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A playground is a place for imagination and happy memories to develop in children of all ages. When designing a playground installation in Austin, there are many areas to consider that will help create a space that will captivate the minds of children for years to come. Types of play, age group, location, and activity level are all things to consider when constructing a playground. 

Research the Community

In the planning stages, there are many ways to add to the foundation of the vision while keeping in mind the end result. Playgrounds are areas where families take their children and create bonds and memories. Building a sense of place is important on many levels. Try to incorporate the spirit of the community. The culture of the community is positive for immediate and long-term growth for the children and the community. Children’s playground equipment will help them establish a sense of community in Austin as they grow.

In the planning stages, talk to children about what they want in a playground. They’re who it is getting built for, so knowing what they want is a plus. Look at the landscape where the playground is getting built. Children have extensive imaginations, so try to build nature into the structure. For example, large stones could serve as a bridge to get across imaginary hot lava, or placing a bench under a large tree could be a nice retreat for parents.

Design for Different Types of Play

Many playgrounds today only focus on the physical and active types of play, so designing a playground for all types of play is important. These are seven different types of play:

  • Active play involves any movement of the body such as running, jumping,or climbing. Going down slides, or using monkey bars are examples of active play.
  • Sensory play involves the senses by incorporating textures, sounds, colors, and different perspectives. Using bright colors or different building materials are examples of incorporating sensory experiences into the playground.
  • Creative play involves music, dance, and communication. Building structures that allow children to make music will help foster creativity.
  • Imaginative play involves make-believe and pretend play. Play structures that resemble houses, castles, or boats will boost imaginative play.
  • Manipulative play involves building, sifting, and scooping. Sand boxes are a great way to influence manipulative play.
  • Social play involves sharing and taking turns. A slide is a good example of an area where children have to practice social skills in order to use the structure.
  • Reflective play involves resting and daydreaming. This is just as important as the other areas of play because children need a rest in between all of the physical and mental stimulation. Quiet areas that are secluded will allow children to have this reflective time.

Keep the Flow of Space in Mind

Flow of space is also important when designing a playground. Create paths that have a purpose and flow smoothly from one area to another. Establish different areas that are for different activity levels and age groups. For example, have a smooth path leading to an area for young children that are still getting used to walking. For older children, you could create steps that lead to areas of play that involve higher skill levels.

Another way to captivate the imagination and curiosity of children is to create small surprises around the playground. Get on their level and paint small pictures that tell stories, build secret doors that lead to rooms under the structures, or place knobs that make sounds sporadically around the playground. These little things will create big adventures for children on the playground.

Designing a playground is a fun experience when you look through a child’s eyes. Creating a playground that will cultivate experiences that will last a lifetime is a great accomplishment. When designing a playground, consider all of the things mentioned. In doing so, you are sure to create an exciting place to play.

Playground Equipment in Austin, Tx

T.F. Harper & Associates LP has years of experience in Playground designing, installation and equipment selection. We can help you with your new playground plans! Visit our website or give us a call today!

Featured image: “Детская площадка. Playground” by Veronika Korkushko, used under CC-BY-SA.

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