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Outdoor Play Area Ideas for Kids

Outdoor play can be fun by itself but sometimes it can become stale and uninteresting if its repeated to often. This blog will explore some common ideas which you can apply to your playground to make it more interesting and engaging.

You can find plenty of outdoor play area ideas for kids here and see which equipment and features you might want to install.

School Playground Design Ideas

Coming up with the school playground design ideas can be tough work. People make it seem easier than it is but it can end up being difficult to do it by yourself. Picking the surfacing can be confusing as you may not know the difference between rubber mulch and wet pour, equipment can seem really overwhelming and even if you pick all of this, you’re still not guaranteed that the kids will enjoy it.

We at Soft Surfaces can help you understand more about the whole process and give you some of the best recommendations and advice the industry can offer. Over 20 years of experience makes us one of the most knowledgeable when it comes to these types of jobs.

A recommendation we offer is creating a playground that is built from different things. Through this design, you’ll be gaining the attention of pupils using it and allowing them to learn more about the world and what different things are on it. Or, you could make it bright and full of unique patterns. Doing this also has the same effect of gaining attention but proceeds to trigger their imaginations.

Have a look at this post to find out more about wetpour graphics for nurseries.

Play Area Activities for Children

Creating play area activities for children to take part in on the playground can really get them a lot more active and interested with it. Vibrant and colourful playgrounds can make pupils engaged a lot quicker and mixing them with activities can make the play area even more interesting. Activities can include:

  • Old-fashioned games – Thermoplastic markings in schools can make games like ‘What’s the time Mr Wolf’ a lot more interesting and popular than just other regular games. It can also help keep people entertained whilst they wait for equipment to be free so it’s a brilliant way to keep kids from complaining about being bored.
  • Target games – Creating a target somewhere in the area will allow for the creation of games amongst the pupils. Ranging from who can hit the bullseye to who can jump the furthest, this type of graphic can really get engagement and interest.
  • Be creative – Let the kids have full control over what the activity is and let them create it. Provide the tools and necessary equipment to them and let them go wild! Pupils will start to feel free to do what they want and through that, they become truly creative.

Simple yet effective, these activities are just a few outdoor play area ideas for kids that you could put into action in your playground to get full engagement from the users. Whether it is one of the old-fashioned classic games or more modern adapted games, creating activities like the ones listed above can really help create a brilliant atmosphere amongst the play area.

Types of Equipment for a Nursery Playground

Children in nursery aren’t as energetic as kids in primary school, however, they are a lot more curious and explorative in nature. Key pieces of equipment are things that capitalise on these traits and try to interest whilst teach kids new things about the world around them. Some more popular types of equipment for a nursery playground include:

  • Sandpits and water tables – Due to the properties of both substances, kids absolutely love interacting with these pieces of equipment as it captures their imagination and creativity. Sandpits allow for teamwork and social activities to occur as kids start to build houses and other such things for playing with. Water tables get children thinking about how things work and introduce them to different states of matter.
  • Sensory stations – At this point in time, all five senses are experiencing new things and surroundings which slowly helps children build a better knowledge of the world around them. Sensory stations are made up of different musical instruments, materials, patterns and such to give kids a chance to explore new things and really learn more about their environments.
  • Obstacle courses – Many may think of obstacle courses as being physically intensive, but this isn’t always the case. Obstacle courses can be made to be more explorative and get kids imagining that they are on some wild adventure through the Amazon or anything they want. Linking to the previous point, by creating the course out of a wide range of different materials; kids will become a lot more imaginative and therefore will feel a lot more enticed to explore around the course and try to complete it.
  • Outdoor rooms – Sounds a bit weird but by creating an outdoor kitchen, office or shop can really get kids thinking. Role-playing is a huge part of a child’s growing up and it helps them build a solid understanding of the society we live in. Encouraging them to create relationships and communicate, role-playing should be highly encouraged throughout schools and this type of equipment is a great method.
  • Stages and platforms – These are perfect for expressive arts playgrounds as they give kids the option to put on their own plays and performances.

Pieces of equipment like these are a great way to get kids to explore the world and get a better understanding of how everything works, whilst not being boring or tiring. At this point, pupils learn the best through play as they can enjoy it whilst seeing the application of the subject/topic they are being taught in real life.

Have a look at this video below which shows our team installing a wetpour play surface and graphics at a primary school.

This particular design involved a green wetpour background with different shapes including footsteps, a sun and splats. We also installed the wetpour safety surface around some timber equipment to help enhance the safety.

Garden Play Area Ideas

Encouraging kids to get involved with gardening is a brilliant idea as you can teach them a wide number of things ranging from patience to responsibility. There are loads of outdoor play area ideas for kids which can still apply to domestic gardens at home. Some may find it boring as it involves a huge amount of repetition, although there’re ways to make it more interesting for those kids through simple activities.

Building dens is another good activity which children can do using a variety of different equipment. Have a look at some of our den making ideas to find out more about what you can do.

Insect hunts introduce pupils to something incredibly interesting. Teach them about insects and everything about them and then give groups certain insects to find in the garden. Letting kids discover these insects for themselves creates a stronger idea of how there are other creatures that inhabit the earth and how they should be treated fairly and right.

Nature trails link incredibly well to the previous points and can be great as part of play area ideas. Take the class for a walk around the playground and explain to them more about the plants, creatures and equipment they encounter. Giving them a physical example really solidifies the point/information you are giving to them and may spark a strong interest in gardening. Maybe get them involved by helping with the gardening, improving organisation skills. Offering these activities in nursery can help improve school readiness for children and make them feel more prepared.

A final recommendation which I think is incredibly relevant and fun is a scavenger hunt. Before starting, start hiding items around the garden. It’s up to you what you hide, you could make it educational and hide numbers around the garden and give your class maths problems to solve and for them to go find the answers. Once you have chosen the items to hide, gather the class and let them go on a hunt! Group work or individual work can be promoted through this activity, its all up to you.

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