Frequently Asked Questions
Does Playground Ideas charge any fees?
We are a nonprofit organization, so all our resources are offered free of charge. There are no fees charged to create an account, start a project page, or download handbooks or designs.
When someone donates to a project, they can choose to also make a donation to support Playground ideas This keeps all our resources free to anyone, anywhere, always.
What forms of payment do you accept for project donations?
We use Paypal to process both Paypal account and credit card transactions for secure low-fee donations.
If I donate, where does the money go?
A small group of private philanthropists cover our administrative expenses so that your money goes directly to the cause. This means 100% of what you donate to Playground Ideas goes towards expanding global access to play.
How does Playground Ideas get its funding?
Our work is funded by generous individual donors and corporate playground sponsors who leverage their work in the play industry to make an impact globally. You can donate or become a Play Pages Sponsor.
I am a builder and would like to help build a playground – how can I help?
Sounds great, there are loads of projects that would love your help. For projects around the world, visit our Volunteers page.
I am a designer and would like to help but I cant travel – how can I help?
No problem, you can help right from your desk! We truly appreciate all the help we receive and you would make the perfect intern to help us do more designs. Visit our Fellowships & collaborations page or drop us a line.
What is your approach to child protection in developing world countries?
Playground Ideas’ Child Protection Policy can be viewed here.
I would like to send some second-hand equipment from my home-town to a poor community overseas. Is this a good idea?
Before you go ahead with this, be very careful about calculating the true costs of transport shipping etc as this can be prohibitive to some parts of the world. You may also have to pay unexpected taxes (and sometimes even bribes). This usually stops this process from working as it can be costly.
Can I volunteer?
You can volunteer or get a fellowship/internship with us in Australia to help create new designs, write new resources or just lend us a hand responding to all the project questions we get asked every day.
Can I work at Playground Ideas?
Yes. We will post any current openings on our Fellowships and Collaborations page. Please note these positions are currently unpaid. Also, if you sign up for our newsletter we can let you know of any vacancies that do come up. If you are super keen and have an idea for a cool project, please contact us – fortune favours the bold!
Do you run workshops or courses?
Yes. We provide free access to designs and handbooks that contain everything you need to know about how to complete a project, so study hard.
If you need something more customised, would like us to do team training or are keen for us to give a presentation at an event or conference, please contact us.
Where have your playgrounds been built?
All over the globe. Eighty-five countries at last count.
Where are you based?
Getting a Playground Built
How to do I prevent car tires from collecting water and breeding mosquitoes?
This is an important thing to consider! In each tire of each element you build, cut a small hole at the lowest point of the tire. This will allow water to drain freely. You can see examples of this in our “Playground Builder’s Handbook.”
- How do I cut car tires?
How do I raise funds for my playground project?
Within your account dashboard, you have the option to set up a crowdfunding page. You can fill in your fundraising goal, set “Project Rewards” for donations and post updates for your donors. Projects successful at online fundraising often have clear descriptions and pictures, and videos are a big bonus! Plus don’t forget to share your project with family and friends, especially through social media. We often share great projects on Facebook and in our newsletters to help you drum up support. The “Playground Builder’s Handbook” also has lots of great fundraising ideas you can try within your own community.
How do I build a playground when I can’t get good-quality wood or steel?
Time to get creative! Playgrounds can take many forms, and if all you have is soil, why not build lots of hills, or maybe you can build a mud-brick or earth-bag cubby? Building with used car tires are also a great option. Many of the designs in our Design Library are made from tires because they are cheap, durable, safe, and easily found nearly everywhere. From all the playgrounds we’ve built around the world, we’re yet to come across the situation where we couldn’t find low-cost, local and recycled materials to build a playground. It just takes a little imagination and thinking outside of the box.
Why not just copy a tried-and-tested playground design? Why bother with a custom design based on community feedback? Doesn’t everyone say the same thing anyway?
Designing custom sites based on community feedback ensures projects are culturally sensitive, sustainable and, of course, amazing for the children.
We work to a 5-step approach: Listen, Plan, Design, Build and Maintain.
Listen: Engage the community to assess the desire/need for a playground, building a conversation about what the community wants and what cultural expressions of play they want to uphold and celebrate.
Plan: Collect site information and all the details.
Design: Create a custom design that fits with the school’s needs, the local materials, and their maintenance budget.
Build: Work with local builders to construct the project and leave the community with a beautiful, appropriate space
Maintain: Ensure the space remains usable for years to come
If I use local and recycled materials, do I need to be careful of hazardous chemicals or materials?
Yes. Laws and standards are not as well governed in the developing world as they are elsewhere. For example, some paints still contain lead and some termite treatments on wood are not safe for children. After you read the safety handbook materials section, if you are unsure, ask questions and do your research.
How long does it take to build a playground?
It can vary. The first playground we built in 2007 took six weeks from initial concept to construction. Since then we’ve improved how we do things and are now building playgrounds in as little as 5-10 days. Generally, a minimum of two weeks construction time is a good estimate of how long to plan for to ensure you have time to sort out the inevitable bumps you hit along the way. You will need additional time on top of this for planning designing, fundraising etc.
Can I show you my playground designs?
We’d love to see your design and If we approve your design and can make it meet the safety standards, we will add it to our design library. Submit a design by shooting us a message on our contact page.
- Do the playground designs adhere to safety standards?
What are Project Rewards?
If you start a project, you may want to raise funds. Your fundraising will be more successful if you can offer potential donors something in exchange, such as a T-shirt, a local souvenir or having donor’s names painted on the playground itself. It’s up to you. Rewards to friends who want to donate are offered through your Project Page.
Can I start more than one project?
Yes you can! If you build more than one playground, please start a project page for each so we can share your amazing work with the world!
How does a project page work?
By creating a project page, you can let the world learn about your project, so people can donate, volunteer or simply follow your progress. You can start a project page here.
Are the plans available in another language?
All the designs use pictures, so regardless of language anyone can use them.
Are the plans easy to follow?
Yes! Prior building experience is not necessary and most of the plans are all pictures.
If I build a playground in another part of the world, who will maintain it once I return home?
If you involve the local community, and build using local tools, skills and materials, your playground should be very easy to maintain over time. In our handbooks you will be given advice on how to teach others about the importance of play, how they can maintain the playground and how they can even build more like it.
What if I don’t own the right tools?
All our designs are made to be built from tools that are easily sourced anywhere in the world. Our manuals teach you how to find everything you need to build your playground: tools, funding, raw materials, helpers and community spirit!
Who can help me build a playground?
You can source volunteers through your project page and the website will connect you with other in your country building playgrounds, but we also encourage you to involve the local community. Doing this ensures that the playground will be maintained and looked after in the long run. Read more about ideas for harnessing local support in our “Playground Builder’s Handbook.”
For big projects, Playground Ideas can be contracted for on the ground support. Learn more here and get in touch. Visit our “Find a builder” page to search for playground building organizations in your region.
How do I build my own playground?
Though this site you can create a project page to raise funds, get volunteers and share your learning with others wanting to build in your region. You can also download over 150 designs, a playground safety guide, and our “Playground Builder’s Handbook,” which will walk you through everything you need to know to make your playground dreams a reality.
Can someone from Playground Ideas come and help with the build?
Yes, but we only suggest this for projects with a budget over US$5,000. For smaller projects, we encourage you to read all the handbooks and do it yourself with local skilled artisans and builders – it’s a much more effective use of your funds. To contact us to discuss your project, drop us a line here.
How do I get access to the Playground Ideas handbooks?
Create an account and you can access or download all handbooks free of charge.