Do you know your LAPs and LEAPs from your NEAPs?
The terms LAPs, LEAPs and NEAPs have been created to provide technical detailed guidance to local authorities, planners, architects, developers and community leaders – all those involved in the creation and maintenance of public play and recreation.
Fields in Trust came up with the terms in the 1980s and are still used universally to inform community playground provision and developments.
The charity works to champion the value of green spaces and protect the future of parks for everybody.
While the LAP, LEAPs and NEAPs guidance does not go as far as to prescribe design elements or indicate exact equipment choices, it does give an outline of the standards expected.
A LAP is a Local Area for Play, an open space where play is encouraged. Fields in Trust says that while a LAP requires no playground equipment, it should be designed primarily for the purpose of play.
It suggests a LAP can be a small space but that it should be specifically designated for and laid out for young children to play close to where they live.
A LAP should be within one minute’s walking time of the intended users’ homes. LAPs therefore should however be designed for easy supervision by parents and carers as they encourage informal play and social interaction between their little ones.
For example a LAP could feature Playground Furniture such as seating or picnic benches where adults can view the area and keep an eye on their toddlers.
Cradle Swings are a simple but popular addition to these areas along with the Buddy Swing where adults drive the motion of the swing while facing the child.
Inclusive swing options, such as the Social Swing, Sit Up Swing and Nest Swing are also good choices and give more users access to the LAP.
Where space allows, the Milton Play Unit incorporates a number of playground activities in one footprint including a slide, ladders and climbing ramp.
LEAP stands for a Locally Equipped Area for Play and this should include playground equipment.
Fields in Trust has said the number and nature of the playground equipment can be agreed at a local level, but recommends at least six play experiences are included.
Keeping physical activity and active play at the heart of the playground design, a LEAP can also include natural play spaces for exploration.
A LEAP may feature a play boat like the Oakwood Galleon, which supports imaginative play as well as adventure play.
This includes a slide, wobble bridge and climbing net.
A Trim Trail is also a good choice for a LEAP providing a range of challenging play experiences in one chain of equipment such as balance beams, overhead ladder, stepping logs and tunnel climber.
Traditional play equipment also has a place in the LEAP, with products such as Springies for rocking, Trampolines for jumping, or the Space Net for climbing to new heights all adding variety to the play experience.
Landscaped areas for play may wish to focus on more natural materials so our timber playground equipment is ideal.
We also design, manufacture and install play products which make the most of these sensory materials such as Sand Pits and Playground Sculptures.
While a LEAP is designed for children who are beginning to go out to play independently, Playground Seating for adults and siblings, as well as a litter bin should be factored in.
Playground fencing may be a requirement as well as signage which our advisers can provide guidance on and which can all be supplied through Hand Made Places via our parent company Broxap.
A Neighbourhood Equipped Area of Play (NEAP) is specifically designated, laid out and equipped for play. It is aimed mainly at older children but can include play opportunities for younger children as well, or can be combined with a LEAP.
As well as playground equipment a NEAP may include hard surface games areas such as a MUGA and additional facilities like youth shelters and cycle parking. This accommodates both active and passive play, while equipment might encourage imaginative play and social play.
More challenging pieces of playground equipment for a NEAP include the Ripley Climbing Frame and Amazon Rope Climber.
Playground Sculptures are fun additions to a NEAP while products like the Swing Easy Hammock appeal to users of all abilities across the age groups.
The GT Wave is an inclusive rope climbing structure while the Double Flat Swings are a classic playground addition that everyone enjoys.
With growing calls for fairer access to inclusive playgrounds in our communities, Hand Made Places is the partner of choice to deliver neighbourhood play areas.
Contact our teams today to discuss your LAP, LEAP or NEAP proposal.