Principles of Playground Design
Designing a playground can be daunting, but some basic principles can help guide the process. The most important principle is that the playground should be safe for all users. This means choosing non-toxic and durable materials and ensuring the playground is free of sharp edges or other hazards. Children use different types of play to understand the world around them and learn life skills. Unfortunately, most playgrounds only focus on active and physical games. A good playground helps children by providing opportunities to engage in different types of play, including active play, sensory play, creative play, imaginative play, social play, and reflective play. When designing your playground, think about how you can create different game types and opportunities for children to use their bodies and mind and interact with the environment and others.
Another principle of playground design to take note of is ensuring a high level of play in all playground areas. There is no point in creating a playground where a game is in one place, where there are other places no one wants to go, and the kids have to line up. To ensure maximum playability for your budget, you must perform a complete cost analysis of every game element in your design. This will give you a good idea of what to include and exclude. It will also help avoid overspending in some playground areas and underspending in others.
When designing your playground, consider the needs of children with different abilities. This can include physical and mental disabilities but applies to children of different ages, abilities, and strengths. Trying to design a playground where every inch is accessible to every child that can play on it will result in a very dull playground, and it can also have the unintended consequences of separating children with different abilities; instead, focusing on designing intersections or ways for children of all abilities to interact and play with each other. It is helpful to think of ability on a scale in creating space for intersection rather than classifying children as abled or disabled.