Child-oriented engagement to inform the design of play spaces

Bayside Council

Sir Joseph Banks Park Children’s Engagement

As part of Bayside Council’s master planning process for Sir Joseph Banks Park in Botany, Sydney, Cred Consulting was engaged by Council to design and deliver child-oriented engagement to inform the design of the future regional play space at SJB Park.

Children taking part in activities during the Sir Joseph Banks Park community event (Source: ©Photo by Matthew Duchesne for Cred).

How we did it

Our engagement was designed and implemented to ensure the rights of the child are respected where they have the opportunities to influence their environment. To put in practice global and national planning priorities ‘child-friendly cities are places where the voices… and rights of children are an integral part of public policies, programmes and decisions’, Cred in collaboration with Collective Impact Arts designed and delivered a creative engagement program to encourage children to meaningfully participate, while having fun throughout.

We organised and delivered a three-hour community event on-site at SJB Park – including a range of activities for children and adults, while enjoying free ice-cream and face painting – to understand what young families and children would like to see in the future play space and what they value about the park. The engagement program and activities were centred around ‘play principles’ – using the senses, imagination, exploration, discovery and collaboration, and were designed to be as vibrant, inquisitive and energetic as the participants themselves.


The program used a variety of tactile tools and techniques ranging from looking into the future through crafty binoculars, using inked thumbs to vote for favourite type of play, to being a TV reporter for ‘Bayside news’. The place-based and immersive activities attracted participants who are typically hard to engage and captured the invaluable voices of over 470 children and families who use the park regularly.

Cred also engaged with four local schools within close proximity to SJB park and designed and delivered two in-school workshops with SRC students from years K-6.

Cred's Jen Guice showing a young child where he can add his ideas on an engagement board
Young families and children were encouraged to have their say in the future of their local playground (Source: Matthew Duchesne For Cred)
Mother and child checking out the engagement boards
Cred designed various forms of engagement and materials to gather diverse input Source: Matthew Duchesne For Cred)
Child with cardboard binoculars drawing ideas to contribute
The community came together for a family-focused day filled with activities, face-painting and child-friendly fun (Source: Matthew Duchesne For Cred)
Cred's Abinaya Rajavelu helping a young child stick red and yellow dots next to what play spaces they want to see.
Children were encouraged to participate in adding their ideas (Source: Matthew Duchesne For Cred)

The outcome

The project demonstrated the role and importance of involving and listening to children in the planning processes to deliver positive social and environmental outcomes, and sowing the seeds for long-term community participation.

Cred received over 280 completed activity sheets designed for school children ages K-6.

We analysed data from all engagement activities and prepared a public-facing document for the community to see their ideas captured through engagement, as well as an internal engagement report on the details and findings from child-oriented consultation.

Owing to the high quality of engagement and master plan that responded to the needs and aspirations of the community, Council succeeded in obtaining funding of $2.5 million for construction of the regional adventure play space through the NSW Government’s Legacy Grant program.

This project won the award for Stakeholder Engagement at the Planning Institute of Australia’s 2022 NSW Awards for Planning Excellence.