March 21, 2018

Playground Sustainability 101: Special Events

Special Event Space

This is part two of our four-part series on Playground Sustainability. Read part one and take a look at our other Playground 101 posts.

Now that you've built your new playground, it's important to make sure it is being used by your community. A great way to engage the community is through special events. Your fun ideas are sure to draw a crowd. Here are some easy tips and things to keep in mind when creating and scheduling events and programs.

Assessing the Needs of Your Community

The events you choose to have in your playground should fit the wants and needs of your community and be designed to include people of all ages and abilities. A good way to find out what your community wants and needs is to ask them through surveys, interviews, public meetings, focus groups, suggestion boxes, and various social media platforms. Another thing to consider about events is that you might want to partner with a local organization to combine resources and grow your opportunities. You’ll also want to continually assess how your events are being received by the community so you know what activities the people enjoy and what they want more or less of.

Partnering for Success

Communities are searching for ways to fund and bring more opportunities for play and recreation to their citizens, but they often can’t afford these programs on their own. This is where partnerships come into play. Strong partnerships can increase the use of the playground and make sure that it sticks around for years to come. Some possible types of partnerships are public/public, public/private, public/non-profit, and faith-based.

Creating School-Park Partnerships

School-park partnerships can be a great solution to the need for volunteers, ideas, and funds to help support your community park. This type of partnership benefits both sides because the park gains funding and manpower and the school is given a space where kids can go before and after school to increase their access to play time. Other benefits of this type of partnership include resources such as shared facilities and equipment, increased visibility, accessibility, and walkability of programs to the neighborhoods they serve, and safer places for kids and families to play.

If you listen to your community, plan events that everyone wants and can participate in, create meaningful partnerships, and work with local schools, your new playground is bound to be a big success!

This post (and all of our posts from the Playground 101 series) is based on information found in Blueprint for Play, a comprehensive guide to Planning, Funding, Designing, Building and Sustaining a playground. Learn more and request your copy today.