Our summertime playground washes are some of my all-time favorite Little Hands Can activities. They're so great that I just had to share the details of how they happen in case anyone else wants to do their own playground wash. Wouldn't it be cool if kids were cleaning up the playgrounds they played on all across the country next summer? So consider this a Simple Service post as well as an Event Recap.
First of all we should give credit where credit is due. These events would not be possible without the generous support of City of Eugene Parks. You'll see how much they do as we get into the details (spoiler: they do everything!). So if you're planning one yourself, first get in touch with your local parks peeps and talk over the idea with them. They'll probably love the idea of kids cleaning a playground and either help you make it happen or give their blessing for you to go ahead with it.
Our playground washes are superhero themed, so far. Maybe in the future we'll make one princess or ninja themed or go off a popular movie or just tell people to wear their favorite swim suit or bright colors or... The possibilities are endless but I can attest to how awesome it is to see a superhero with cape waving behind him/her run across the playground with scrub brush in hand.
You will get wet. It's like a car wash except instead of cars it's a playground that's getting washed. It's the perfect event for a hot summer day. It's 100 times easier to have a water source at the park you're wanting to wash. If the park has a splash pad, great. If the water is less obvious, it's definitely something to check with the city when you run the idea by them.
Here in Eugene, Parks provides buckets, scrub brushes, sponges, and soap. Every kid, even babes that won't do much with them other than toddle around grasping them, is going to want a sponge or scrub brush so the more the better. A little soap goes a long ways. If you only use a tiny drop per bucket of water, you don't absolutely have to rinse the playground after scrubbing which is nice when the weather is so hot that the water evaporates too quickly to rinse anyways. I would suggest that if you are planning to rinse with a hose that it be an adult only thing after the kids have finished scrubbing; just trust me on that one.
Even if the park looks clean at first glance, you'll be surprised how grimy it really is. Moss grows, sand gets rubbed in, and dust covers everything. A little elbow grease really can make the playground shine.
It usually takes 30-45 minutes to get that playground scrubbed, and that's about how long the kids will stay with it too. Our City of Eugene Parks also provide something cold to drink as a treat afterwards.
If you're local to Eugene/Springfield-area, join us on August 29th at 10am at Monroe Park for another superhero playground wash. If you're not from around here, let us know if you do your own playground wash. We'd love to feature you as a Spotlight on Service post on how you made it happen in your own community.