Designing with Children Watch video

Transform a school space into a more nurturing environment with your learners' participation!

Designing with Children is a creative approach to re-imagining cities and communities developed by Play Africa to place children's needs and perspectives at the forefront of community and city development efforts. We have created an open-source toolkit to make this approach widely accessible and replicable, supporting local adaptation and implementation of the "Designing with Children" approach...

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Designing with Children is a creative approach to re-imagining cities and communities developed by Play Africa to place children's needs ...

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Join the communities already benefitting from starting a Designing with Children

You'll get guides and resources on how to bring this idea to life.

There is no funding available for this idea in South Africa, but these resources will still help to make your project happen!

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"We work with children in most of our work and we always strive towards implementing activities where children’s voices are heard but what intrigued me is using design thinking to create safe spaces for children and have their voices heard. We usu...

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Designing with Children
Nozuko Gysman

How to start a project on ChangeX

  • 1

    Create your project page

    Click the green start button to register and set up your project page. It’s quick, free and easy.

  • 2

    Complete a 30 Day Challenge

    Complete simple steps in 30 days to get your project off the ground.

  • 3

    Activate your project

    Follow the 5 Step Guide and your action plan to bring the project to life.

  • 4

    Share impact

    Share impact by posting a summary and photos and completing a survey.

Great for

  • South African educators for children aged 7-12 who are passionate about creative and playful learning in the school environment.
  • Educators committed to utilizing the open-source and adaptable toolkit, receiving virtual training and guidance, and facilitating workshops using the Designing with Children approach.
  • Educators committed to taking the time to go through the open-source toolkit resources receive virtual training and guidance, enabling them to adapt and facilitate workshops with children using the Designing with Children approach.
  • Educators in all the 9 provinces of South Africa
  • Educators who work in low-resourced schools

Designing with Children project essentials

5 Step Guide

  • Start with an idea!
  • Attend Designing with Children training
  • Implement your own design thinking workshop
  • Synthesize workshop outcomes
  • Open your playscape!


Suggested: Starting this idea consists of going through the toolkit resources (approx. 3 hours), participating in two virtual training sessions (2 hours each). Educators will have to further invest time for planning a workshop with children in their school (approx. 1 day), running the workshop(s) (half a day), and planning for execution of the synthesized design outcome (timeframe determined by Designing with Children project timeline).


More information on how to get started and any resources shared by the Designing with Children

39 Designing with Children projects have already been started

See where

Meet the Social Innovator

Welcome to Play Africa's Designing with Children project on ChangeX. Play Africa is delighted to work alongside educator champions in children's lives across South Africa to transform school spaces using the Designing with Children approach. We are looking forward to transformed school spaces informed by learners' creative ideas and solutions. Educators will be empowering learners to implement their creative ideas and drive meaningful change in their schools.

Futhi Mbongwe, Interim Managing Director of Play Africa

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Why a 30 day challenge?

    The 30 Day Challenge was developed by our Team based on our experience working with communities. We’ve learned that the first weeks are critical to build momentum and get off to a good start with any community project. Teams who complete these steps within the first month are much more likely to successfully complete their project!

    The Challenge is a series of simple steps that each applicant has to complete to get their project off the ground and unlock funding, if there is funding currently available for that idea in your region. Steps include watching a video and/or reading content, having a call with a ChangeX team member, forming a team so that you have support, having your first team meeting, sharing a team photo, and sharing a project action plan.

  • What can funding be used for?

    Once funding is received it can be used to cover direct set-up costs of the new community project. For example space rental, insurance fees, seeds and planting materials, tools, training fees; pretty much any materials you might need for a project that benefits your community.

    Funds cannot be used for the costs of work that has already been carried out, costs unrelated to the setup and maintenance of the new project, payments to group members for their work on the project. Funds can’t be used for the promotion of religious causes, non-charitable activities, sponsorship or fundraising events. Please read the terms and conditions for further details.

  • How do I know if there is funding available?

    On idea pages, if there is funding available for the idea in your region you will see “Funding available” and the region listed in the turquoise box. When you first login you will also see a green banner at the top of the screen saying “live funds near you” if there is funding available in your region. The ChangeX homepage will feature those live funds near you.

    A note on the waitlist: when all the funding has been allocated to applicants, new applicants will go on a waitlist. If some applicants that are in the fund don’t successfully complete the 30 Day Challenge their funding will be released and can be then allocated to those on the waitlist. To see if you are going on a waitlist check the main fund page, ideas fully allocated will have the note “Join the waitlist” instead of “Apply to start”.

  • What is ChangeX?

    ChangeX is a platform that connects communities to proven ideas and funding.

    By empowering local changemakers with proven ideas from social innovators and accessible funding from our partners, we aim to build healthier, more inclusive and sustainable communities. Our work is aligned to the UN Sustainable Development Goals and together with our partners, we aim to impact 1 billion people globally by 2030.

    • Communities: Get the funding, resources and support you need to start impactful projects in your community.
    • Social innovators: Connect with local changemakers, access funding to scale your idea, and impact more communities globally.
    • Funders: Fund the themes and regions they care most about, with measurable impact, and at global scale.

    We believe that by bringing the best social innovations and the world’s changemakers together in a shared community, we can accelerate the spread of innovations across the world and have a bigger impact. Together we aim to unleash the potential of changemakers by enabling collaboration, by sharing knowledge and resources, by connecting changemakers across different disciplines and innovations and by opening up access to the world’s best proven social innovations to everyone.

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  • Play Parks

    Play Parks offers free and accessible physical activity sessions once a week for children, fostering their fundamental movement skills, social connections, and engagement with their local community.

Start a Designi...