About us


Playground Ideas is a non-profit organization that supports anyone, anywhere to build a stimulating space for play using only local materials, tools, and skills.



Our model



Playground DIY projects are the core of our work. We were founded with a goal to provide free designs, how-to handbooks, and online support to empower communities around the world to build beautiful spaces for their children to play using only resources they can easily find locally. Since 2007, over 1,400 playgrounds have been built using this model.

Get started on your playground >


Custom design & on-site support

For larger projects, the Playground Ideas team can be contracted for custom design and on-site support. We’ve provided design schemes, team training, and build facilitation for projects in Australia, Brazil, Kenya, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Rwanda, Syria, Thailand, Vietnam and Uganda. If you have a budget over $5,000 and are planning to build anywhere from 1-1000 playgrounds, drop us a line. Let’s build something amazing together.

Contact us for a quote >


Global Play Alliance

Expanding global access to play requires a coalition of play advocates. That’s why we’ve formed the Global Play Alliance, a network of organizations focused on creating play opportunities for children in communities where these resources do not exist or are in short supply. This international network of play champions spans nearly every continent and is made up of playground builders, designers, parents, coaches, and playwork trainers.

Search the globe >


Our team



Marcus Veerman
Founder & CEO



His superpower: He’s the dreamer and schemer – always coming up with new, crazy big ideas for the future of Playground Ideas.

His favorite Playground Ideas resource: “The ‘Playground Builder’s Handbook’ – I wrote this how-to handbook based on everything I learned building 40 playgrounds along the Thai/Burma border.”

Jo profile pic

Joanna Francis
Operations & Community Engagement


Her Superpower: With a background in child development & child protection, Jo has the chops to help people to realise their playground dreams.

Her favourite Playground Ideas resource: “The ‘play infographic’. Translated into 23 languages, this is an amazing resource for people all over the world.”


Elizabeth Moreno
Social Engagement & Special Projects


Her superpower: Elizabeth’s expertise lies in engaging kids, teachers, and parents in community-led playground design – she’s done it all over the world!

Her favorite Playground Ideas resource: “The ‘Case for Play’ report. Wanna know why play can change the world? Read this.”

Sally Law

Sally Law
Board Member


Her superpower: When she’s not managing Contracts & Legal at the Australian Grand Prix Corporation, Sally is making sure we’re crossing all our t’s and dotting our i’s.

Her favorite Playground Ideas resource: “Hands down my favorite design is the ‘Octopus Icosahedron‘. I would have LOVED playing on this as a kid!”

Emma Smith

Emma Smith
Board Member


Her superpower: Emma is a media, communications, and PR specialist – she’s getting the word out about Playground Ideas!

Her favorite Playground Ideas resource: “Every teacher needs to grab a copy of the “Loose Parts Manual.” It’s full to the brim with tips and tricks for creating playful opportunities for kids using nothing but ordinary materials like cardboard boxes and sticks.”

Toni Rikys

Toni Rikys
Board Member


Her superpower:Toni works for the Australian Government providing advice and support to Federal Parliamentarians and their staff. She’s amazing at stakeholder management!

Her favorite Playground Ideas resource: “The crowdfunding project pages are an amazing feature. I love learning about new playgrounds around the world and seeing communities reach their fundraising goals!”

Richard Feder

Richard Feder
Board Member


His superpower: As a strategy consultant in the social sector, Richie gets to help organizations be stronger, more sustainable and ask the right questions to help make good decisions.

His favourite Playground Ideas resource: “the 3D designer is incredible – a chance to use your imagination and be a kid again yourself, thinking about what to play on and how it could all fit together”.

Julia (JJ) Jacob

Julia (JJ) Jacob
Board Member


Her superpower: As a general manager, JJ is able to apply her broad skill set and leverage her multi-sector experience to create value for organizations. She loves the quote from Einstein, “It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer”.

Her favourite Playground Ideas resource: The Inclusive Design Manual. I love that we are thinking about how to give children of ALL abilities the opportunity for quality play.”

TEDx Melbourne 2015

Marcus Veerman, CEO & Founder of Playground Ideas shares revolutionary ideas to address global poverty through the power of play.


Our story

From Marcus Veerman, CEO

In 2007, I was living in Thailand when a local NGO asked if I would help them build a playground. Throwing together a design and a crew of volunteers, we set to work, and before we had finished that first playground, the headmaster of a neighbouring school asked if we could help them do the same. And so it began. Requests began pouring in, and over the next two years a rag-tag gang of volunteers, artists, builders and makers built 40 playgrounds along the Thai-Burma border. I started posting photos of our work online, which led to my inbox being flooded with emails asking for playground building assistance from other parts of Thailand, and then from around the world. That’s when everything changed. Read the full story on Medium.com.




Our funding

A small group of private philanthropists cover our administrative expenses so that your money can go directly to the Playground Ideas cause. This means when you donate to us, 100% of the donation goes towards expanding global access to play. Our work is funded by generous individual donors as well as corporate playground sponsors, who leverage their work in the play industry to make an impact globally.


In-kind support

We are extremely grateful to the following companies and individuals who generously provide their services to help us reach our goals:




The Web / App Specialists of Melbourne & Perth


Itomic have generously provided Playground Ideas with awesome free web hosting, support and consultancy. We highly recommend them for all your web hosting, web / app design and development needs.


Adam Fox
Eat Your Veggies


Web development, support and online marketing.


Matt Green


Digital designer, collaborator and videographer.



for playground companies




for philanthropic grants