May 11, 2010

Cool playgrounds! Wood & tires in Thailand

Playground in ThailandWhat is the state of play in the developing world? Marcus Veerman, founder of Go Play!, thinks it could be better.

When Marcus set off for Thailand, he was planning to draw from his experience at Hands On Learning, an Australian NGO. The idea was to get Thai schoolchildren involved in more hands-on, community-oriented work. It quickly became apparent what this work would be: Within weeks, a school asked if he would like to help build a playground. Marcus said, “Sure!” Now, two years and 45 playgrounds later, he is looking to expand his efforts to other developing countries.

His innovative model involves: 1) using materials already available in the community, 2) drawing from the expertise of community members to build the equipment—for instance, finding a local welder, and 3) involving kids and adults from the community in the build.

The result? Well, take a look for yourself:

Playground in Thailand

While Marcus is not sure how his playgrounds would fare in overly litigious countries like the United States, he makes a concerted effort to meet safety standards. And while playground costs here range from $30,000 to $1 million, Marcus’ budget for each playground to date has been under $5,000.

Since local materials are less durable than standard U.S. playground materials, he tries to ensure that the community is equipped with the know-how, resources, and motivation to maintain their new playspaces over time. Marcus says, "In this context, I would rather focus on maintainability as opposed to durability. It's a more sustainable long-term model, even though it seems a bit backwards to us in the West."

Here are some of the amazing things you can do with tires, wood, and the occasional barrel:

Playground in Thailand

Playground in Thailand

 

Playground in Thailand

 

Playground in Thailand

 

Playground in Thailand

 

 

Playground in Thailand

 

Playground in Thailand

 

Playground in Thailand

 

Playground in Thailand

 

Playground in Thailand

 

Playground in Thailand

 

Playground in Thailand

If, like us, you just couldn’t get enough of these pictures, there are lots more here.

Marcus is actively looking for volunteers who are interested in getting involved with Go Play! Globetrotters looking to do something meaningful abroad should visit his website at playgroundideas.org.

You can also contact Marcus through our site.
 

cool playgrounds, cool playground, thailand, world, international