14 Apr
5 Classic DIY Park Playground Equipment Designs
Posted by Elizabeth Moreno


Some playground designs stand the test of time and are loved by generations of kids. But building that classic park playground can be an expensive endeavor. Commercial park playground equipment can cost tens, even hundreds of thousands of dollars, keeping park playgrounds out of reach for many communities. Playground Ideas supports schools, organizations, and communities around the world to build playgrounds from local tools, materials and skills. We’ve put together a list of five classic DIY park playground designs in our Design Library. Each design comes with step-by-step instructions. Check it out!

1. Swing Double Simple

This classic playground swingset can be built with either timber or steel, depending on what materials are appropriate and cost effective for your setting. The swing seats are made from tire treads, so they’re flexible and comfortable to swing on!

1 2

Click here to get the step-by-step instructions to build your own Swing Double Simple.


2. Tire Sandpit Combo

The humble sandpit is a playground staple! Sandplay is a wonderfully tactile experience, especially for young children. Our Tire Sandpit Combo includes a sand and water table for molding and shaping. Be sure to add in lots of buckets, shovels, funnels and molds to make your sandpit even better!

3 4

Click here to get the step-by-step instructions to build your own Tire Sandpit Combo.


3. See-Saw Single 1 Tire

This classic see-saw equipment element upgrades the design by adding “bumpers” on the ends to prevent squished toes. The tire and bolt pivot base also lasts longer than a traditional steel pivot, which can wear out over time.

5 6

Click here to get the step-by-step instructions to build your own See-Saw Single 1 Tire.


4. Slide with Sides

Around the world, local welders often make simple slides to sell to schools and community groups. In our travels we’ve frequently seen unsafe playground slides in parks that are made far too steep or without an angled piece at the bottom to slow you down before you hit the ground. Take this DIY design to your local welder instead and you’ll be sure to have a properly designed slide!

7 8

Click here to get the step-by-step instructions to build your own Slide with Sides.


5. Monkey Bars – Metal

This classic monkey bar set can be attached to a cubby house or constructed on its own. Be sure to add in a “safe fall zone” below with sand or other soft material to prevent injuries. You can learn more about “safe fall zones” and other tips on building playground equipment safely in our “Playground Safety Handbook.”

9 10

Click here to get the step-by-step instructions to build your own Monkey Bars – Metal.


Looking for more DIY equipment for your park playground? Check out the full Playground Ideas Design Library, with over 150 playground element designs that can be built using only local tools, materials, and labor.

11 Apr
8 DIY Elements for Playgrounds for Toddlers
Posted by Elizabeth Moreno


Toddlers are bundles of energy. They’re constantly squirming, crawling, spinning, and jumping. Playgrounds can be great environments for toddlers to play, challenge their abilities and engage their senses. But play spaces often require a bit more intention in design to make them appropriate and fun for younger kids. We’ve put together a collection of eight of our favorite DIY elements for playgrounds for toddlers. Check them out!

1. Tire Tunnel

The tire tunnel could not be easier to build, and it’s a great versatile element for toddlers–they can climb through it, crawl over it, or hide inside.


Click here to get the step-by-step instructions to build your own Tire Tunnel. 

2. Sensory Garden

Toddlers are highly tactile, so a playground garden is a perfect element –they love touching new textures, looking for patterns and smelling the flowers. Be sure to exclude any poisonous plants and include a few edible vegetables or herbs to add to the sensory experience!

2 3

Click here to get the step-by-step instructions to build your own Sensory Garden.

3. Earth Mound Small

Simple hills are perfect for toddler playgrounds because they add dimension to the space and are endlessly fun to run up and down and up and down and up and down.


Click here to get the step-by-step instructions to build your own Earth Mound Small. 

4. Slide Tile

This simple slide is nearly indestructible. It’s made from concrete and floor tiles, so the slide surface won’t get too hot in the sun. Combine the slide with an earth mound and toddlers will have a gentle slope to climb up to their slide, which is prevents tumbles and falls from a traditional slide ladder.


Click here to get the step-by-step instructions to build your own Slide Tile. 

5. Bucket Seat 

This toddler swing seat is super simple to construct. It just requires a few tire threads and bolts!


Click here to get the step-by-step instructions to build your own Bucket Seat. 

6. Tire Sandpit Combo

We believe every playground should have a sandpit! Sand is the perfect creative play material because it allows kids to shape, mold, and create new forms each time.


Click here to get the step-by-step instructions to build your own Tire Sandpit Combo. 

7. Big Xylo

Add a little music to your playground with this DIY xylophone!


Click here to get the step-by-step instructions to build your own Big Xylo. 

8. A-Frame Cubby Climber

This cubby climber is perfect for a toddler playground. They’ll love crawling inside and playing peek-a-boo with their friends outside. It also allows for a safe, cozy space when kids need a little spot to sit and watch the world. More confident or older kids can use the peek holes as climbing holds and crawl all over it.


Click here to get the step-by-step instructions to build your own A-Frame Cubby Climber. 

Looking for more DIY playground elements? Check out our Design Library with over 150 free playground element designs complete with full step-by-step instructions.




8 DIY Elements for Playgrounds for Toddlers
3 Apr
Free Playground Building Resources for Community Service Programs
Posted by Elizabeth Moreno

10 (13)

Are you a volunteer for Peace Corps, Voluntary Service Overseas, United Nations Volunteers, or some other community service program? Are you looking for meaningful, feasible community service project ideas?

Playground Ideas offers free resources to community service programs to create low-cost, locally built playgrounds. We exist to support anyone, anywhere build a space for play using only local tools, materials and skills. Since 2007, we’ve supported over 1400 communities in 85 countries to build playgrounds, impacting over 600,000 children.


How? By providing free resources anyone, anywhere can access. On our website you’ll find over 150 DIY designs with full step-by-step instructions as well as a whole suite of manuals covering everything from playground safety to inclusive design.

Many schools and communities around the world lack safe, stimulating environments for children to play in. Play is fundamental to healthy child development, particularly for children living in poverty. Long term studies have shown access to early play experiences boosts life outcomes substantially -42% raise in yearly earnings, 44% increase in high school graduations, and 17% increase in bachelor degrees. Perhaps most importantly, play builds the critical skill of self-regulation, which underpins success for a lifetime. You can learn more about the long-term impacts of of play in our Case for Play report, which compiles the best research on play, spanning the fields of economics, psychology, child development, education and neuroscience.


Over the years, numerous volunteers in community service programs have used our resources to build playgrounds in their communities and have inspired others to do the same. In Morocco, two Peace Corps Volunteers began a project to build playgrounds at every school in their host community. Soon other Peace Corps Volunteers began hearing of their work and starting their own playground building projects in their communities. Read more about their story here. 

If you’re interested in using Playground Ideas resources to build a playground as a part of your community service program, you can access all our resources by creating a free account on our site. Inside your account, you’ll be able to start a page for your project and save your favorite designs, create a crowdfunding campaign to raise money for your playground, connect with other playground builders in your region, and much more. If you have any questions along the way, don’t hesitate to contact us. We can’t wait to see what you build!

Free Playground Building Resources for Community Service Programs
31 Mar
Three ways to create your own playground design plans
Posted by Elizabeth Moreno

Creating an accurate, professional looking design plan can be a helpful tool in the playground building process. Playground designs enable you to show your ideas to the school or community for feedback before you build, or to present your plans to potential donors in an attractive format. You don’t need to be a professional designer or purchase expensive software to create great looking plans. Check out these three free playground design plan tools:

Playground Design Plans

1. Drag & Drop Designer

Our online Drag & Drop Designer tool allows user to create a full 3D professional looking playground design plans. You can add any of our 150 playground element designs as well as school buildings, trees and other features to match your space, and upload images of your own design sketches and background photos to truly customise your design. Once you’re finished, save, print, share to friends on Facebook, and add your design to your playground project page. Create a free Playground Ideas account to access the Drag & Drop Designer from your user dashboard.

1 (4)


2. Cut & Paste Manual

If you’re looking for a lower-tech way to design your playground, we’ve got you covered too! Download our Cut & Paste manual and you’ll find all our playground elements scaled to size. With paper, scissors and glue, you can map out your site, cut out the playground elements you want, and start designing! Create a free Playground Ideas account to download the Cut & Paste manual from your user dashboard.

2 (5)


3. Google SketchUp

If you want to get more technical, try using SketchUp, a free 3D modeling software created by Google. If you have never used 3D modeling software before, it will take some time to learn, but Sketchup offers free video tutorials to get you started. You can also search “Playground Ideas” in Sketchup’s 3D Warehouse to download many of Playground Ideas’ design elements. With a little practice, you can create highly detailed, beautiful playground design plans that will impress your potential donors.

3 (4)


What method will you use to create your playground design plan?