1. Home
  2. /
  3. Articles
  4. /
  5. How To Design A Safe & Fun Playground To Suit Your Outdoor S...

How To Design A Safe & Fun Playground To Suit Your Outdoor Space

Written by:
Sovereign Play Equipment
Pond Juprasong

Ideas For A Safe and Fun Schoolyard Playground

Time in nature is so important for kids. It helps them to achieve their NHS recommended exercise targets, and is known to improve their confidence and social relationships. Having a playground at school helps children to benefit from all of the above and more, encouraging learners of all ages to get outdoors and move in the fresh air. 

Whether your playground is compact, sizable or something in between, there are lots of ways to make sure that you create outdoor play equipment that is visually impactful, fun and safe. With careful design considerations you can make the most of every square foot of your school grounds, enabling your pupils to learn and have fun in many different ways. Read on to find out more about the different ideas and considerations to make depending on your outdoor space: 

A Compact Playground

Some schools with a compact space will choose one large piece of equipment only, such as a climbing frame or tower, so that there is an eye-catching feature for the children that doesn’t feel lacking just because it is the only piece of equipment in the play area. Often these pieces will contain swings, climbing sections, bridges and more, so it’s a real multi-centre of activity. 

This does have to be done with clearance in mind, as any item where children are going to be raised off the ground comes with a clearance needed around it to ensure children land on the protective material of the playground surface if they do fall, and not onto something else like a fence, or hard concrete. 

There are other options available should you miss out on larger equipment because you have a compact playground space. The children in your care can still have a wonderful time outside in nature with additions such as: 

Playground markings - they last a long time, and children can create all kinds of games alone and socially with even the smallest of designs

Social signs - you can add signs to the playground that encourage children to be social, so they can play together and create games in the space

Smaller pieces of equipment - playground talk tubes, building blocks, and similar equipment and accessories, means children have props to have fun with whilst also still having the bulk of the outdoor space available to run around in

Wall accessories - see below

Plenty Of Space

If you have a lot of space and don’t want to create a messy looking, confused outdoor space with no real flow, many experts recommend zoning the space. This means creating different areas to separate different equipment that you might choose to invest in. 

You could have a sensory zone with mud kitchens, sand pits and musical instruments, and an activity zone with climbing frames and swings. You might want to split the space into equipment for older and younger children, if that makes more sense for your school. For visual separation and easier indications for children to follow it is a good idea to utilise bright wetpour or vivid grass, fencing and signage so that aesthetically, the playground is not just one mish-mash of equipment. 

Schools with a lot of space may also want to include larger pieces of equipment that take up a lot of space like towers, larger climbing frames, climbing assault courses and even zip lines. You could also utilise the space so you have fenced playground areas including equipment, and then a play area outside of that with court markings, game-themed playground markings and social zones. 

Integrating Walls 

Integrating walls within the environment is helpful if you find your outdoor space is somewhat ‘interrupted’ by those physical elements. Compact playgrounds, in particular, can benefit from integrating walls into the space so that the lack of floor space does not restrict the fun available to pupils. Chalkboard wall panels, for example, are vertical, so they can work with even the smallest of playground areas, enabling kids to be creative and have fun at playtime. Standing Perspex panels and blackboards for painting or drawing with wipeable pens and chalk can be of a similar vein and are flexible as they could be bought out and put away so the full playground can be utilised for PE or other activities away from playtime. 

Wall grips can also be added for children to climb a section of the wall, all at a suitable height and with surface advisories. Many of the above solutions can also be integrated into fencing, depending on the type of fencing and the ability for it to bear weight. 

Making The Most Of The Surface

The surfacing of a playground has to be safe as per the latest health and safety guidelines for playgrounds in the UK. What you can also do to bring your entire design together, and create endless opportunities for fun and learning, is to make the most of the surface with thermoplastic markings. We mentioned them a few times above, because they are suitable for any sized space, and can be helpful in multiple different ways when it comes to a playground design. 

You can have arrows, a daily mile track, court markings, games, signage - the possibilities are endless. They can be a really great way to bring a playground to life, and to make the most of your outdoor area whatever the size. Even better, thermoplastic markings are durable, reflective, bright, and often available in many colours, so once you have them placed they will bring the opportunity for fun day after day, season after season. 

Speak To The Experts For More Advice

Ultimately, you need advice from the experts to understand exactly what can be done with your outdoor playground space to ensure that it is as safe, well-designed and beneficial to your little learners as possible. 

More often than not, schools can have much more done with an outdoor space than might be assumed. Compact spaces don’t mean fun-free zones, and giant spaces don’t have to mean chaotic layouts, or open spaces lacking in structure or character. 

Speak to a professional playground equipment company today to find out more about the potential for your school's outdoor space. With high-quality thermoplastic markings, durable equipment and thoroughly considered aesthetics and design, your playground will be safe, fun, and encourage your little learners to make the most of their playtimes everyday. 

By Liliana Alvarez

Share on: