The Play Institute

Enhancing Play through Research

Creating the world's best playgrounds requires understanding what motivates children to play, stay and return, and designing spaces that encourage physical, social-emotional, and cognitive-creative development.
Joy of movement: motor skills, muscle, cardio and bone density
Joy of learning: curiosity, understanding of causal relationships and knowledge of the world
Joy of being together: teamwork, tolerance and sense of belonging
Joy of creating: co-creation and experimenting with materials

Play is fundamentally human

Play is a crucial part of childhood development, providing opportunities for children to learn, grow and have fun. Through play, children develop their physical, emotional and cognitive skills. It allows them to explore their creativity, challenge their boundaries and build relationships with others. Play also helps children develop resilience, problem-solving skills and self-esteem.

children playing with sand and water games at a kindergarten

Playground play based on user involvement

The KOMPAN Play Institute is KOMPAN’s unit of play specialists, dedicated to developing, documenting and researching play and playgrounds. The KOMPAN Play Institute has been part of developing, researching and advocating playgrounds for KOMPAN since the 1980s. The institute works with universities, researchers and practitioners of playground issues, to continuously improve KOMPAN’s play knowledge.

The main work areas of the KOMPAN Play Institute are:

  • Research in playground and child development

  • Testing and documentation of play designs with children of all abilities

  • White papers, publications and research on playground specific topics

  • Consultancy and advocacy on playgrounds and city planning for play

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Our competences

Inclusive play

Child development and play

Playground Design & Expert Consultancy | KOMPAN

Innovation with the KOMPAN Play Institute

Play changes as times and lifestyles change, but children remain constant play experts in an evolving world. Successful play designs are based on their input, combined with a specialist insight into the ongoing changes in child development. Thorough research and a respectful mindset of carefully listening to and observing children at play are the corner stones of KOMPAN’s play innovation.

The KOMPAN Play Institute follows and conducts continuous research into play benefits and child development. These insights lie behind the briefs for play innovation. Documenting the play value and child benefits of play is the main expertise of the Institute. It cooperates with special design units within KOMPAN and tests prototypes with children, documenting the effects of playground play. Child approval and specialist documentation of play value throughout the design process ensures that KOMPAN equipment stands the test of attraction, retention and play value.

Webinars about play

A Design Checklist for Success with Inclusive Playgrounds




saturn playground schools and public parks

10 design tricks for age appropriate playgrounds for schools and public parks

Unleashing Creativity: Building Unique Playgrounds with KOMPAN Design Studio

8 ways to encourage nature play in playgrounds

Tweens love playgrounds: 5 new science-based practice tips for school playground design

Sensory Play: Science behind child wellbeing in playgrounds

Children playing on a large playground tower made from more sustainable materials in Olins Park

Play for the Planet: Redefining Outdoor Design to Minimize Carbon Footprint

White Papers about play

White papers

Play for all - Universal designs for inclusive playgrounds

Meet the KOMPAN Play Institute

jeanette fich jespersen from kompan play institute

Jeanette Fich Jespersen

Suzanne Quinn

maria from kompan play institute

Maria Ross Larsen

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