Designing a custom playground is an exciting, rewarding experience. You get to choose the equipment that matches your community’s needs while creating a safe space for children of all ages and abilities to play. What you may be surprised to learn is that the selection of playground equipment is expansive.
Between swings, slides, spinners, climbers, etc., it’s tempting to want to include everything in your design! That said, a successful playground is one that caters to your demographic, is safe and comfortable for visitors and meets your budget. You surely don’t need everything!
What Makes a Great Playground?
Before deciding on what playground equipment you should have, it helps to know what elements make a park a happy place to be.
Motion. Kids like to move, and the park is the perfect place to do this. Your playspace should have lots of space for kids to run, jump, play and climb. The equipment should also have moving parts - swings, ziplines, seesaws, etc.
Green space. Part of playing at the park is being in the great outdoors. Incorporate elements of nature into your design. You can do this by choosing a large open space or laying down artificial turf.
Colorful and inviting. Pick inclusive playground equipment that is colorful and welcoming to children of all ages and abilities. Also, incorporate various colors and textures to foster creative play and imagination.
Accessible. An inclusive playground makes room for all children to play together. Be sure to factor in ramps to higher levels and alternative paths to stairs so that children with special needs can participate in the fun.
Types of Equipment that Every Playspace Needs
So what types of equipment should your playground have? From our experience, here is a list of items that we feel are necessary.
Inclusive equipment. Obviously, a playground is not a playground without some fun equipment! Pick your equipment based on who will be using your park. If you’re catering to all ages, consider breaking your park into two sections - one for older kids and one for younger kids. Some of our favorite playground equipment includes:
Slides (spiral, double looping, sensory-filled)
Picnic tables and benches. Give people a place to sit and relax while their kids play. Sturdy picnic tables and benches meet this need.
Shade structures. Keep visitors cool by offering plenty of shade. Shade structures can be easily added to protect families from the sun, wind and rain.
Playground surfacing. Playground surfacing keeps kids safe if they fall and improves the aesthetic of your park. Popular options include recycled rubber, synthetic turf and engineered wood fiber.
Planning a playground for your community? Contact Cunningham Recreation to discuss your ideas. We'll help you design the perfect playground that serves your community and meets your budget.