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The Perfect Playground Plan

How an Illinois PTA raised money and built enthusiasm for a new playground project over five years.


Parent volunteers with the Whittier Elementary PTA in Downers Grove, Ill., hit on the right mix of project organization, fundraising, and communication to keep enthusiasm high for the PTA’s five-year playground plan.

The playground committee asked students to draw their ideal playground. Some included skyscrapers, teleporters, a petting zoo, and a fountain! (Seven popular ideas were ultimately incorporated.)

The school art teacher created a logo for the playground campaign, which is used on flyers and other communication materials.

All the tools you need for a well-planned playground project

People can help sponsor a piece of the playground; donor gifts are also branded with the “Just Play” logo.

For one of the spring fundraisers, each classroom created a piece of art for silent auction.

Students and parents also sold candy downtown at street festivals and throughout the summer at Friday night car shows.

And classrooms competed in penny wars. Students collected nickels and larger coins in a class bucket each day but put pennies in buckets for other rooms to reduce the amount they got credit for.

Playground supporters receive thank-you postcards that feature drawings by students. The PTA is more than halfway to its goal of raising $100,000.

Learn more about the Whittier Elementary PTA’s new playground efforts in "Keep Up Your PTO Project Momentum."

Originally posted in 2017 and updated regularly.

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