When play time comes along, we want every child to benefit from a fun and stimulating experience.
A school yard can not always be described as a playground – but with a few changes and improvements, outdoor areas in schools can become places of adventure.
At Hand Made Places we understand how to make the most of school budgets, offering a full playground project management service so every investment is packed with play value and completed with minimum disruption.
It may be an existing playground needs some updating to meet the needs of pupils now and in the future. Perhaps fundraising has been carried out for new equipment, or it could be that rethink of an outdoor space is needed to offer every child access to learning and fun.
Add features to your playground
While there is no one size fits all solution, considering the topography of a playground is one way to bring about instant improvements.
Think about the shape, height and depth of new and existing playground equipment. All of these elements can encourage free play as well as support play-led learning particularly in early years settings.
Playground equipment like the Tunnel Climber or Arch Bridge break up large open spaces and create physical challenges.
This idea can be taken further with the addition of a Trim Trail or even just elements from a course such as Swing Steps.
Slides add another dimension and can turn the natural topography of a site into a benefit with features like embankments incorporated into the playground design.
Support play possibility
Review the variety of playground equipment in your school playground and the habitat.
Does it provide play possibilities for everybody such as accommodating imaginative play and creative play as well as traditional active play?
Inclusive playgrounds may feature wheelchair accessible equipment like the Wheelspin or Rolli Trampoline but they can also feature areas for different types of play.
Maybe a quiet zone is needed with Activity Boards like Finger Mazes and Chalk Tables or a low-sensory environment can be created with the addition of a gazebo like the Caversham Gazebo where children can go if they feel overwhelmed.
Meanwhile the Nest Swing and Social Swing are good examples of playground equipment which can be popular among all users.
Add elements of managed risk
Active play equipment opens up new experiences, supports physical development and also provides opportunities for children to learn how to assess risk in a safe environment.
Other social skills can also be supported such as taking turns, behaviour standards and manners.
Playgrounds can be safe yet adventurous with the addition of play units such as the Balksbury Play Unit with firefighter’s pole, multiple level platforms and V-bridge. Older children enjoy climbing frames like the Hawk’s Nest and Amazon Rope Climber.
As a complete playground specialist, our services also extend to playground safety surfacing with a wide range of options available.
Safety surfacing can also make a playground more appealing to children who may be cautious about going outside to play. It can inspire confidence among users as well as make a playground more accessible and welcoming for a better play experience.
Improve boundaries and connections
Fencing and gateways are there for safety reasons in some school playgrounds but upgrading the entrance to a playground can also improve play times.
Think about how children get to and from the playground. Could it include archways or signage? These features can make the playground more attractive to children.
Playground furniture such as seating and tables can improve connections between different groups of pupils as well as their individual connection to the school outdoor environment.
There are lots of ways to connect different areas within a school playground, from Willow Tunnels and Stepping Logs to coloured wetpour surfacing or simple playground markings.
As well as teaching children about sustainability, school playgrounds can support eco efforts.
Hand Made Places predominantly uses timber in the manufacture of its playground equipment – nature’s own building block.
All our timber is responsibly sourced and the waste reused as packing spaces or recycled into sawdust bales for burning in our clean waste wood heaters at our UK manufacturing facility.
Planters are an easy and manageable way to create green areas in a school playground which are known to benefit wellbeing as well as support biodiversity.
School playgrounds with garden areas may think about investing in the likes of the Compost Cottage or Minibeast HQ for fun activities which also teach children about eco systems.