Children often choose a variety of settings for their playtime. A fantastic “playground” may resemble an untamed forest grove, a modest junkyard, or a priceless work of art. In what ways does a fantastic playground design consist? These ten guidelines serve as a guide for the designs made by the Playground Ideas team:
Create various play styles.
Children learn about the world and develop life skills through various forms of play. Sadly, vigorous, physical play is the only sort of play that is prioritised at most playgrounds. By allowing kids to participate in a variety of play activities, a good playground encourages development and challenges kids. When planning a playground, think about how you can accommodate various play styles, opportunities for kids to engage their bodies and minds, and ways for them to interact with the environment and others:
– Physical activity, such as jogging, jumping, climbing, and punching. rolling, swinging, spinning, and twirling. Up, down, and all-around body movement
– Sensory play: Feeling various intriguing textures, smelling flowers and plants, hearing music and sounds, tasting palatable plants and fruits, and viewing various perspectives and angles as well as lovely shapes and colors.
– Creative play, including singing, drumming, dancing, crafting, painting, coloring, and writing. Children can connect and communicate by using their creativity.
– Imaginative play includes dressing up, pretending, and acting. Children can role-play and act out imaginary scenes using play houses, pretend ships, dolls, costumes, and props. + Manipulative play consists of constructing, shaping, manipulating, sifting, pouring, scooping, stacking, combining, and changing.
– Social play Talking, sharing, working together, taking turns, abiding by “rules,” and participating in sports are all examples of social play.
– Reflective play includes things like observing, taking a break, pondering, fantasising, and simply staring into space. These aren’t the only ways kids play, of course, but they do assist us to understand play more broadly.
These aren’t the only ways that youngsters play, of course. In actuality, there are 16 distinct “categories” of play, according to play researchers. See how many of these play activities you can fit into your playground’s design using these play types as your guide.
Establish a sense of place.
It took us some time to figure out how to include a “feeling of place” into designs. A volunteer who helped construct one of Playground Ideas’ first playgrounds in Thailand provided the following quote:
When we once constructed a playground with a castle motif, one of the construction workers asked me, “What is a castle?” as the project was almost complete. Although the kids seemed to like the playground a lot, I realised we were missing something crucial.
A preschool playground design that lacks a sense of place appears generic and might be located anywhere. A playground that has a strong sense of place reflects the locality, culture, and “soul” of the neighbourhood. Many favourable outcomes for children and the entire community depend on feeling anchored in the location and culture where you live.
It promotes a feeling of civic pride and community. We feel united by the tales we share, the yearly festivities, the scenery, the buildings, the people, the weather, the jokes, and the customs.
Have faith in kids’ imaginations.
Adults frequently create playthings with a single use in mind, such as slides for sliding down, swings for swinging on, and monkey bars for climbing. But because of their limitless creativity, kids will always find ways to use objects for reasons other than those for which they were intended. A good preschool playground design should support kids’ inventiveness and let them run wild. Include playground equipment that can be used in as many different ways as you can.
Make room for surprises and secrets.
You will see the world differently if you spend an afternoon taking a stroll through a city with a young child. They’ll be mesmerised by the movement of falling leaves floating through the air, hypnotised as they follow the crack in the sidewalk or footpath, and utterly delighted by the way the garbage can lid swings. Children have a keen awareness of the world’s little wonders. For them, the magic of a playground can sometimes be found in the small details rather than the larger structures and features. Include tidbits of information that players can discover as they play throughout your design.
A playground is made and kept interesting by little painted pictures in nooks and corners, covert hiding places, interesting textures, handles and levers, peep holes, unexpected sounds, and talking tubes. These particulars are easily overlooked or forgotten while constructing, so give them top priority in your design.
Take the room’s “flow” into account.
Children don’t move in straight lines when they are playing naturally. All of the playground’s elements must be connected properly for the playground to “flow” well.
Consider a playground where there is a path leading to the rope bridge, cargo net, and monkey bars, but you can detour to the hopscotch, slide, or tree house in between these features. When there is good “flow,” there will be no traffic jams on the playground and the child will always have new directions to explore.
Establish zones with varying degrees of energy.
Depending on the activities that will likely occur there, think about the mood or atmosphere you want to create in various areas of the playground. A corner with a slide and a rope swing, for instance, might be lively and noisy, whereas a corner with a garden and a bench might encourage more quiet reflection.
Many outdoor preschool playground layouts make an effort to make the most of available space by tucking extras like seats or chalkboards under platforms and climbing frames. This may work if the tasks are similar, but try conversing with a friend or drawing a picture while people are stomping and shouting above you. Wouldn’t you prefer to be in a quiet environment? By dividing areas into different energy zones, space is made available for various types of activities. Make space on your website for kids to shout and yell, chat and laugh with their friends, or just relax and daydream.
Avoid focusing too much on looks.
Each and every kid should have a lovely space to play, one with appealing hues, forms, and materials. Be careful not to get overly preoccupied with the space’s appearance when you are designing it. It’s acceptable if kids’ play sometimes appears unkempt and disorganised. To provide a space where play can occur, not just a pretty yard, is the purpose of a playground, keep that in mind. More crucial than aesthetics is playability.
Consider intersection design.
Remember to account for the requirements of kids with varying abilities while developing your website. This encompasses children with various ages, abilities, and capabilities as well as those with mental and physical problems. It would be pretty boring to create a playground where every square inch could be used by any youngster who might want to play there. Additionally, it may unintentionally result in the separation of children with differing capacities.
Instead, concentrate on creating “intersections,” or chances for kids of all abilities to engage in play and interaction with one another. Instead of classifying children as “disabled” and “able-bodied,” it is useful to think about ability on a scale when constructing “intersection” areas or outdoor preschool playground layout. Designing places with features that have a range of difficulty rather than a distinction like a handicap slide allows you to take into account the strengths of youngsters on a scale. A feature with a scale of difficulty is something like a rock-climbing wall. A rock-climbing wall features different levels of difficulty all on the same wall, allowing a novice and an expert to climb next to one other and challenge themselves in ways that are suited to their ability.