Planning your play area – things to do

Play in the Community

Planning your play area – things to do

If you have decided that you want to develop a new play area, we can help. We have put together some practical ideas to help you get started on your play area. Here we offer a practical step-by-step guide for planning a play area in your community.

Involve people in your play space project

Developing a play area gives lots of opportunities for people to contribute skills, time and ideas. We recommend you involve council officers, local community groups and organisations, children and teenagers – making sure you include disabled children and teenagers, families, the local community and local residents, too.

Draw up a project plan

A project plan is a helpful tool that will help you keep your project on track. Write down the main aims, tasks, timelines and responsibilities in your project. It’s sensible to check the plan regularly so that you can:

  • see your progress
  • make a note of any changes to the project
  • make sure you’ve remembered everything.

Create a design brief

A design brief shows your key ideas and hopes for the play area. It will be a guide for the people who design the play area. You can include the ideas and views of the people you have involved, and the information you’ve found out about the location. A design brief will help you and your designer develop a clear understanding of your project.

Write a communications plan

A communications plan is a way of telling your story so that people understand your project and will want to support it. It helps you be clear about what you need to say, who you need to say it to, and the most effective way of saying it. There are lots of different ways to tell your story – including personal contacts with the local community, posters and flyers, newsletters, social media, videos and press releases.

Make a maintenance plan

Ongoing care and maintenance are essential to the success of a play area. The design for your play area should include details of how it will need to be looked after and maintained. Try to plan for low-tech, easily manageable maintenance. Remember that whoever is responsible for the play area will need to keep records of maintenance, inspections and repairs.

Prepare a fundraising plan

It’s likely that funding will come from a range of sources, including large national funders, trusts, businesses and individual donations – all as a result of your fundraising activities. A fundraising plan can help you work out how you will reach your target and how to use your time and energy most effectively.

It can be useful to split your plan into smaller stages that are more achievable. Start with the simplest part and add to the play area when funding allows. Remember that you will also need funding to cover the costs of maintaining the play area.

Want to know more?

For more information about developing a play area, take a look at our Play Wales publication, Developing and managing play spaces – community toolkit