Playgrounds in the Pacific

Playgrounds afford children opportunities for play and socialization. They are important contexts for children’s development and learning. In Papua New Guinea children are typically not allowed to play at school during lunch time and recess. Furthermore, schools have grassed fields rather than western style playgrounds.

Our research investigated whether a community designed and built playground made of local materials could increase student attendance and engagement. The playground was built at a primary school outside of capital, Port Moresby.  Playgroundideas  helped us with the design and build. Playground ideas is a non-profit organization that supports anyone, anywhere to build a stimulating space for play using only local materials, tools, and skills.

We built another locally designed playground from local materials in East New Britain province. This project had a much smaller budget and fewer volunteers to help build the playground. It was a great success and shows just what can be achieved with $US1500 and a group of motivated people.

We are planning to start a new project in Tonga in 2017.

Related publications

Simoncini, K., Carr. V., Elliot, S., Manson, E., Simeon, L. & Sawi, J. (2016). Playground development in Papua New Guinea: Creating new play, learning and research environments. Children, Youth and Environments, 26(1).

Simoncini, K., Carr. V., Elliot, S., Manson, E., Simeon, L. & Sawi, J. (2015). New play opportunities in Papua New Guinean school. Journal of Playwork Practice 2(2), 211- 213.