About us

Playground Ideas is a non-profit organization that supports anyone, anywhere to build a stimulating space for play using only local materials, tools, and skills.

Our model



Playground DIY projects are the core of our work. We were founded with a goal to provide free designs, how-to handbooks, and online support to empower communities around the world to build beautiful spaces for their children to play using only resources they can easily find locally. Since 2007, over 1,400 playgrounds have been built using this model.

Get started on your playground >


Custom design & on-site support

For larger projects, the Playground Ideas team can be contracted for custom design and on-site support. We’ve provided design schemes, team training, and build facilitation for projects in Australia, Brazil, Kenya, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Rwanda, Syria, Thailand, Vietnam and Uganda. If you have a budget over $5,000 and are planning to build anywhere from 1-1000 playgrounds, drop us a line. Let’s build something amazing together.

Contact us for a quote >


Global Play Alliance

Expanding global access to play requires a coalition of play advocates. That’s why we’ve formed the Global Play Alliance, a network of organizations focused on creating play opportunities for children in communities where these resources do not exist or are in short supply. This international network of play champions spans nearly every continent and is made up of playground builders, designers, parents, coaches, and playwork trainers.

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Our team


Marcus Veerman
Founder & CEO

His superpower: He’s the dreamer and schemer – always coming up with new, crazy big ideas for the future of Playground Ideas.

His favorite Playground Ideas resource: “The ‘Playground Builder’s Handbook’ – I wrote this how-to handbook based on everything I learned building 40 playgrounds along the Thai/Burma border.”

Jo profile pic

Joanna Francis
Operations & Community Engagement

Her Superpower: With a background in child development & child protection, Jo has the chops to help people to realise their playground dreams.

Her favourite Playground Ideas resource: “The ‘play infographic’. Translated into 23 languages, this is an amazing resource for people all over the world.”


Elizabeth Moreno
Social Engagement & Special Projects

Her superpower: Elizabeth’s expertise lies in engaging kids, teachers, and parents in community-led playground design – she’s done it all over the world!

Her favorite Playground Ideas resource: “The ‘Case for Play’ report. Wanna know why play can change the world? Read this.”


Vickie Burkinshaw
Board Member, Outgoing Chair

Her superpower: Vickie is Chief Changemaker at a consulting firm. She is a business facilitator, trainer, coach, writer and mentor…so…what superpower doesn’t she have?

Her favorite Playground Ideas resource: “The “motorbike” is such simple and creative design. It’s so fun seeing photos of kids all over the world riding their make-believe motorbikes!”

Eibhlin Fletcher pic

Eibhlin Fletcher
Board Member, Secretary

Her superpower: As a partner in a management consultancy firm, Eibhlin’s prowess in strategic planning and human development is indispensable.

Her favorite Playground Ideas resource: “Do yourself a favor and go “like” the Facebook page. You’ll get daily doses of great articles and stories about the power of play.”

Sally Law

Sally Law
Board Member

Her superpower: When she’s not managing Contracts & Legal at the Australian Grand Prix Corporation, Sally is making sure we’re crossing all our t’s and dotting our i’s.

Her favorite Playground Ideas resource: “Hands down my favorite design is the ‘Octopus Icosahedron‘. I would have LOVED playing on this as a kid!”

Emma Smith

Emma Smith
Board Member

Her superpower: Emma is a media, communications, and PR specialist – she’s getting the word out about Playground Ideas!

Her favorite Playground Ideas resource: “Every teacher needs to grab a copy of the “Loose Parts Manual.” It’s full to the brim with tips and tricks for creating playful opportunities for kids using nothing but ordinary materials like cardboard boxes and sticks.”

Toni Rikys

Toni Rikys
Board Member

Her superpower:Toni works for the Australian Government providing advice and support to Federal Parliamentarians and their staff. She’s amazing at stakeholder management!

Her favorite Playground Ideas resource: “The crowdfunding project pages are an amazing feature. I love learning about new playgrounds around the world and seeing communities reach their fundraising goals!”

TEDx Melbourne 2015

Marcus Veerman, CEO & Founder of Playground Ideas shares revolutionary ideas to address global poverty through the power of play.

Our story

From Marcus Veerman, CEO

In 2007, I was living in Thailand when a local NGO asked if I would help them build a playground. Throwing together a design and a crew of volunteers, we set to work, and before we had finished that first playground, the headmaster of a neighbouring school asked if we could help them do the same. And so it began. Requests began pouring in, and over the next two years a rag-tag gang of volunteers, artists, builders and makers built 40 playgrounds along the Thai-Burma border. I started posting photos of our work online, which led to my inbox being flooded with emails asking for playground building assistance from other parts of Thailand, and then from around the world. That’s when everything changed. Read the full story on Medium.com.

Our funding

A small group of private philanthropists cover our administrative expenses so that your money can go directly to the Playground Ideas cause. This means when you donate to us, 100% of the donation goes towards expanding global access to play. Our work is funded by generous individual donors as well as corporate playground sponsors, who leverage their work in the play industry to make an impact globally.

for playground companies


for philanthropic grants