Service Project Update: Building a Playground

Emily and I have been thinking about our service project a lot.  We’ve come up with different ideas and plans on how we are going to approach building a playground.

We have contacted Terri Johnson, Director of Academic Affairs at Quinnipiac University and Tamarin, Founder of the Tippy Toes Foundation.  Terri Johnson has yet to contact us back, but Tamarin gave very useful advice.

When talking to Tamarin, she suggested that we take the simple approach to building the playground.  Instead of going into the project having a standard American playground in our minds, we have to change our perspectives to that of the kids in the community.  She told us to think in terms of tires, ropes and wood.  Because the kids are not used to the conventional structures of a playground, we can make a simple structure that will allow the kids to have fun while getting a good amount of exercise.

Emily and I are planning to use the resources that are in Africa already.  Tamarin let us know that there are a plethora of tires that we can use to build the playground.  Therefore, we do not have to worry about transporting tires to South Africa.  However, we are planning on bringing our own rope and different activities for the kids to play.  We are thinking about bringing “Kan Jam”, baseball mitts and balls, a wiffleball set, and a football.

Tamarin has helped a tremendous amount.  Before she suggested taking a simple approach, Emily and I were planning on a building the stereotypical playground.  I am very thankful that we have Tamarin’s help, support, and suggestions.

Our project outline consists of different designs and courses consisting of tires and ropes.  This will be the community’s playground.  However, we are also going to give the kids different activities to enhance their “playtime”.

The only equipment that we will be bringing with us to the community is the rope and the different activities. Therefore, the costs of the equipment will not be a lot. The fundraising that we are planning to do will help us with the costs tremendously.

Thus far, there have not been many challenges.  We have a good idea of what we are going to do and how we are going to do it.  I am so excited to build the playground for the community and make a difference in the kid’s lives.

Overall, this past week has been very productive.  We have changed our American perspective of a playground into an African perspective.  We have discussed transportation and costs and are ready to start fundraising and getting everything we need to conduct this service project!


4 Comments on “Service Project Update: Building a Playground

  1. I think it is so great that you are using the resources from their community to build the playground. Like you mentioned, this will save your team so much time and money. You don’t need to pay for the product or worry about shipping the equipment there. Also, this could be a possible business for the community to start- a way of creating a sustainable community. The community could sell these tires to other local villages to begin to generate revenue. Regarding the playground, the only thing that worries me about having play equipment such as wiffle balls, bats, and hula hoops is how are you going to store these products? You cannot leave them out in the open because there is the risk of theft. Maybe you should consider buying a bin with a lock on it, therefore, these toys can be used for many years.

  2. Wow seems like you are 100% on track! Perpectives can not be changed unless willing, so thank-you for choosing to rethink things that are a given to you. I love the idea of some extra activities although I am not sure what Kan Jam or Wiffleball is, they both sound super fun! Christine raises an important issue regarding safety of the activities. We are working on getting a old container onto the property so as to lock up the games as well as tools used in the veggie gerden. The community leader and maybe one other will have the keys to this container. Am going to make a rule that the children may only play when their homework is complete, one of the unemployed mom’s could keep an eye on this. By using this as an incentive we get (in a sneaky kind of way but we will take what we can lol) getting them to improve their school work and change their own perspectives on the importance of “working hard and playing hard.” Am utterly amazed at the enthusiasm and effort that you have put into this project, can not wait to see it all come together. GOOD LUCK!!!

  3. I love this project I think most of all, and I think the ability to use the resources of the community will help your project alot. On the topic of utilizing the tires for building material, remember that the tires can be used in a number of different ways. I remember, when I was a kid, there was a tire park in my community down in Florida that not only had the tires used in the buildings, but also as the mulch for the playground; Also remember that tires can be used in so many different ways. One such example is the Tokyo Tire Park:

    Lastly, here is another website that might help in your ultimate building of your park; it’s a short how to guide, even though I bet that you all have already thought about it:

    Lastly, Tam I think that is a great idea (the one about not being able to use unless your homework is done); through my after school programs, that was one of the rules that we had to follow, and alot of the students that participated were in the higher percentage of the class. Good luck with everything!

  4. I think that it is a great idea that you both have rethought about the playground and are now going to use the resources that are in abundance at the sight you will be building on. There are so many different structures and obstacle courses that can be used with just tires and rope. It will also definitely cut down your costs and worries about transporting goods. Christine did bring up a good point, you would need something to make sure you could lock up the “activity” toys when they are not being used so they do not get stolen. And if they do get taken or misplaced, would you make sure to replace them? I think that these children are going to love this obstacle-type playground and these new activities that may have not been introduced to them yet. As Tamarin was saying, this playground will also be a good incentive to make sure the children get their school work done! I think you guys are doing a great job with this project!

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