Quick Guide to a Great Playground

  • Watch how children play and imitate their play habits through landscape, play features and activities.
  • Identify natural features in your existing play area and enhance them. Include a variety of natural textures, colors, and terrains.
  • Establish spaces where kids can be alone (reading area) or with friends (playhouse).
  • Realize that the outdoors is not simply for gross motor skill development or “burning energy”. The playground is an independent classroom where children apply what they know.
  • Include different ages in the same play group. Believe it or not, kids learn from kids!
  • Arm yourself with a copy of the US CPSC’s Handbook for Public Playground Safety (www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/pubs/325.pdf) to ward off unknowledgeable inspectors who invent safety guidelines on the spot.
  • Understand that safety has more do with protecting kids than avoiding law suits. Comply to safety guidelines, but where appropriate, use your best judgment (based on experience and common sense)
  • Read what child development research and experts have to say about outdoor play before listening to the advice of a local sales rep for a mainland manufacturer.
  • Conform to Change. Keep your outdoor space flexible and adjust to the growing needs of kids. An all encompassing quick fix out of a glossy playground catalog is expensive, permanent, and narrow minded.

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