Pallet Playground




This was a social experiment executed with the help of two friends. We created a pallet structure from approximately 150 recycled pallets in a Baltimore park. The structure was stationed exactly in the center of a one-day block party. It turned out to be a major attraction for children. Many climbed and jumped over it while some sat on its ledges.

Step 1: Virtual Prototype.

We found a pallet model online to use for virtual prototyping. After talking to a local pallet rental facility, we knew approximately how many we had to work with. Forming an aesthetically pleasing formation for the pallets in Rhino was the easy part.

Step 2: Construction.

I made this easy-to-read diagram which represents the pallet playground from a bird's eye view. The numbers indicate how many pallets are in each pile. We rented a truck, then transported, unloaded, and arranged the pallets according to this print-out.

Step 3: Done.

The final structure took 10 hours to construct. It was surreal to see our Rhino model come to life in full size. We ended up adding a couple "pallet islands" close by just for fun.



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    4 Discussions


    4 years ago

    Usually children don't stop to read signs. Cheapest way to make it safer would be to nail extra slats from other pallets. A way better idea, but more costly, would be to use 3/4" plywood and screw it to the top pallets. Another thought I had in terms of safety, are the pallets secured to each other and then the ground? Cuz if they shift some serious injuries can happen, even worse if someone is stuck when it shifts.

    Great idea though.


    4 years ago

    While I applaud your work, I must point out that you've set the area up for lawsuits. BIGTIME! The spaces between boards are just asking for a child the get a foot between them and be badly injured.

    2 replies

    Yes, this is an important consideration! We made a sign that said "Climb at Your Own Risk" but of course, people's safety was still a concern. Perhaps something can be done in a future iteration to make the playground safer.


    Simply adding boards, using full top wood pallets on the upper most layer would seem to do the trick. But, of course, no matter what you do, kids will be kids. Someone is gonna get hurt somehow. It's a law of life.