Are You Dreaming of a Playground Guide or Scavenger Hunt For Your Community?
When I visit a community, I like to spend time discovering its playgrounds. I see what equipment they have set up, and consider how well it accommodates people of all ages and abilities. Is there play equipment available for young children or those with special needs? Most of all, I just enjoy playing in playgrounds. One of my favorite activities is swinging. I love to find bench swings, where a couple of people can sway back and forth together.
I pose the question, “Are You Dreaming of a Playground Guide & Scavenger Hunt For Your Community?” because a playground guide helps locate all the playgrounds in your area, and provides descriptions of what equipment, facilities, etc. are located at each park. A Playground Guide is a resource map for your city/community. In the guide, all the playgrounds are designated with a number. A description of each playground is given. Can you walk to a playground near your home? How close you live to a playground is a big factor in how often you use it.
Takoma Park, Maryland Playground Guide
If you would like to print your own copy of our playground guide, visit Let's Play America HERE
Back in 2012 I was hosting our play committee’s monthly meeting. I shared my dream of City of Takoma Park, Maryland having a Playground Guide to the group. Mimi Diaz spoke up and said, “Pat I’m going to go home and ask my good friend Dean Paris to design a Playground Guide.” I said, “Mimi that’s wonderful, but I’m not sure we have the funds to pay him.” She said “Dean is a graphic designer and a good friend. I’ll see if he can develop the playground Guide for free.” I was blown away by Dean’s generosity. The Play Committee began visiting every play space in Takoma Park, making notes of all the equipment, facilities and other important information to have in our Playground Guide. Half of our playgrounds are maintained by the City of Takoma Park and the other half by Maryland Parks and Planning. I had never seen a document listing all the playgrounds together. Now we have one!
Does your community have a Playground Guide?
Would your local government have funds to pay someone to create a guide? Can you ask a graphic designer in your area to help develop it? Remember, to start this project you will need to do some legwork and supply updated information about your playgrounds.
Takoma Park City government paid for the Guide’s printing in 2012 and mailed it to every resident. In 2015 we visited all the playgrounds to add new information for the Guide. Dean stepped up to the plate again and updated all the information. The City of Takoma Park paid for the printing of the 2nd edition of the Guide and it was again mailed to every resident. Additional Guides were printed to give out at our local Community Center and Recreation Department.
Incorporating a Scavenger Hunt
So now it is 2022, and new residents have moved into the area. A new playground, a dog park and a couple of playgrounds are being renovated, so Let’s Play America, (LPA) decided it was time to update our Playground Guide. In 2021 we contacted Dean and asked him for the third time if he could share his time and talents to make a new Playground Guide. Well, amazing Dean said yes again. While collecting information for the 3rd edition of the Guide I got to thinking wouldn’t it be great to have a Scavenger Hunt that takes you to every playground and play space in Takoma Park. I shared this information with my friend Mary Hansico. Mary said, “Pat, I think my daughter Lucy would be interested in creating the Scavenger Hunt.” Twelve-year old Lucy spent her summer of 2021 putting the Scavenger Hunt together. Lucy was approved to receive 30 community service hours toward graduation for her outstanding effort.
Unfortunately there was no City of Takoma Park funding to allocate for the Guide at this time. One of LPA’s brilliant and creative board members, Jen Byrne, suggested LPA get sponsors for the Guide. Jen said to me, “The Playground Guide & Scavenger Hunt is an incredible resource to our community and an excellent example to show other communities what they are missing.”
Readers, if you find that you would like to be a sponsor for the Guide let us know by emailing us [email protected]. The LPA play team is so grateful to the businesses, individuals, and organizations who have chosen to be a sponsor for the Guide. As a non-profit, LPA needs support for staff, equipment, supplies, graphics and printing, and other miscellaneous costs. By sponsoring the Guide you are helping LPA continue programs; play events, play days, closing streets to play and joining other events by adding play to our community. Your donations also show everyone that you value play.
I hope you will come and play at our playgrounds. Takoma Park is located on the Metro’s Redline. Our city has great boutiques and delicious places to eat. Indulge yourself with family and friends and make sure to give our Scavenger Hunt a try. So check out the link below and join us to eat, shop and play. Please see our City of Takoma Park’s updated Playground Guide with the bonus of a Scavenger Hunt or you can find the Guide on our website under Play Resources. In closing, give yourself time to play daily, check out my recent children’s book, “Let’s Play Outside,” and remember everyone deserves to play.