor will typically work to fix problems as quickly as possible.
On top of equipment, you’ll need to do an inventory of your hardware. You’ll want to put one person in charge of this responsibility. They will have to keep inventory, arrange them in numerical order and hand them out to team members as necessary to build and complete a particular component of the playground.
3. Prep the Surfacing Area
If the surfacing of your community playground does not require professional installation, you’ll most likely receive this material around the same time as your ordered equipment. Make sure, though, that you have an area in mind to unload that is close enough to the community playground site and accessible to the delivery truck to make transporting the materials and equipment easy.
Getting the surface area ready will make your team members happy. They will be using wheelbarrows and tarps to move the surfacing to the community playground from the unloading site. A close unloading site, therefore, will save time and energy.
On the other hand, if you’re having your surfacing professionally installed, leave the work to the installers. They will take care of the installation and delivery details once your volunteers are finished.
4. Get People to Help You Build Your Community Playground
Building a community playground is not something you can do on your own or with a small team. You need a lot of people to get this play area constructed quickly and safely.
So organize your team. Set up a registration table that will allow skilled people to volunteer. Make sure they fill out the sign up, waiver and photo release forms. Also, have your volunteer team put on name tags, so they can get to know one another more quickly.
Once you have your volunteers, introduce them to your onsite supervisor. This professional will help make your build run more smoothly. Your onsite supervisor will also offer recommendations on dividing your volunteers into teams and organizing them efficiently.
Given that the build day is long, remember to treat your volunteers well. Give them scheduled breaks, supply snacks and create team cheers to keep people motivated.
These four tips will help you successfully build a community playground. Once you’ve built the playground, don’t forget to clean up the site.