Service Project- Problem Identification/Assessment: Playground

Emily Kline and I were assigned to make a playground for our service project.

As a kid growing up, I was always playing and enjoying toys, animals, and of course, playgrounds.  I can’t picture my childhood without them.

When I think of a playground I think of a community that involves only laughter, joy, and happiness. As I think back, a playground was like an escape. Kids leave their parents for a certain amount of time and their only care in the world is to go on the monkey bars or slide down the slide.

The kids living in the community of Varkplaas have nowhere to play or just be kids.  When they come home from school they immediately start caring for their younger siblings, acting as parental figures. We know that this is a problem because of Tamarin Simpson, the founder of The Tippy Toes Foundation.  She informed us how these kids don’t have anywhere to enjoy themselves and have fun.  They have nowhere to meet after school and play around.

There is a vital need for this project in South Africa because every kid deserves to be a kid. To escape from their poverty-stricken lives, each one of the children is entitled to playtime.

A solution to this lack of playground is to obviously build one for them.  However, it takes motivation, determination and of course, money.  But, if we put our minds to this project and do whatever we can to build this, I believe that we will go above and beyond our expectations.

We will need to start off with a list of the equipment that is crucial to building a playground. After we have a basic understanding of the equipment, metal, tools, and plastic that will be involved in building a playground we will have to figure out money issues.  This will range from how much the equipment costs to the transportation needed.

I believe that building a playground will enhance these kid’s childhoods and allow them to enjoy themselves.  It is an essential part of a child’s childhood and will definitely have a positive effect on their lives.

Overall, building a playground for these kids will not only help them, it will brighten their lives.

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5 Comments on “Service Project- Problem Identification/Assessment: Playground

  1. I think that this is a great idea! A playground will definitely allow these children to actually feel the way a kid should, at least for a the short time that they are playing. This will allow them to escape the problems that they must deal with that no child should have to deal with. It will allow them to get their minds off of the poverty that they live in, and rather cause them to be happy by encouraging them to play. You are definitely right, building a playground will “have a positive effect on their lives,” and it will also bring many smiles to children’s faces.

  2. Well done, you understand the importance of the playground. Just to give you further insight: the community has around 20 children living there. I believe that bored children are dangerous children because when bored, they go and look for entertainment which is usually with older children misbehaving in some way (like perhaps smoking). This has not quite happened yet with these children as they are still young but also why I feel this is important and why the mothers of Varkplaas have suggested this as a crucial need. These children deal with “grown up” things that we never had to. Social issues (unemployment, poverty, substance abuse, physical abuse etc.) they are unusually going to school in an attepmt to change their lives but this can not only be done through a limited education. This needs to be done by having a well rounded childhood, being able to laugh and play in a safe and secure environment. TIP: Try not to put the stereotyped (what we know a playground to be) version of a “playground” in your mind. Remember that they are not used to conventional structures so you can create or think of anything. The resources that are free to us are tyres and ropes, maybe usilise them in some way? The point I am trying to make is keep it simple, think of a simple structure that will be the base for excersize and fun, just be aware of what YOU consider a playground, smash those ideas and rethink from a more simple African perspective (e.g. if you told them about monkey bars they probably wouldnt know what you are talking about). LOVE the passion, you are FAB, keep going, See you soon 🙂

    • Thank you so much for the suggestions! Emily and I will definitely take that into consideration. I am so excited to start the project and to come to South Africa!! 🙂 See you soon!!

  3. I think this is a great idea. It seems to be a very simple method to bring some joy to an undeveloped community. If I had any concern about it, I would wonder if they might feel that the project is intrusive. They could feel that way, but from making an educated guess this type of “escape” could prevent these children to getting into other dangerous activities.

    Great idea.

  4. I really like the project that you guys have come up with. I have always known the importance of play in a child’s life, but it was not until my child development class this year that I really realized the impact play has on a child’s life and the negative effects that can come without play. That is why I see this project to be so important. It will not only provide meaning and fun in these children’s lives but it will help with their development. I commend you on choosing this as your service project.

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