The Perfect Playground Design Day Guide

The Perfect Playground Design Day Guide

The playground planning process is best executed with a playground committee and when individuals come from a variety of professions and age ranges. That is why we have teamed up with Play by Design, LLC to offer you a playground kick-off event!
The playground design is imagined by the children, drawn by hand, and presented to the community at a public “pep rally” event in the evening. Here are the next steps to take. Schedule a free collaboration session if you have any questions; we are here to help.

Deciding On Your Budget

Playground budgets can range from $20,000 to more than $1,000,000. It helps to establish at least  a range or a goal to work toward. Your budget will help us determine if you should pursue a  custom-designed PBD playground or manufactured playground. It’s important to establish this  prior to Design Day so your PBD designer can prepare accordingly for the Design Day event.


Schedule Your Design Day

An action-packed day that begins with our designer visiting the site, interviewing children, drawing a schematic design, and ending with an evening public celebration to unveil the playground design to the whole community and/or school.

Here is what we'll need to know:

  • What day works best for you?
  • Do you have a theme or any design criteria?
  • Where will you build the playground?
  • Do you have an available site?
  • Don’t forget to get a survey of the site
  • How many children are in each grade level?
  • Who will be using the playground?

Setting Up Your Playground Committee

The playground planning process is best executed with a playground committee. The process works best when individuals come from a variety of professions and age ranges. Reach out to different members in the school to form the committee. Responsibilities include volunteer recruitment, fundraising, public relations, tools, materials, food, childcare, site coordinator, special needs, and art & special features (if applicable for community-build process, discuss with PBD). You can begin the process without all of these, just having a core group with fundraising, public relations, and possibly special needs is a great place to start.

  • A successful project will be the result of your ability to organize a good core committee and use your community’s resources.
  • If you have 3-8 people willing to be a part of the project, you are off to a good start.
  • We then work closely with you to prepare to build your playground. We help you organize the committee and show you ways to raise funds, publicize the project, and continue to recruit many volunteers (if applicable).



Getting The Word Out

Call the local newspaper, radio and TV stations. Maybe even start a website or Facebook page. We have examples—give us a call if you would like to see some other successful sites. Let the community know that you are going to build a new playground. Include all community members. You will be surprised at how many people want to help or even donate!

Preparing For Design Day

In a Nutshell

The evening before, PBD’s designer meets with your committee over dinner to get to know each other, discuss the process, and review the design objective. The next morning, the designer will interview the children for their dream playground ideas, then they will create a schematic design of the playground that day. In the evening, there is a public unveiling of the design to the parents, children, and community members.

As with any special event, it is essential to have a plan (and a camera!). The following outline will help ensure your Design Day’s success.

Before Design Day

Get the word out! Public relations are key. Publish an announcement in the paper of your plan to build a playground. Include a brief description of the unique community-built process that will achieve it. Include the projected Design Day date, describing the magic that will happen on that special day: a playground design imagined by the children.

Please note that it is critically important to notify the local media—newspapers, TV, radio—and invite them to cover various aspects of the Design Day.

Have children make drawings, collages, or murals of their dream playground. Our designer will review these drawings the night before Design Day. They can line the hallways or go up on the walls of the evening meeting room.

Remember, Design Day is an educational event, showing children how the design process works, as well as getting the community to understand the objective of your project goal. A special effort should be made to ensure that moms and dads and other “important” people show up to the evening meeting! They’ll see the kids’ involvement, learn about the new design and the process, and pick up the spirit of the day and the vision of their future playground. Seize this opportunity to garner volunteer support for the various committees that will make your project a success.

Sample Design Day Schedule

This is an example of a typical action-packed Design Day schedule, review this with your designer, some of the times can change if needed:

Evening Before Design Day:

5:00-6:00 pm. Site meeting (meet at the site with any committee members / maintenance person, parks person)
6:00-7:30 p.m. Committee Meeting (anyone interested in being a part of the steering committee – no kids)


Design Day:

7:30-8:00 am. Breakfast at Hotel


 8:15-10:15 a.m. Children’s interviews (Meetings are 13 minutes each with 2 minutes for transition) generally with 2 classrooms combined in one room (40 to 50 children per interview).
8:30-8:45 - 3rd grade
8:45-9:00 - 2nd grade
9:00-9:15 - kindergarten
9:15-9:30 - kindergarten
9:30-9:45 - 1st grade
9:45-10:00 - 4th grade
10:00-10:15 - 5th grade


 10:30-6:30 p.m. Our designer draws in a quiet room and finishes the preliminary schematic design. The public meeting room is decorated at this time in preparation for the kids/parents public evening meeting (the unveiling).


3:00-6:00 p.m. Committee members and volunteers put up kids’ drawings, decorate, and set up for the Celebration


6:30-8:00 p.m. Community Celebration!
6:30-6:35pm - Introduction by General Coordinator
6:35-6:50pm - Kids performance
6:50-7:30pm - Designer shows power point, describes
process, and unveils new design
7:30-8:00pm - Cookies and socializing


Need To Have:

  • Screen
  • Projector
  • Microphone
  • An easel for unveiling the schematic drawing (a 24x36 sheet of paper)

So, there you have it! Design Day serves as a rocket launch pad for the very exciting journey that will culminate in a one-of-a-kind custom playground, imagined by the kids and built by the community in a barn-raising style event!

Are you ready to experience your very own design day? Schedule a free collaboration session with us so we can begin the process together! Before you know it, you will be unveiling the playground design that your community and/or school choose and designed yourself!

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