Whether for work or play, model-making is a great way to get creative and build impressive miniature displays. It is possible to make very accurate and detailed model playgrounds for engineering purposes, but simpler versions are an option if you want a model for a play area or school project. A basic guide leaves room for your own designs and ideas. The finished product is the perfect complement to a dollhouse or model train setup.
Things You'll Need
- Large foam board, 2 sheets, 1/8-inch-to-1/4-inch thick
- Black construction paper sheets
- White chalk
- Squares of green felt
- Small bag of fine beige gravel
- Hot glue
- Small utility knife
- Small plastic ring
- Paint with metallic finish
- Mini fake trees
Design the Base
Lay your chosen ground cover on a sheet of foam board to plot out the perimeter and design of the model playground. Use cutout black paper for basketball court blacktop (drawing court boundaries with white chalk), cutout green felt for grass and fine gravel for the ball diamond.
Decide on the design of the ground, and hot glue the cutout pieces of various ground cover to one of the sheets of foam board.
Cut off any excess cardboard that is not a part of the base design.
Make the Toys
Build a slide by cutting out two long rectangles from the second piece of foam board with the utility knife. One of these will be the slide itself, and the other will be for the ladder. Cut out smaller rectangles along the length of the ladder to form the steps and sides. Glue the two parts together to make the slide.
Gather toothpicks into bundles of five or so to make the top and side bars for a swing set. Tie the bundles together with string, and hot glue them together at their ends to make one top bar with two legs coming down from each end.
Add swings to the swing set by cutting out small pieces of foam board for the swings themselves. Thread the needle, and poke it through either end of each swing to make the chains. Knot the thread under the swings, and tie the other end to the top bar of the swing set.
Construct monkey bars using whole and broken pieces of toothpicks. Hot glue the pieces together at their ends to make the design you wish. Your options could include a dome shape, vertical and horizontal ladders, or more complex constructions that combine a variety of shapes.
Enclose the baseball diamond with a fence made from hot glued toothpicks, and add all three bases and home plate with small pieces of cutout foam board.
Build a basketball hoop by cutting out a long, thin rectangle (for the pole) with a semi-circle sitting on the top for the backboard. Hot glue the small plastic ring to the backboard to make the hoop (sticking it out horizontally from the semi-circle), and tie thread to the ring to make the net.
Finish the toys by painting them with metallic finish paint in the colors of your choice. Take care to avoid getting paint on the threaded parts. Allow the toys to dry completely, and hot glue them to the base to fit your design.
Construct small benches for the playground by cutting out rectangles of foam board — one for the bench back and one for the seat — and gluing them onto toothpicks as legs. Paint these if you wish, and glue them to the playground model.
Glue some small fake trees onto the model to give the playground a more realistic and outdoor feel.
Place the playground model in a space where it is out of the way of foot traffic and can be played with easily.
Tips & Warnings
- Experiment with the shape and layout of the playground before you glue the ground cover down.
- Before making the toys, decide on a scale to make the playground more realistic.
- Spray paint may work better than heavier paints to preserve the shape of the poster board.
- Always observe caution when using electric items like a hot glue gun, as well as fumes, such as those in spray paint.
- Photo Credit BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images Zedcor Wholly Owned/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images