What better way to encourage parents to bring their little ones to church than to install a church playground? You’re excited to create an inclusive, engaging space for your congregation’s children — but chances are, you don’t have experience in funding, designing or building a playground. Now that you want to bring such a space to your church, you need a helping hand to guide you through the process.
Luckily, plenty of other organizations have worked together to complete a playground project, and you can use similar steps to create your own one-of-a-kind play area. Here’s how your church can pool together, plan and build the playspace that your younger congregation members will enjoy for years to come.
1. Define the Budget
Before you can build your playground — or even design it — you need to know how much money you should expect to spend. In general, a commercial playspace will cost tens of thousands of dollars. Less expensive sets are available that can entertain fewer children at once.
Any project will include the cost of the structure itself, as well as the price of labor to have it all installed safely and securely. Further, unless you set the playground over a grassy landscape, you’ll need to put down a soft surface where playing children can land. Factor that and any other extraneous charges — like freight and tax — into the budget, too.
2. Raise the Funds
Now that you know what you’ll need to build your playground, it’s time to raise the cash you’ll need to do so.
Some churches collect offerings to fund special church construction projects, and you could use these designated gifts toward the cost of your play area. Of course, your church might not have tens of thousands of dollars lying around to pay for a playground. If your organization falls under this umbrella, countless fundraising ideas exist that would allow you to make the needed money.
For instance, you might text congregation members and ask them to donate digitally. Or, you might inspire churchgoers to give up an indulgence, such as buying coffee every morning for the month. They could then donate the cash they save to the playground project.
3. Outline the Space
The size of your playground structure will determine how much land you need to designate for it. Your play area’s planners will need to factor in some additional space between it and the rest of your church’s structures — this area is called the use zone.
Maybe you envision your church playground as more of a community park-type setup. With this layout, you’ll likely have a more generous amount of green space. While you’ll still need to outline the area for the playground, you can also define separate spaces to make your outdoor destination suited for all members of the congregation.
For instance, you might want to install an adjacent picnic area so that you can host outdoor church gatherings and serve up snacks or grilled fare. Be sure to factor those additions into your plans and budget accordingly.
4. Choose the Surfacing
Grass and dirt don’t do much to soften the blow if a child falls from a piece of playground equipment. Instead, most builders add safer surfaces to a play space before installing any equipment. Fortunately, plenty of safe flooring alternatives for outdoor playgrounds are available. Weigh your options and choose one that’ll keep your youngest congregation members safe.
A solid rubber surface, for instance, tends to last the longest and serves as a comfortable place to fall. However, it costs more than other options, such as rubber mulch or artificial turf. Whatever you choose, make sure it’s handicap-accessible — everyone should be able to play on your church’s playground.
5. Install the Playground
Once you’ve picked out a spot and raised the money, it’s time for the moment you’ve been waiting for — buying and building your playground.
You can go about this step in one of two ways. First, you can hire a professional crew to install your equipment. Certified installers might be the best option — they know what they’re doing and will expertly construct your playground to the utmost safety standard. Their expertise will take liability off of your hands.
With enough volunteers among your congregation, you might be able to build your playground without professional help. Such an activity could be a great bonding experience for your church members. Once you’ve completed the playground’s installation, everyone will feel proud of the work they did. Watching little ones happily playing will provide a sense of fulfillment for everyone involved. Choose this option only if you have enough talented workers to build your playground securely — you want the children’s safety to be your top priority, after all.
Get Ready to Play
With detailed planning, effective fundraising, smart decision-making and careful installation, you’ll have the perfect church playground in no time at all. So, get started and get ready to play — the kids and kids-at-heart alike will thank you for your fun contribution to the church.