Factors to Consider When Designing a Play Environment
From Maryland to West Virginia to DC, a playground should be a bright spot within any community. It should be a place where children can gather to have fun and build relationships. Likewise, parents should be able to enjoy their time at the playground, knowing that their kids are getting exercise and generally enjoying the outdoors.
If you have been tasked with the important job of designing a play environment, you may be overwhelmed by the possibilities and number of factors you need to consider.
Let’s take a look at some of the most important elements of this task.
One of your first missions regarding playground design should be to incorporate as much variety into the space as possible. Remember, it is likely going to be the same children using the playground day after day, so you want them to remain engaged as time goes by. By incorporating a variety of different play elements, you can help each child to find something fresh during every visit. Also, by adding variety to your playground, you will appeal to a wider audience of kids. For instance, a playground which focuses on big slides may not be fun for a child with a fear of heights. Try to think about this task from as many different perspectives as possible in order to create something that all will enjoy.
Keeping with the theme of providing everyone with a way to have fun, remember to meet the ADA guidelines on playground design so children with disabilities feel welcome, as well. When designed properly, a playground can allow – and even encourage – kids with disabilities to play right along with the rest of the children.
Design Natural Boundaries
Kids are going to wander – their curiosity is natural, and it is up to parents/guardians to keep an eye on them and keep them safe. However, with that said, the design of your playground can help to point the kids in the right direction. Use subtle, natural boundaries – such as a change in ground surface – to indicate where the playground ends. This kind of design is going to help encourage the kids to stay on the playground rather than drifting away to explore other areas. Also, within the playground, try to organize your equipment in a way that provides easy movement from one play space to the next.
Take Advantage of Your Opportunities
It is not easy to secure a piece of land for a playground. Once you do get that land secured, it only makes sense to use as much of it as possible in an effective manner. That doesn’t mean you have to squeeze as much playground equipment as possible onto the property, but it does mean you should think through the entire area and decide how it can be effectively put to use. Most likely, this is going to mean a combination of playground equipment and open space for running around, playing catch, etc. It would be a shame to look back and feel that you didn’t make the best possible use of your available space, so take time at the beginning to consider all possibilities.