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Playground equipment – How to plan your new school playground

April 11, 2024, 16:57 GMT+1
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  • Darran Hine offers his advice on setting your playground goals...
Playground equipment – How to plan your new school playground

It’s no secret that children learn through play. Playground equipment is one of the most crucial play areas for a child, whether that’s a child in early years settings or primary school age and beyond.

Playground equipment helps young minds and bodies develop without them even realising it; through enhancing their imagination, socialisation skills and even their physical coordination, strength and balance.

It’s for this reason that choosing the right playground equipment is far more important than many realise. To help you achieve this, it’s important to set goals for your playground.

What are you hoping for?

You need to be clear about what you’re hoping to achieve. Do you want specific equipment or even have specific equipment in mind that you definitely do not want?

Is ease of maintenance important to you? Do you want it to encourage children to play with each other or encourage role play predominantly, rather than climbing and more physical aspects?

Once you’ve developed your goals, it’ll be so much easier to narrow down your search.

Consider the area and budget

It’s important to consider the area you have to play with, pardon the pun. Remember, you’ll want around six feet between each piece of equipment for safety and zoning. Once you’ve looked at your space, it’s important to look at your budget too.

How much do you have for this project? Is that sum simply for equipment or does it need to cover equipment, delivery and installation? If you don’t have enough, can you try to fund raise or even apply for local grants?

Consider your specific age group

Different age groups have different needs and that’s the same for playgrounds. The equipment two to five year olds may enjoy will be totally different to what five to 12 year olds may enjoy.

If you have a very specific age group, it may be easier to pick the right equipment. If you’re catering to a mixed bunch, you may benefit from our design team helping you incorporate the right equipment to provide all ages with the right stimulation.

Incorporating the elements of play

When planning your playground, there are different elements of play to consider. Playgrounds are there to help the development of a child’s emotional, physical, social and cognitive development. By incorporating these elements, you can give your playground a better chance of catering to these needs.

  • Swinging
    While great fun for little ones, this will also help with balance, teaching a little one about their body, where it is in space and allow them to practice both fine (grabbing chains) and gross (kicking legs) motor skills.
  • Spinning
    As well as both fine and gross motor skills, spinning can also help with core strength, enhancing body awareness too.
  • Balancing
    This can help build muscle strength and endurance as well as encourage pretend play and socialisation.
  • Climbing
    Climbing will help both fine and gross motor skills as well as strength, spatial awareness, directional awareness and even sharpening of their visual perception.
  • Brachiating
    Otherwise known as swinging from arm to arm, this can help the brain work both sides, once again developing both fine and gross motor skills as well as coordination.
  • Sensory From music to sand, sensory play can be enjoyed through sight, sound, touch and more. Sensory play helps develop neural connections and support through learning and creativity.

Darran Hine is the Sovereign Sales Director. Find out more at