Hesperian Health Guides

Examples From the ‘Bamboo Playground’ in the Khao-I-Dang Refugee Camp, Thailand

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HealthWiki > Disabled Village Children > Chapter 46: Playgrounds for All Children > Examples From the ‘Bamboo Playground’ in the Khao-I-Dang Refugee Camp, Thailand

examples of bamboo play structures
SEESAW with enclosed seats
Old tires under ends of seesaw act as 'shock absorbers'.
PARALLEL BARS for a child whose knees pull together
Smooth bamboo pole between legs helps child learn to walk with knees separated.
for a taller child
Especially good for the child whose sudden uncontrolled movements may knock over an unfixed walker.
holes to adjust height of cross bar
wooden stake in ground
One way to mount the platform of a merry-go-round.
Small wheels slightly above ground level protect merry-go-round when too many children get onto one side.
wheel mount and bearings of old car


  1. Involve as much of the community as possible in building and maintaining the playground.
  2. Keep the playground simple and build it from local low-cost materials. Only this way can it serve as a model for families of disabled children to build the most useful equipment for their child in their own homes. Resist offers from the local mayor or politicians to build an impressive metal frame playground. This will eliminate community participation and makes the equipment too costly for poor families to build at home.
  3. For poles that are put into the ground, use a kind of wood that does not rot quickly. Do not use preservatives. Most have toxic side effects that are likely worse than any benefits.
    To avoid accidents, check strength of poles frequently and replace them at regular intervals—especially during the hot rainy season.
  4. Swings can be hung from ropes or chains. Rope or vines are cheaper but may rot or wear through fairly quickly. Plastic or nylon rope will not rot in the rains, but will gradually grow brittle and weak with the sun. As with posts, to avoid accidents, check the strength of ropes frequently by having several heavy persons hang on them at one time. Replace ropes at regular intervals, before they get weak.
  5. Regular maintenance of the playground is essential, and this will require planning and organization. Perhaps once a month the village children can take an expedition to cut new poles to replace rotting ones, to repair old equipment, and to build new. Adult coordination of such activity is usually necessary.
  6. To boost enthusiasm, keep lists in a public place of all the children and adults who help with the playground— and put a star for each time they help.

DVC Ch46 Page 426-1.jpg
Children play on a ‘merry-go-round’ in PROJIMO. Enclosed ‘cars’ protect more severely disabled children. A cow’s skull provides handles for a rider.

This page was updated:19 Jan 2018