How to plan your playground project?
When you start planning a new playground you need to consider many things: your budget, the style, and the materials, the users, the inclusiveness to all users, how it delivers its purpose, how to divide it into zones, as well as how early should you start, the local government regulations and safety precautions.
1. What is your budget, it determines your possibilities?
When you start planning a playground, you probably want to WOW children to come play, you probably want them to stay longer and come back again and again, and you probably want the play to develop their physical, creative, cognitive, and social/emotional life-skills. Playgrounds come in many different sizes. The larger, the more WOW, stay and develop you can achieve. So, knowing your budget is relevant for your journey to plan the playground. You can check out our site about playground costs if you want to know more. Some organizations have the budgets carved out in stone, for example, assigned from public budgets. So, they know exactly what they can spend right from the beginning. Other organizations apply for external funding. We are happy to help you identify funds that sponsor playgrounds in your area and for your kind of usage and children. We are also happy to help you figure out what you should be applying for and give you the visuals that will help you make your application stand out as an attractive sponsorship. We do that by designing it, costing it up, and visualizing it with lively computer-generated images. This will help you get your funding for your outdoor activity area.
2. What style and materials are right for your surrounding area?
Playgrounds can be made in different styles and materials which each have its own benefits:
A natural style fits the scene of a natural setting or park, or it can bring nature into an urban location. KOMPAN Nature Expedition has a bent and curved design which gives it a natural and organic expression. It is made of Pinetree, which you can even choose to have FSC certified. KOMPAN Robinia also has a natural and organic look, and it even looks twisted and winding. This makes it not only look natural and organic, but it also makes it look like something from a fairytale. It is made of Robinia wood which due to its twisted and winding look is unpopular in other industries, but which we use for designing playful playgrounds. Robinia wood is very low maintenance.
A futuristic style is very transparent and organic in its expression, and it can take the scene or fit into the scene, depending on the size of the products and the color configuration. KOMPAN Corocord, Galaxy, or Bloqx are product lines that are futuristic in their styles, as well as timeless and they work very well in urban settings. Additionally, the product lines come with extremely low maintenance and are highly vandalism resistant.
The classic style signals play very clearly. From a distance, it calls upon children to come play, and it clearly signals play to the parents as well. It can take the scene in a schoolyard, a kindergarten, a camping ground, a holiday park, as well as a public park. Anywhere, where it is the main aim to draw children and their parents to come play. KOMPAN Moments for toddlers, preschoolers, and school agers is of great value for many. Whereas KOMPAN Elements excel in play value and 360 degrees play around the product. KOMPAN Elements Essential and Simply are great value for money when budgets a more restricted, high quality, low maintenance, and low total cost of ownership are desired.
3. Who are the users and what are their age group?
4. How to make sure the playground lives up to its purpose
In a schoolyard, a lot of children come out of the classrooms in short bursts, yet at the same time. That is why we recommend that the playground and the play designs chosen must have a high play capacity to accommodate many children at the same time. This can be achieved with a Corocord Spacenet or a Corocord Dome in that they can hold many kids at the same time.
In a kindergarten, the children are using the playground day after day and for a long time. That is why the playground should stimulate the children hour after hour. This can be done by making a buffet of different kinds of play; swinging, spinning, balancing, climbing, social play, collaborative play, etc.
A camping ground or a zoo often wants to attract children and their parents. This can be done by having a one-off-a-kind play design. A KOMPAN Giant is something that the children will want to come back for.
5. How to create spaces for different age groups and different kinds of play
We recommend making different zones for different age groups and then making the playground products cater to the age group of the zone making it easy for children to find the age-appropriate play zone. Whether the playground is for a specific age group or for several age groups it is important to keep the age groups in mind in the following way.
The larger the playground, the more children will be able to play at the same time, and the more variety you can get in the kinds of play, which will make children play longer. The surfacing can be a way of signaling the spaces, and in fact, also enhance play.
6. How long does it take to build a playground?
When designing the playground to your specific needs we need to have time to make a great playground design that matches your needs and surroundings, time to do an accurate costing, and time to do a visualization that shows you exactly how it is going to look. This takes approximately a month if we nail it in the first round.
Our playgrounds are made specifically to your wish. So, we start manufacturing it when you have decided. For a playground of core products, this takes 4 weeks. Longer for highly customized and super large products. For the latter because we must draw the manufacturing drawings first.
Playground construction project
Transport to the site, potential removals, groundworks, installation, surfacing, and auxiliaries are made in subsequent steps and normally take a month. if you want to know more about installation, you can visit our playground installation page.
When does playground planning go wrong?
Rushing to build a playground often makes the playground planning go wrong. Just like building a house takes time and requires many choices, a playground takes time to scope and build. That is why we recommend starting well in advance of your opening date or being realistic about the opening date. The rules of thumb for time consumption can be seen in the section above.
Jumping to choose products based on looks and what one recognizes can also lead to poor playgrounds. The result may be an empty playground in which very few children play. For example, because the playground does not stimulate the play that motivates the targeted age group. Or for example, because the playground is not divided into zones in which the younger children can play quietly and with a sense of secureness, and the older children can play – often physical and louder. The rules of thumb for catering to the desired age groups and dividing the playground into zones can be seen in the sections above.
Thinking too little in terms of stay factor can also lead to an empty playground. Stay factor can, for example, be stimulating by different kinds of play, swinging, sliding, spinning, climbing, playing sports games, etc. Stay factor can also be made by including play designs that are progressive. Where it can be used in a more and more advanced way as the children start to master the simple way of playing on it. For example, a Supernova or a Cliff Rider can be used in a more and more advanced way, as the children start to master the first ways.
Including too little capacity also leads to too little use of the playground. Choosing a large product is appealing, but if there are a few teens on the structure, the smaller children might hesitate to go to the playground. That is why we recommend making different zones on the playground, including more play designs, and placing them all over the area.
We are happy to discuss your ideas and make sure that the pitfalls of playground planning are bypassed.
Got questions about how to plan a playground?
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