Building PlayGardens for orphans who would otherwise have limited access to play and the outdoors has been a daunting, but unbelievably rewarding task. We hope that this blog gives you, our supporters and donors, some insight to understanding our process. We look forward to doing it again and again!
We first aim to define the main objectives of the project by answering the following questions:
Users: Who will be using this playground? What is the age range? How many users have physical disabilities?
Space: How much space do we have to work with? Are there existing playground pieces in place? What kind of access is available to and from the space? Is the space safe enough to support a playground?
Next, we consider our expenses and create a budget. We need to know:
- How much can we afford to spend?
- Are we limited to a specific amount, or will we be able to add to an initial amount through fundraising activities?
- Does our budget cover the cost of the equipment, site preparation, freight charges, protective surfacing, and installation?
We will also need to consider:
- Site Preparation Costs
- Play Equipment Costs
- Garden Items Costs
- Surfacing Material Costs
- Shipping and Storage Costs
- Installation Costs
Once we have a budget and a list of expenses, we need to ensure that our site is ready for a PlayGarden installation. In preparing a site, our considerations may include (but are not limited to):
- Getting permits and securing contracts
- Hiring an engineer to inspect buildings and sites
- Coordinating clean-up
- Grading land
- Ensuring proper drainage systems
After our site is prepared for a PlayGarden, we determine a good playground partner to work with. A good playground partner will support us in brainstorming, designing, and building the best play space we can imagine. Ideally, we look for partners that offer:
- Site evaluation and inspection
- Equipment that complies with the highest international safety standards
- Equipment that complies with the highest international environmental standards
- Custom playground design and layout
- Installation services
- A long-term maintenance program
When selecting specific playground equipment, we consider:
- Variety of activities
- Developmental benefits
- Equal opportunity for accessibility
Once we have created a plan for the playground, we develop a plan to incorporate garden elements into the design. Many of our PlayGarden projects will include opportunities for children to plant trees and grow flowers or vegetables. BLOOM aims to create more healthy, sustainable environments that also include garden elements that nurture the 5 senses.
The ideal PlayGarden provides a carefree experience of learning, social interaction and fun. BLOOM aims to provide a safe play experience, in a safe environment, that is accessible to all children, regardless of their physical ability.
Safety is one of the most important factors in planning our PlayGardens and the one with the longest-lasting impact.
BLOOM helps prevent playground injuries and also ensures access for children with disabilities by using:
- Certified Equipment
- Proper safety surfacing:
- Approximately 80% of all playground injuries are caused by falls onto unsafe surfacing.
- Protective surfacing is the most critical safety factor on playgrounds.
- Hard surfaces such as asphalt, concrete, dirt, and grass have poor shock-absorbing characteristics. A fall onto these hard surfaces could be life-threatening.
At BLOOM, we believe that no child should be denied access to a safe play experience simply because of a disability. In fact, accessible and inclusive playgrounds are essential to our mission.
Our goal is to design inclusive PlayGardens which promote physical, sensory, social, emotional and cognitives skills through play.
With the increased incidence of autism and other sensory disorders among children in orphanages, therapeutic playspaces and healing gardens are becoming more important than ever before. Whether we are building PlayGardens, basketball courts or any other other recreation areas, we design spaces that are accessible to all children.
Next, we determine a time frame for the completion of the project. We set up a tentative schedule for planning, review, equipment purchase, site preparation and installation.
What are our long-term goals? How many children are using the PlayGarden on a regular basis?
Finally, we will develop programs to measure the success of our projects by ensuring that the children are using the PlayGardens regularly.
- We work with neurologists, pediatricians, public health and mental health professionals to develop programs that measure behavioral, mental and physical health improvements among the population we are serving.
- We work with learning specialists and educators to ensure that we incorporate activities that provide the children with opportunities to learn-through-play.
Last, we celebrate the completion of our projects in the best way possible: by witnessing laughter, learning, playing and healing on a Magical PlayGarden!
BLOOM makes every effort to comply by the standards set forth by the U.N’s Sustainable Development Goals through all of our PlayGarden projects.
BLOOM’s First Magical PlayGarden Project at LeNid Orphanage in Meknes, Morocco supports 5 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals!