The playground is a central part of schoolchildren’s experience and can prove pivotal to their growth and development. With the freedom to roam that they do not have in the classroom, they can form important interpersonal and outlook-based skills. Because of this, you should carefully plan how you will design a school playground to maximize its benefits. Here are four effective design tips for school playgrounds you may follow as you outline the elements you want to use.
Make It Accessible
A fundamental component of playground design is the overall location and accessibility. A school playground should be near the school building itself and have at least a few established pathways that lead to it. There should be a way to easily enter for all students, so consider the different needs and capabilities of the children.
If you have a wide layout or several divisions in the playground, create multiple entrance and exit paths that interconnect them all. This will allow the children to freely travel where they want within the playground.
Think About Placement
When planning where to set up different equipment around the playground, think about the natural movements you will encourage. One equipment piece can lead to the next, so that children can organically move between them. For example, you may place a roundabout at the end of a balance beam.
You may even create diverging paths to varying activities. While you make linear connections between equipment pieces, you can place other types of equipment on either side so that children can decide between several choices. Just like with the overall playground, each equipment piece should be within reach.
At the same time, putting certain components in specific places can serve to maximize the students’ enjoyment. A climbing tower located in a central area can allow children to look over the whole playground in all directions, for instance.
Create Distinct Areas
Children have different personalities and natural interests, so the playground should reflect that. Formulate various sections that can accommodate many activities. You may include a place for climbing, a hut section for roleplaying, an open field for sports, and a seating area.
By designing several zones, you can ensure that all children can find a comfortable place to play and diversify where they decide to go on any given day. Some students may prefer running around as much as possible, some may want more quiet, and others might like to move around between areas frequently.
Incorporate Some (Safe) Risk
Using the equipment that you select, you should also integrate some risk. The ability to take risks will be useful for the children as they learn and grow. A small way for them to start is attempting to progress on the monkey bar rungs or walk on a balance beam.
At the same time, you still want to make sure that children are not put in serious danger. Pay attention to the equipment’s shape and finish. Create smoothness, avoid sharp edges or protruding points, and check that the equipment’s stability is prioritized. Plastic lumber planks may be a good option for building material, since you can avoid the degradation of normal wood that might lead to splintering and increased fragility. If you are thinking about using plastic lumber for your playground design, Bedford Technology is the perfect place to look. We specialize in providing durable plastic lumber in custom shapes and colors for whatever your application needs may be.