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How to build a new playground at your school

Is your school's play structure worn out, even dangerous. Here's a step-by-step guide for creating a play space so dazzling even the coolest fifth graders will come out and play.

By Valle Dwight

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Raising the money

New play structures can be pricey, so your group should start fundraising right away. If your school's PTO provides funds for school projects, that's the first place to start. The fundraising committee for Stowe's playground project also solicited local businesses, conducted a direct mail appeal, ran a can and bottle drive, organized a benefit concert, and threw a fund-raising dance that included a silent auction and raffle.

Along with community support, look for grants: For more grant-writing tips, go to the Peaceful Playgrounds website (look especially for information on the Department of Education Physical Education Progress grants).  Companies such as Lowe's and State Farm Insurance  provide playground construction grants. Or approach playground vendors directly and ask if they offer donations or discounts. For online fundraising, try DonorsChoose.org, which provides a platform to describe your project and an easy way for donors to contribute.
 

Valle Dwight is a reporter, writer, and mother of two school-aged boys. She has written for many magazines, including FamilyFun, Wondertime, and Working Mother.

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