DIY Placemaking Recipe Book

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Sometimes the best things come in small packages. That’s true for community projects, where the most impactful actions can be very simple, quick, and inexpensive. We’re partnering with AARP Vermont to write a “recipe book” with how-to instructions, templates and practical tips for some of the most popular community placemaking projects, from wayfinding signs to parklets, guerrilla gardening to play streets. We’re sharing a draft of the first set of recipes now, and we would love to hear what you think! We’ll be adding another half dozen and releasing the first book in 2019.

Draft recipe book

Can’t wait for the book? You don’t have to. Here’s a PDF draft of the first six recipes, just for you.

Penny for your thoughts?

We’d love to hear what you think of the draft recipes. We’ll use your feedback to be sure we’ve got the format and content right, and then to design the next set. After you check out the draft, please use this quick form to tell us what you think.

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Community Bingo Game Kit

Need a fun ice breaker or group activity for a community event? Community bingo is one of the easiest activities you can do. Plus it has a whole bunch of benefits, from building relationships and helping neighbors get to know each other to identifying community skills and assets.

We developed this easy activity as a great starter for community workshops and planning events, but there many ways you can use it. We’ve done versions for resilience and climate change workshops, for neighborhood networking events, for municipal planning and more. Just change the categories and the text to help your group discover all kinds of things about their neighbors.

Download our complete versions (for community asset mapping, neighborhood connections or resilience), print and go!

Want to change it up? You can also download a Microsoft Word template and add your own categories or create a new version.

Community Bingo Kit Instructions

  1. Download and print

  2. Click download above to get our print-ready files for resilience or community bingo. They’re chock-full of good community-related skills and assets. Print on paper or cardstock — you can even print two to a page if you want to walk the sustainability talk.

  3. (Or customize)

    If you want to add your own categories or design a bingo game tailored to a different topic, download the Word file instead and click on each square to add your text. Try one for school or education planning, for food and farm events, for climate and energy, or whatever floats your boat.

  4. Plan your event.

    This works well for groups of many sizes, from about 10 up to 100 or more. If you have a small group size, you might need to let people fill in the same name for more than one square. At a community meeting, set aside at least 10 minutes for people to do this activity, or hand out cards on the way in and let people fill them out as they mingle and get settled.

  5. Make it worthwhile.

    Believe it or not, there may be a few people out there who are NOT chomping at the bit to play bingo or are reluctant to get all friendly and talk to their neighbors. Prizes will help get them in the game — even small ones. Bonus points for giving away community-related swag: try seed packets, first aid kits, or coupons to a downtown shop.

  6. Make it snappy.

    Another way to get people moving and stay on track: timers. Timers offer instant motivation; as soon as you show them a ticking clock, people will be off and running.

  7. Start your asset map.

    This activity can be just plain fun, but why waste all the info that people gather? Collect the sheets and at the end and you’ll have the start of an inventory or asset map of community skills.

Pop-Up Theater Kit

What if our downtowns and streets and storefronts weren't just about getting where you need to go and doing what you need to do? What if they were also spaces for play and fun and creativity? We think they can be - that's why we created the pop-up theater. And you can too!

CW is proud to be one of fifty winners nationwide in the Play Everywhere competition from KaBOOM.

Kids need play for their brains, their bodies, and their spirits. Grown ups and communities do too, for all the same reasons.

Community Workshop was one of fifty winners nationwide in the Play Everywhere Challenge, designed to bring play into everyday spaces and improve the lives of kids and families. Putting up a bright, fun play space can transform a vacant downtown lot (or a Laundromat, office, or bus stop) into a dynamic space for kids, while transforming ordinary errands into an opportunity for families to connect and create. Kids can get dramatic while their parents get the laundry done or pick up a pizza. That makes play truly accessible and makes families' lives easier and more fun.

We designed and built a whimsical, compact, portable play stage that kids can use to create and put on impromptu puppet shows and plays. Our build partner — Living Edge Woodworking — created a flexible and inexpensive design that can easily fold up and fit into a wide variety of small and unexpected places. The prototype has spent time in a downtown parklet, homeless shelter, rec center, and on a Main Street sidewalk. As part of our launch, we partnered with the Arts Bus to offer two kids’ art events to activate the space and help kids make puppets to use.

Check out the other amazing Play Everywhere competition winners, from municipal slides to sidewalk games to a kit of parks. We're honored to be in their company! 

You can download the plans for free and build your own. If you’re in the neighborhood and would like us to bring the theater to you, get in touch! We are happy to loan it out for community events or sites, or facilitate a kids’ art or theater event.


  1. Download the full pop-up theater kit.

    The kit includes detailed plans and directions for building your own pop-up theater, painting it, and tips for installing and using it. You’ll need a number of building supplies, paint, some tools, and basic carpentry skills.

  2. Find a place that needs play (or several).

    The best locations are safe, legal, accessible, and in need of things for kids to do. They can be public or private, indoors or out, one-off events or longer term installations. We’ve brought our pop-up theater to a vacant lot on Main Street, community festivals, schools, businesses, shelters and more.

  3. Install the theater.

    Set it up, be sure it’s stable and secure, and add a sign telling people what it is and letting them know they are welcome to play! Stop by regularly to check for damage and maintain it if needed.

  4. Program it.

    The theater may be just fine by itself, but it will be even more successful if you can add on some fun elements or include events and programming. Try leaving puppets, costumes or props to make it exciting. We built an improv spinner wheel to give kids ideas when it’s set up in an outdoor location. Puppet-making events, open mic sessions, or theater classes would also help draw people in!

  5. Get social! #popuptheater

    Take photos and spread the word on social media. We’d love to see your theaters popping up everywhere, and we’ll share them here!

Thanks to our partners for help making this happen:

Local Heroes Kit

Who are the local heroes in your community? The firefighters and schoolteachers, the people who quietly pick up trash and pull weeds, the movers and shakers, or the peacemakers? Whoever they are, there's power in recognizing them. Download our free Local Heroes kit with printable cards. Hang it up at an event or public space, and watch your community smile as you honor these special folks.

Everyone needs a little inspiration. There's no better way to learn about your great neighbors than to ask people to nominate their local heroes. That's why we created a FREE kit to help you shine a spotlight on people just being good to each other.

The Local Heroes kit sets you up with a simple way to discover and celebrate the good in your community. You set up a table on the street, at an event, or in your store, then ask passers-by to nominate their local hero. Make sure they explain why, and then hang up their nomination cards on the wall or on a clothesline.  

Simply download, print, and share the love. This FREE kit will help your neighbors smile, come together, and remember that we're all in this together.


  1. Download our Local Heroes card template.

    Print enough copies for your event, or to set up a good clothesline (20-50 is usually a good start). Colored paper makes them stand out!

  2. Find a spot.

    Find a place and time that will work well. You can just set it up and leave it there (we recommend hiding in the bushes to watch the fun!) or you can set it up at an event, which is a good way to get a lot of traffic. We love putting these up at community festivals, town meetings, or in the hallway of a library, town office or school. They are also great on downtown bulletin boards or empty storefront windows!

  3. Set up your Local Heroes line or wall.

    Clotheslines work well for trees or on a wall, but you can also use a bulletin board or just tape on a wall. Hang up some blank cards and leave out pens and markers. Fill out a couple to “seed” it and show people what to do!

  4. Snap a pic and share! #ourlocalheroes

    People will love seeing photos of the clothesline as it goes up, and of people taking comments.

  5. Keep on celebrating….

    If you set up at an event, you’ll likely need to take down your line at the end. But don’t throw it away! Many community organizations will find it inspiring and might want to take it over - ask your library, school, or fire department to start. If you can’t find a new home for it, you can still spread a lot of smiles by handout out the cards you collected to the people they honor. Stuff them in mailboxes, deliver them with a smile and thanks, or tape them onto front doors under cover of night!

Emergency Election Affirmations Kit

Calling creative community first responders!

We're in a state of emergency... national politics is a giant mushroom cloud of wacko negativity. And that trickles down. The name calling, disrespect and partisanship aren't just bad for our country — they're bad for our cities and towns, our neighborhoods and our own personal karma.

That's why we've put together an emergency election affirmation kit. If you’re feeling icky, simply download, print, and blanket your community in positive, happy thoughts today.

Ugly rhetoric and disrespect are seriously harshing our national mellow. That's why we created a FREE kit to help you paint your community in positivity.

The name calling and partisanship aren't just bad for our country - they're equally damaging to our communities and neighborhoods. How can we rebuild streets, tackle climate change, and educate our kids if we can't stop chasing emails and grabbing each other by various body parts?

It's time to stage an intervention.

Simply download, print, and share the love. These FREE stencils and tear-off posters will help your neighbors smile, come together, and remember that we're all in this together.


  1. Download our Election Affirmation Stencil designs and make your stencils.

    Print the design out onto a material that will work for stencils. Plastic or mylar sheets are best; cardstock or cardboard can work. If you want the stencils to be larger than your printer paper, project them onto pasteboard or a larger sheet, and trace around the design. Cut out the letters, and if you use cardboard or cardstock, tape or laminate so it will hold up to paint.

  2. Pick a spot, get your paint, and spray positivity.

    Find a good location and materials for stenciling. Keep it legal, folks — use temporary chalk spray paint or tempera paint and steer clear of private property (or get permission). Public locations are great — Main Streets, town halls and political venues. Smooth sidewalks or pavement work best. Polling places are great, as long as you abide by local election rules. Use tape or a buddy to hold down the stencil while you spray.

  3. Snap a pic and share! #imwithUS

    Share on social and spread your message even wider. We’ll post some of our favorites here.


  1. Download and print our tear-off fliers.

    Easy peasy: download the file, load up your printer, and run off copies to post around your neighborhood.

  2. Post & enjoy.

    Bring along some tape or thumbtacks and hang up your tear-off sheets on bulletin boards or other public places. Keep an eye on them - we have a feeling the tabs will be gone in no time!

  3. Snap a pic and share! #imwithUS

    Share on social and pass the word along.

Community Flash Mob Kit

You haven't lived until you've danced in the streets! At CW, we believe in the power of the arts to bring people together. We also believe that nothing beats a spontaneous dance party. So why not combine the two? Use our free Spotify playlist and organize your own... 

Flashmobs are spontaneous mass performances — dancing, music, theater, or any other creative spectacle. Why? Why not?Flashmobs are fun, surprising, interesting, thought-provoking, community-building wonders. They can be simple and just for fun, or can be carefully planned to educate, inform, or engage people in serious topics.

For the past few years we've organized community dance flash mobs for events, including this one at the Foodaroo food and music festival in Middlebury Vermont.

Ready to go? Use our Spotify playlist to get grooving!

Need some inspiration? Check out Flashmobs on YouTube for some great examples.


  1. Find your opportunity

    Picking a great time and place is half the battle. You want it to be public, at a time when a lot of people will be around — but don’t obstruct traffic or block sidewalks, and we don’t recommend interrupting important speeches or events. The less people expect something crazy, the funnier it will be.

  2. Tap your team.

    Decide whether you want this to be a hush-hush event, which will mean a smaller, invite-only flashmob, or whether you want to go big and spread the word. Either way, put out a call for dancers early on. You might need to do a little arm-twisting.

  3. Plan, share and practice.

    Choose a song and plan some choreographed dance moves — it helps to have a choreographer friend for this step! It’s up to you how choreographed and complicated you want to make it. Think about how skilled your dancers are and how much time you have to practice. Then share around the song and the steps, and get your team to practice on their own and/or in person. Make a clear plan for where you’re going to meet up, how you’re going to start, and what everyone should wear, bring or do. Pro tip: make a simple video to teach the moves if you can’t all get together.

  4. Bring it! #communityflashmob

    One the music starts, there’s no going back! Test out your sound equipment and set up ahead of time, and get the volume right. If you’re attempting something top secret, be sure you arrive in cognito and at different times. Don’t forget to plant someone in the crowd to capture it all on video and film! Post it up on social at the end and share it with the world.