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Improve a local park / playground

If there's a particularly shabby park/playground or piece of derelict ground near your school then this is a good activity to do. It's even better if you send copies of the completed work to the local council and they read it and do something about the area. Basically the activity involves designing a new playground or park for children. It helps if you start out with a visit to the existing site. The children (carefully supervised if there is dangerous material around!) should make a map of the area that you're going to work on. Once back in class they can design their own new park/playground. It's useful to have pictures/catalogues of playground equipment to give the children an idea of what they could include. It's important that they try and get a feel for the size of the area so they choose and fill it suitably with correctly sized equipment. Safety issues can be discussed including the laying of special materials on the ground.

Here's a copy of the survey we made on an existing playground and some of the ideas for improvement (discussion points) we came up with.

Things we saw
Things we could improve / add

graffiti on floor & walls -> old

repaint bars
remove graffiti -> how could we stop it?
grass (nice) -
floor hard improve floor -> safety, soft landing areas
rusty old bins new bins
lots of litter! -> why is it there?
traffic cone!
how could we stop litter?
three square areas, one round -> obviously where some playground equipment had been add new equipment -> roundabout, witch's hat etc.
cracked broken slabs, moss and weed growing in cracks repair -> dangerous
glass! -> why was it there? what dangers does it pose?
bits of plastic
beer cans
ban glass containters?
bottle bank -> put nearby?
benches (x2) more benches
swings -> seats wrapped up replace swings

As you can see there was lots wrong with the area we'd chosen! There were plenty of things to discuss and lots of possible follow ups (litter campaign posters, letter to council etc.) that came naturally from the activity.


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