Hesperian Health Guides
Chapter 46: Playgrounds for All Children
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A good way to start a village or neighborhood rehabilitation program is to involve the local people in building a low-cost ‘rehabilitation playground’. It is important that the playground be built for use by all children—both disabled and non-disabled.
With a little help from adults, the local children can build most of the playground themselves. To prevent the playground from being destroyed or vandalized, you may wish to invite some of the roughest local children and ‘gang leaders’ to help lead the project. Or you can appoint them as ‘maintenance chiefs’.
The playground brings non-disabled and disabled children together through play.
To build the playground, it is best to use local, low-cost materials, and simple construction. One of the playground’s main purposes is to give disabled children and their parents a chance to try different playthings and exercise equipment. Whatever works for their child, a family can easily build at home, at no or low cost. For this reason, a playground made of tree limbs and poles, old tires, and other ‘waste’ materials is more appropriate than a fancy metal playground built by skilled craftsmen at high cost. (Also, metal gets very hot in hot, sunny climates.)
These pages will give you some ideas for simple playground equipment. Although most of the photos come from PROJIMO in Mexico, many of the ideas shown are based on a playground in Thailand.