Plan the Perfect Playground

Playground Planning and Budgeting

A Balanced Approach to Playground Planning

Building a successful playground is all about balance. You have to balance space with budget, play value with developmental benefits, and expectations with realistic goals. Whether this is your first playground or you're a veteran playground planner, we've found there are similar questions with every project, such as: 

  • What is the right amount of money to budget for my new playground?
  • ​Which playground equipment should I include in my design?
  • What funding options and fundraising ideas are available for a new playground?​
  • How long does it take to complete a playground installation?
  • What should I do to maintain my playground?

​To answer all of these questions, and to help you balance everything that goes into the process, GameTime offers Blueprint for Play - a comprehensive toolkit to help you plan, fund, design, build and sustain your new playground. Request a free copy to help you with your playground planning or contact your local GameTime representative to learn more. 


Assessing Needs and Budget

A good playground plan starts with assessing the needs of your community and preparing a budget. Playground budgets are usually determined by how many kids you expect to use your playground. A good rule to follow is about $1,000 per child. This means if you expect your playground to accomodate 50 kids, plan for $50,000. You'll also need to consider the type of equipment to include on the playground, whether your site needs additional work prior to installation, and other factors in your plan. Request the Blueprint for Play Plan It guidebook to learn more or read the Playground Planning 101 Series on our blog. 

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Playground Funding Options

Funding for a playground project comes from many different sources, including grants, public funds and community fundraisers. Unless your community has already set aside funds for your new playground, the funding process may take a few weeks or a few months, depending on how much money you need to raise. One of the keys to effective fundraising is to demonstrate how the playground will address a specific need in your community, such as fighting childhood obesity, creating a positive environment for children to socialize or providing an inclusive play environment for children and families of all abilities. Learn how to create a funding plan in the Blueprint for Play Fund It guidebook.

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Designing the Right Space for Your Community

A successful playground starts with a plan to engage local children, families and community stakeholders in the design process. Holding town hall meetings and community design sessions are important ways to make sure everyone supports the project and feels a sense of ownership in the new playground. It's also important to make sure you select playground equipment that provides developmental benefits for children of varying ages and skill levels, and that you consider the needs of children of all abilities to create an inclusive play experience for everyone. Learn more about the design phase of your playground project by requesting the Blueprint for Play Design It guidebook.

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Installing Your New Playground Equipment

GameTime's network of certified installers provide installation no matter where you live. From initial sitework to the final walkthrough, we offer a truly turnkey installation service. Many communities want to involve community volunteers in the process, and we encourage this idea! It's a fun way to get everyone excited about the new playground. It's also a great idea to schedule a grand opening event to celebrate the new playground with a ribbon-cutting ceremony or other special event. Learn more about the construction process in the Build It guidebook from Blueprint for Play.

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Sustain and Maintain Your Playground

Your new playground should last for years to come, as long as you follow a regular maintenance schedule. Most playground systems will last approximately 10-15 years before they need to be replaced. GameTime offers customers a Maintenance Guide to help you keep your playground to top shape. Activities and programming for your playground are important ways to make sure people enjoy the playground in new and meaningful ways. The Sustain It guidebook from Blueprint for Play illustrates a variety of ways to keep your community playground a fun place to gather, socialize and play. 

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