Materials for Activity
- Newsprint with children's brainstorming ideas from Activity 5, Community Playground
- Model playground built in Activity 5
Preparation for Activity
- Building or renovating a playground is an ambitious, but very worthwhile project. Identify allies for initiating a community playground planning process, and plan to meet. Begin with leadership within your congregation, then consider building partnerships with other faiths or community groups.
- Determine whether your congregation or local community needs a new or remodeled playground. One impetus might be the need for a play space inclusive of children with disabilities. Other motives may be the opportunity to develop an unused parcel of land, or growth in your congregation's young family population.
- Go online to learn about community playgrounds. Search for "community playgrounds" to research projects around the U.S. or go to the website of Leathers and Associates, a nationwide consulting firm that helps design and build community playgrounds. Contact other congregations that have built community playgrounds and learn from them.
Description of Activity
Participants work with the congregation to design a new, accessible playground.
Plan a time to brainstorm ideas and a strategy for creating a real community playground. Talk with congregational staff and lay leadership and appropriate committees such as Social Action and Religious Education. Engage the parents of the children in Wonderful Welcome. Invite the congregation's youth to be involved including in leadership roles. You can involve the Wonderful Welcome families and others in a variety of ways, including:
- For your kick-off meeting, invite the children from Wonderful Welcome to show-and-tell about the model community playground they made. The children can also participate in the discussion about why a playground is needed and what it should have.
- The Wonderful Welcome families and others can become sponsors of the community playground by raising funds.
- Adults may have professional skills to contribute such as grant-writing, construction or financial management. Assess the skills and talents you have.
When the playground-building day comes, conduct it like a barn-raising and make sure everyone has a role and there is an opportunity for celebration of the community and its accomplishments.