Theme-Based Playgrounds Encourage Imaginative Play

outdoor woods themed playground equipment
An increasing number of parents of kids under 12 are concerned that they are not getting the recommended 60 minutes a day engaged in physical activity. In fact, more than 71% of parents say they are at least somewhat concerned their child might spend too much time in front of screens, and 31% say they are very concerned about this.

Playground designers are working hard to create modern play spaces that are enticing to kids raised on technology and video games. Traditional play equipment—think slides, swings, and climbing apparatus—will always have their place, but new community playgrounds organized around a theme are definitely creating more excitement and intrigue.

Why is themed playground equipment so popular? At the crux of the trend is that themed playgrounds encourage kids to use their imaginations in new and creative ways. Whereas swinging, sliding and climbing on traditional play is either solitary or parallel play, themed playgrounds encourage more interactive, creative play. Spurring imaginative play entices children to play longer and more frequently, taking them away from their screens and outside for fresh air and exercise.

Why else are themed playgrounds so popular?

They Engage Kids of All Ages. Choosing a broad theme like “maritime adventures” allows playground designers to build features within the theme for children of all ages and abilities. Perhaps there is an octopus-inspired climbing structure and a tugboat play tower for younger kids and a multi-level, ship-themed play tower with life preservers, port holes and more nautical features. Both playgrounds inspire fantasy play with working captain’s wheels on both vessels and age-appropriate climbers and slides.

They are Budget Friendly. Taking the gang out bowling, to a ball game, or even to a movie can knock the family budget off the rails. A well-planned themed playground offers families on a budget (and aren’t we all?) the chance to do something fun and unique on a shoestring. Spending an hour at a themed playground is easy and fun for all—families can even plan on enjoying snow cones or soft pretzels as a treat on the way home.

They are Family-Friendly and Fun. Parents need some place to go with their little ones when the walls are closing in on them. A themed playground not only gives restless kids a place to flex their muscles and their imaginations, the set up invites parents to get involved, too. There’s nothing like experiencing play together after a long, stressful day at work and school.

The best news is that creating and installing a themed playground doesn’t have to cost a bundle. Nor does it have to be complicated, especially if you incorporate one of these popular but straightforward themes into your next playground design

Transportation. What kid do you know who isn’t enthralled by planes, trains, and automobiles? From cars and pick-up trucks to firetrucks and space shuttles, most kids love to imitate the adults around them by hopping on things that go “vroom.”

Capture the Castle. Look for castle-themed panels to transform traditional play equipment into a medieval-themed playground. Encourage children to develop their social skills and play together by engaging in stories and make-believe games about kings, queens, dragons, and knights in shining armor.

Ahoy, Mateys! Whether it’s a Curved Shade Roof with Skull & Crossbones or a complete pirate ship from stem to stern, kids can’t resist a pirate-themed playground setup. Choose structures that inspire them to navigate the high seas and swashbuckle their way through the most imaginative adventures in a pirate-themed play space.

Nature. Playground designers working within a tight budget love this option because it plays off the park’s natural setting. Trees, bushes, and other landscape elements can easily be worked into the design, providing shade and opportunities to integrate nature with structural, fabricated elements. Our Grizz-Lee Bear Climber, the Nature Bear Paw Climber With Rocks, and wood grain panels with leafy rooftops are a few of the options we have available to give your playground a natural vibe.

Farmyard. Our barn wall and barn window panels are mainstays of this ever-popular playground theme. We have a wide variety of farmyard structures and accessories to give a down-home feel to your themed playground!

Custom themed playground designs are safe and secure play spaces that will delight kids of all ages. Playing “make-believe” and acting out the behaviors of adults helps kids develop critical thinking skills and social understanding. It’s also a wonderful way to encourage them to think about what they want to be when they grow up.

Trends in playground design change frequently, but one thing never changes: playground designers come to us for play space components and equipment that meets the highest safety standards through our focus on structural integrity, durability, and accessibility.