The BackgroundPlayground Ideas was founded quite by accident. In 2007, Marcus followed his wife to Mae Sot Thailand. Soon after arriving Marcus agreed to help a local organisation build a playground. With a background in alternative education, a toolkit of basic building skills, and a generally inquisitive mind, Marcus threw together a simple design. He went on to build 40 playgrounds in the local communities. Little did he know this humble little playground would put him onto a path of over a decade of crazy playground building and the birth of an open-source movement which has helped to change the lives of over 2.3 million children in 143 countries. 2020 was the first year Playground Ideas supported more than 1000 playground builds helping over 500,000 children.Based on 60 years of longitudinal data, UNICEF identified 3 core needs for children to thrive (particularly after war, disaster, and from the effects of poverty.) (1)Nutrition, (2)Love and care. Equally important yet under prioritised is stimulation. The combination of toxic stress and lack of stimulation can delay a child’s development by years. Because humans develop so rapidly in their early years the effect of a lack of stimulation has a disproportionately large effect on that child and their capacities going into adulthood. This early development deficit leads to significant reductions in opportunity and capacity in adulthood. At the macro scale, the loss of human potential, GDP, and costs to healthcare from this, factor into the $US billions of losses for nations.Play also has an important role in the overprotected, overscheduled developed world. For an average child in an average suburb in a developed country, Play adds the unpredictable real world element to learning; supercharging the brain in skills essential for our complex lives. For the growing number of children living with toxic anxiety about their future, Play creates an oasis of low stress that can help them get back on the path of normal, healthy development.
How to get involved
The planning and build time will depend on how big your playground is but it may take 1 day a week for 2-3 months to get everything in place i.e. your team, funding, design, plan and build.