Designing with Children: A creative approach to re-imagining cities and communities

Play Africa has developed an African contribution to freely-available global placemaking resources. We have created an open-source toolkit, which supports local adaptation and implementation of Play Africa’s “Designing with Children” workshop.

We developed this toolkit to build the capacity of placemakers, educators and others to lead a participatory workshop to positively influence the development of more child-friendly, safe and playful urban environments, with a focus on African cities and towns. This toolkit can be used by everyone to create a playful learning experience for children while empowering them to imagine an improved community.

Send me the toolkit

Workshop Sections

The introduction includes an overview of the format of the toolkit, and a brief exploration of the key concepts of placemaking and design thinking. Click here

The documents here will help you plan and conduct the adaptable Play Africa workshop “Designing with Children”. We recommend utilising all four parts when implementing your adaptation of the workshop.

Part 1
These documents will assist you in planning the workshop “Designing With Children”. Read this section to prepare your space, group, and materials.  Click here

Part 2
This is the workshop curriculum “Designing with Children”. Here you will find suggested activities, timelines and suggested scripts. Click here

Part 3
We have created materials to aid in the implementation of the workshop. Materials include visual aids, a certificate and observation forms. Please adapt the materials to your needs. Click here

Part 4
Here you will find an adaptable child safety policy, as well as other safety documents such as consent forms, a risk mitigation template and a photo/media release form. Use these documents to maintain child-safeguarding standards. Click here

Learning Materials

These materials are designed to deepen your learning of play, and provide additional perspectives on playful learning in South Africa and across the globe. These materials provide additional context and examples of placemaking for those who wish to learn more. The first section is a collection of Thought Leadership pieces from various practitioners engaging in placemaking in Africa and around the globe. The second section is a History of Play Africa and Play Africa’s experience in participatory placemaking with children.

Thought Leadership
Play Africa collected thought leadership pieces from urban actors across the globe to continue the conversations around meaningful inclusion of children in placemaking. City planners, architects, researchers and child advocates contributed their thoughts to this discourse. Click here

History of Play Africa
Play Africa has a history of empowering children through placemaking and participatory programming. These Play Africa programmes urged children, and the adults, to re-think and reclaim public spaces for children’s play, creativity, exploration and connection. Learn more about these programmes, and how Play Africa encourages all children to find their voice, so that they can participate actively in their own society. Click here

We want to hear from you!

Please share your experience of using the toolkit with us. How did you adapt the workshop to your context? How did you empower children to solve problems using design thinking? What did you learn by exploring thought leadership from across the globe? How will you use this toolkit in your community? What more would you like to see in this toolkit? We want to hear your feedback to inform our design for version 2 of the toolkit.


Science at Home Activity Pack 4

Science at Home Activity Pack 3

Science at Home Activity Pack 2

Science at Home Activity Pack 1

Activity Pack 3

Activity Pack 2

Activity Pack 1