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Play Areas for Kids

By: Chris Nickson - Updated: 17 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
Community Play Area See-saw Climbing

Green spaces and parks are vital to a community. They offer freedom to walk and play that just can’t be found at home. For those who live in flats they can be the only space where kids can run freely.

One thing that enhances a park is a safe play area for younger children. That’s not just swings but a see-saw, climbing equipment, slides and other equipment where they can enjoy themselves for a while as their mothers or parents sit close by. It’s a good opportunity for them to wear themselves out. But not all communities have play areas, sadly. Negotiating and arranging for one is an excellent way to improve your neighbourhood.

How to Get a Play Area

The first thing you’re going to need is permission from and the co-operation of the local council. Because of that, it’s simplest if a Resident’s Association or a community group – and kind of official or semi-official body – approaches the Parks Department.As a general rule, these applications will be looked on favourably, especially if you can produce statistics regarding the number of young children in the community, and the facilities currently available for them.

What will certainly help your cause is if you can produce a plan for buying and installing the equipment, as well as maintaining the area. It’s a sad fact that many councils are on a tight budget, so a show of community strength to finance the play area will show how serious and committed you are to the project. In all likelihood the council will be willing to prepare the area for you.

Equipment and Volunteers

Having convinced the council, the next step is to raise the money for your play area. With your goal set, approach area businesses – and don’t be afraid of asking the big ones – to see how much they’d be willing to donate.

Don’t be shy about applying for grants. Several organizations, such as Living Spaces, give money for projects like these. Contact the local infants’ school and talk to the Parents’ Association, they might well be willing to help in various ways.

You can also arrange fundraising activities that bring in the local community centre. Of course, all of these need volunteers willing to give time and effort to the cause, so assemble a pool of them and assign tasks.

Installation and Maintenance

Once you’ve raised the money, it’s time to work with the council to set a date to install the equipment, especially if they’re preparing the ground. The chances are they won’t supply labour to help with the installation, so you’ll need a volunteer party for that.

Make it a community event, and on the weekend to maximise the number of people willing to help. Remember, it’s not simply a case of setting up the equipment, you’ll need playchips or some other cover for the ground to help keep the children safe. Additionally, you’ll need to fence off the area and have benches for parents. With enough people, this can all be done in a day, or at the very least over the two days of the weekend.

Ask local businesses to supply snack and drinks for those taking part.Your play area will need regular inspection and maintenance. Much of that can be done be people in the community, but it will still need to be arranged on a schedule, and you’ll need volunteers to carry it out.

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