April 08, 2011 Kerala Taylor

5 Great Done-in-a-Day Playground Upgrades for National Volunteer Week

This Sunday, April 10 marks the beginning of National Volunteer Week--a great incentive to beautify your neighborhood playground, add more play elements and encourage community building.

Here are five "playground upgrade projects," along with links to step-by-step instructions. With the proper preparations, these are all designed to be done in two to six hours. Set aside a day, invite your neighbors, and choose a few projects to help ensure that everyone--from preschoolers to grandparents--can get involved.


Chessboard tabletop

Add a twist to your existing picnic tables. As people of all ages enjoy playing chess and checkers, these tabletops can help motivate teens, adults, and seniors to frequent your playspace. > Learn how to paint a chessboard tabletop



A chalkboard gives children a space to be artists! Children can collaborate to make murals, play games like tic-tac-toe and keep score for field and asphalt games. > Learn how to build a chalkboard


1' x 1' murals

Give each child a square piece of plywood to paint to beautify the play area. Finished squares can be fastened to a chain-link fence or drilled into wooden walls or fence posts. Consider providing focus with a common theme, like fruits and vegetables or sea creatures. > Learn how to create 1' x 1' murals


Painted map

A KaBOOM! favorite, a painted map brings color to any playspace. Children will learn about geography as they create the map and play on it for years to come. > Learn how to paint a map


Planter bench

A configuration of benches creates a designated area for neighbors to gather together. With this combination bench/planter, you not only beautify your playspace, but also encourage a stronger sense of community. > Learn how to build a planter bench


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