When developing new workshop programmes, we have confidence in a process that combines "learning through doing", research and collaboration. Basically, this can also translate as : We take risks, we make mistakes and we have fun. We strive to be able to acquire new insights and knowledge that can be applied to our processes consequently.

The Play Like a Girl Workshop series is a manifestation of the before mentioned. Read about our process and project motivation in our previous blog post.

To contextualise, we worked with a group of Zonnebloem Girls School learners to co-design a multi faceted play environment. The final product is currently being rendered and refined. Keep an eye on our platforms for a pending playground crowd funding campaign, which we are quite excited to share (to say the least!). The goal is for this play space to contain key spaces, allowing for:


challenging the mind to assess competencies and go beyond perceived limits, develop body awareness in space, and build gross motor skills.


fostering quiet and reflective moments.


These spaces are typically welcoming, fostering of social interaction, and focused on communication, negotiation, and sharing.


Spaces for discovery, exploration, hypothesizing.


Spaces that evoke an emotional response, nurture a sense of responsibility, and offer moments for reflection.



Workshop outline :

  • Draw a bird what represents you

  • Now imagine the bird flying above your house while you play... What does it see? Draw it and share with every one what you drew.

  • Every child places the drawing of their neighbourhood on a big peace of paper on the floor in relation to the distance of the school, which is drawn in the middle of the paper

  • Now draw what the route that you take to school and what you see.

Materials : Big roll of paper, drawing materials and scissors.

Outcomes : A series of sketches and a narration contextualising the sketches and the learner's thinking processes.

Objectives :

  • Building relationships between the participants and the See Saw Do facilitators

  • Gain an understanding of the students’ ability for creative and abstract visualisation and communication

  • Better understand the neighbourhoods and distances children travel from all over Cape Town to attend school in District 6

Key Observations :

- Upon the initial meeting children were quite reserved. The age gap between the young and older learners led to the younger group feeling intimidated and questioning their ability to draw and articulate ideas.

- Very few of the girls in the focus group lives in same neighbourhood.

- Next time around this workshop can be less prescriptive for younger children. We noted that this might elevate their confidence and creativity.


Workshop outline :

  • Find loose parts, sticks, stones, leaves etc to add to the clay and cardboard provided

  • Use these materials to build infrastructures that will enhance your play experience on the playground.

  • Make little characters that can give an idea of the scale of your intervention.

  • Share / Play

Materials: Sticks , Stones , Clay , Cardboard , masking tape and drawing materials.

Outcomes :

  • creative problem solving relating to constructing play interventions.

  • plan your intervention on paper, then build or alternatively build and design as you go (improvise!).

  • Collaborative ideation and negotiation as learners organically partner with other participants.

  • Creative play and narration.

Objectives :

  • Provide a hands on design/play opportunity that is less prescriptive.

  • Promote low cost found materials as valued play objects

  • Observe narratives and key types of play that learners project on to the infrastructures that they built

Key Observations

  • It was great to see how building material exploration lead to micro discoveries and performances that elevated confidence and good vibes in the workshop setting that inevitably lead fuller well rounded ideas later.

  • Performative roles create a safe space to share ideas.

  • To witness the joy learners exuberate when building a house to play in, as well as the role playing queues that comes with it.

  • Most of the ideas are structurally bigger than the scale models of humans.

  • A rooftop pool with a water slide that creates shade for the play area underneath it came so easy as an obvious possibility. This showcases the limitlessness of the imagination!

  • Mixed media tools created more play value


Workshop outline:

Show students an image of an existing cement play sculpture


Clay, paper and pens

Outcomes :

  • Clay sketches of play sculptures

  • Creative play

  • Sharing and narration of ideas

Objectives :

  • What will happen if we restrict the material using clay exclusively, and showing one image to prompt ideas.

  • Removing the option of wooden pole type structures, as seen on most playgrounds and opening te learner's minds to what alternative play structures might possibly look like.

  • Ideating and vision casting for the future playground.

Key Observations :

  • Creative confidence develops with each workshop. Students feel comfortable voicing their ideas and ideals.

  • Instead of merely making a single play sculpture the girls started designing parks with branding / rules (and even fee structures).

  • Narration brought out more detail than their technical ability to visualise the ideas did.

  • The more the learners invested in their ideas, the more ownership grew relating to the objects they made.


Workshop outline :

  • Learners draw elements of the playground to be drafted on Sketchup, under their creative direction.

Materials : paper, pens, sketch-up technician

Outcomes :

Visualisations of the components they envision for the future playground, to be added to the final 3D playground render.

  • Digital renders of playground components that the learners can envision existing in a 3D landscape.

Objectives :

  • Rapid prototyping and visualising their Ideas in 3D.

  • Assist learners to focus on communicating their ideas and not purely relying on their technical skills to visualise ideas.

Key Observations

  • The learner's designs on paper started to showcase a more holistic and realistic set of components

  • Students adding component based ideas that was generated in previous workshops to their diagrams

  • Emphasising the importance of narration in understanding the depth of their ideas

  • Students agency grew throughout the process of seeing their ideas being realised in a 3D realm. Thus, the attention to detail also became more prominent.

See Saw Do will be participating in Open Design Africa's Family Makers Weekend on the 19th and 20th October where everybuddy will have the opportunity to co-invest and share their ideas for this playground environment!