The Play Institute

Enhancing Playground 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 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

Play Design

Innovation with the KOMPAN Play Institute

Play evolves with time, but children remain play experts. Successful play designs are based on their input, combined with specialist insight into the ongoing changes in child development. The KOMPAN Play Institute is all about finding fun and growth through play! They study and test to make sure KOMPAN's play equipment is top-notch, both for kids and experts. With its focus on child approval and expert validation, the KOMPAN Play Institute is always on the lookout for the next big playground adventure. And play research findings.

Webinars about play

A Design Checklist for Success with Inclusive Playgrounds




Unleashing Creativity: Building Unique Playgrounds with KOMPAN Design Studio

Sensory Play: Science behind child wellbeing in playgrounds

8 ways to encourage nature play in playgrounds

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

White Papers about play

White papers

a children's play area with children playing on the playground.

A Design Checklist for Success with Inclusive Playgrounds

Meet the KOMPAN Play Institute

jeanette fich jespersen from kompan play institute

Jeanette Fich Jespersen

Head of KOMPAN Play Institute

MA in Nordic and Anglosaxon Philology

Suzanne Quinn

Manager, KOMPAN Play Institute USA

PhD in Early childhood learning

maria from kompan play institute

Maria Ross Larsen

Research Project Manager, KOMPAN Play Institute

MSc & BA in Market Anthropology

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