Play With The Kids By Building A Playground In The District

April 18, 2012 3:00 AM

(credit: Thinkstock)

backyard vdp Play With The Kids By Building A Playground In The District

(credit: Thinkstock)

Some of the fondest memories are made at the local playground. However, sometimes you would rather stay home than watch the kids at play for hours on the swing set. A simple solution for this predicament is building a home playground. The construction can be a recreational activity for families, friends and neighbors. With everyone’s help, the kids will be playing in no time.

1. Choose a design. Playgrounds are assembled in all shapes and sizes. A simple design can go a long way or tackle something more extravagant to make it unique. Many stores sell playground kits for easy assembly. These kits range from different skill levels and prices depending on the intricacy. Include neighbors with children in the decision, making process to find a design everyone can enjoy.

2. Choose a location. When constructing a playground, the first thing to consider is location. Which backyard in the neighborhood is most suitable for this type of construction? Determining the amount of space available will help to establish an accurate layout. The ideal location is a level spot with little interference from other activities and no disturbance of surrounding vegetation.

3. Get your materials. Buying all required pieces gives builders much more freedom in the layout. Tools needed for construction can include a post-hole digger, shovel, hammer, circular saw, level, cordless screwdriver, various wrenches and drill bits. Figure out which of these tools you already own and ask the neighbors if they have any of those remaining.

4. Determine a time to build. Time and weather are big factors in the construction process. Depending on the number of hands, at least one full weekend should be dedicated to building a complete playground correctly. You also want to work in comfortable weather conditions for optimal productivity. Communicate with all helping hands about availability and plan accordingly.

5. Pick a leader. Determine a construction leader from the beginning of the project. Choose someone who is in charge, can take responsibility and delegate duties. Encourage everyone to play a role. Someone should provide food, beverages and snacks for those working. Children can be used to test out equipment and give their suggestions.

Here are a few local businesses that may be able to help you get started:

Alperstein’s Furniture Store
1015 7th St NW
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 783-0100

Alperstein’s has a great lineup of recreational furniture. Their products include outdoor play sets, jungle gyms, slides and swing sets.

Frager’s Just Ask Rental
1107 Pennsylvania Ave SE
Washington, DC 20003

Tools can get expensive, especially when adding that to the price of the play equipment. Stop in a Frager’s to rent those tools you will need for just this one time project.

Old School Hardware
3219 Mt. Pleasant St NW
Washington, DC 20010
(202) 462-1431

Old School Hardware will provide you with the necessary tools for your playground. Their employees can answer any questions you may have along the way. Utilize this neighborhood resource to help in the playground process.

Related: Best Places To Hang With Your Dog In The DC Area
Related: Best Place To Volunteer With Your Kids In DC

For more great tricks, tips and advice about your home, visit

Kelly Johnston is a freelance writer living in D.C. She is a soon-to-be University of Alabama graduate who hopes to have a successful career in fashion journalism. Her major is Apparel and Textiles with a Concentration in Fashion Retail and Merchandising and her minor is Journalism. Her work can be found at

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