Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Building a Playground: Part 2

According to an article written by Valle Dwight, every school can have a fun and safe playground. Is your school's play structure worn out, even dangerous? This is day two of the instructions on getting that playground up and going.  By following this step-by-step guide, you can create a play space so dazzling that even the coolest fifth graders will come out and play.

Raising the money

New play structures can be pricey, so your group should start fundraising right away. If your school's PTO provides funds for school projects, that's the first place to start. The fundraising committee for Stowe's playground project also solicited local businesses, conducted a direct mail appeal, ran a can and bottle drive, organized a benefit concert, and threw a fund-raising dance that included a silent auction and raffle.

Along with community support, look for grants: For more grant-writing tips, go to the Peaceful Playgrounds website (look especially for information on the Department of Education Physical Education Progress grants). Companies such as Lowe's and State Farm Insurance provide playground construction grants. Or approach playground vendors directly and ask if they offer donations or discounts. For online fundraising, try, which provides a platform to describe your project and an easy way for donors to contribute.

Creating a plan

Next, decide what the new playground will look like. Stowe’s group went straight to the source: They asked kids to describe their dream playground. Many asked for swings and slides, but some had more elaborate requests, including swimming pools, hot tubs -- and even a flying pig. Stowe's committee also surveyed staff, teachers, and parents and visited other schools for ideas. Based on input from the entire school community, they created a playground plan.


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