Open-Source Playgrounds: Changing Lives from Azerbaijan to Zambia

Photo by PlaygroundIDEAS.

The good news in international development is that more children have access to schooling than in recent history, but the problem is that many do not reach their full developmental potential. While there are certainly myraid reasons for this failure to thrive, one social entrepreneur named Marcus Veerman has proposed a seemingly simple solution: increased play. According to Veerman, play is an essential learning tool that leads to better concentration and school attendance, among other benefits. The question is how to give children around the world regular and easy access to play.

Enter PlaygroundIDEAS, Veerman's not-for-profit organization that aims to change the culture of education and improve the wellbeing of children in under-resourced communities by “training and resourcing communities to build beautiful, safe playgrounds.” The organization began building playgrounds along the Thai-Burma border in 2008, an effort that later led to the creation of a website and online network of people improving access to play in multiple countries in Southeast Asia, South America, and Africa.

Today PlaygroundIDEAS has accumulated over 150 free, open-source designs in its design library. Anyone can use them to build safe and stimulating playgrounds. On October 7th, PlaygroundIDEAS launched the 150 Days of Play campaign, during which the organization will profile one design a day for 150 days. Check it out and stay tuned for upcoming design competitions. Or perhaps you’ll even create your own space for play?

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