Your school’s playground is one of the most important places in the world for the children who play there. It’s a place to have fun and make friends, whilst also developing crucial life skills without even noticing they’re doing it.
Making sure your playground has the right equipment can make all the difference in boosting those new skills and helping children to grow and develop in all sorts of different ways. There is a huge range of different playground equipment out there, so we’ve put together this handy guide to some of the essentials to take the guesswork out of it for you.
When you think of playgrounds, chances are you think of climbing frames. Climbing frames are probably the most popular type of playground equipment, and for good reason. Climbing is great for children’s development in a huge number of different ways, including physical, social, emotional and cognitive development, as well as boosting self esteem and confidence. You can find out more about the benefits of climbing for children in another one of our blog posts, here.
Here are a few of the most popular kinds of climbing frames:
Climbing walls are all about climbing, pure and simple. They develop strength, agility, problem solving and quick thinking, and are also a lot of fun! Climbing walls come in a lot of different shapes and sizes, from a gently sloping Junior Climber to a fully vertical Traversing Wall, so they can be beneficial for children of all ages.
Tunnels are a great way of combining a climbing frame with a shelter, and getting children to think outside the box a bit in their play. Tunnels can be climbed on, scrambled over and crawled under, so basically are extremely versatile bits of playground equipment which can be the spark for hours and hours of fun. At Landscapes 4 Learning we have a climbing tunnel and a mini version, so you can get exactly what you need for your school.
As we’ve discussed already, climbing frames are about much more than building physical strength. The right climbing frame can do wonders for building imagination too. We have a wide range of different climbing frames built to look like different brilliant things for children to play with, creating different imaginary worlds and stories every break time. These include:
What better way to spark the imaginations of a group of kids than to give them a castle to run around in? A classic castle structure can be the basis for all kinds of different games, and these structures range from smaller role play castles, with or without slides, all the way to full blown adventure castles! With a castle in your playground, there’s no limit to what your children can imagine.
Having a boat in your school’s playground lets your kids sail the seven seas or captain a pirate ship, all without stepping out of the playground. With a steering wheel to turn and lots of windows to look out of, a boat climbing frame can be the start of a whole host of imaginary adventures.
Trains have captured the imaginations of children for hundreds of years. There’s just something about the endless potential of fantastical journeys which makes a train the ideal thing to play with to boost a child’s imagination. Our beautiful wooden trains come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, with and without attached carriages, and even with crawl tunnels to keep children’s bodies active as well as their imaginations!
Dens and playhouses
Dens and playhouses are an absolute must have bit of equipment in any playground. These versatile little shelters can be used for a huge number of different activities, both in playtime and lesson time, as well as during assemblies and special events. Dens, playhouses and other playground shelters make your playground usable in all weather, rain or shine, protecting children from harsh sunlight as well as rain. This means you won’t have to worry about keeping your kids cooped up indoors if the weather isn’t on your side.
Luckily, at Landscapes 4 Learning we have lots of different options to choose from!
Our lovely wooden teepees are simple structures that really pack a punch in terms of what they can do for your playground. They are fun to play in and also protect children from the elements in a cosy and interesting way. In addition to this, they’re placed directly onto the ground with no step up, so are also wheelchair accessible. This accessibility is one of the big things which makes them such a great addition to any playground, letting children of all abilities and capabilities play together.
Our covered stages are very versatile, and can be used for all sorts of things. Lots of our covered stages also double up as sandpits for a bit of extra fun, but when the sandpits are covered they make lovely raised stages, perfect for performances, presentations and assemblies, as well as playtime shows to friends from budding performers!
Our cosy hobbit houses are always incredibly popular with children of all ages, as well as teachers and parents. They can be built in a range of sizes and shapes to suit your playground’s needs, and are handmade to order so you really can be sure your hobbit house will be exactly what you’re after for your school.
At Landscapes 4 Learning we can build you traditional octagonal huts, adult size or mini, which create a beautiful cosy cabin, fully enclosed to keep children protected from the elements. We also have smaller hobbit homes, with roofs covered in artificial grass and circular doors and windows to inspire a whole host of magical adventures.
Mobile Snug Playhouse
Our mobile snug playhouses are simple, cosy and comfy. Children are always drawn to the cosiness of the snug little den as a perfect place to hide away and chat with friends or practice reading.
Another great thing about these mobile snug playhouses is that, as the name suggests, they are mobile, so you can move them around quickly and easily whenever and wherever you need them.
The challenge wall is what happens when a den meets a climbing frame. Essentially, it’s a whole lot of fun in a whole lot of different ways. Children can play in the cosy den in the middle of the structure, or can play on the sides of it on challenging climbing ropes and walls.
The challenge elements of the challenge wall help to develop motor skills, grip strength, problem solving, coordination and boost confidence, all whilst supporting the development of social skills by encouraging working as a team and making friends.
Outdoor classrooms are one of the most impactful bits of kit you can add to your playground, because they are much more than just a bit of playground equipment. Whilst an outdoor classroom can be used simply as a sheltered place for children to play in, they also function as an extension of your school. Outdoor classrooms can work wonders for children’s development, encouraging an interest in the outdoors and nature, as well as helping to improve focus, general wellbeing, and emotional control in the classroom.
Mud kitchens are a safe and contained way of letting children make a bit of a mess and have a lot of fun doing it. These handmade wooden kitchens let childrens’ imaginations run wild and encourage a whole host of different skills and behaviours, including an interest in food and helping out at home, so parents will thank you! They are a lovely addition to any playground, and a great way of encouraging childrens’ development in lots of different ways.
Picnic tables and seating
No playground is complete without lots of places for people to sit. Picnic tables and other seating is absolutely crucial to fostering a happy and comfortable playground, as well as making it more functional for things like eating lunch and snacks and working on homework.
At Landscapes 4 Learning we stock all the usual benches and picnic tables which you might expect to see in any old playground, but we also have some seating and picnic table options which can add a little extra something special for your school.
Chalkboard picnic tables
Our chalkboard picnic tables are functionally completely normal wooden picnic tables, with benches attached either side of a table. However, the tabletops on these picnic tables are coated with chalkboard. These chalkboards mean that children can draw and write and express themselves creatively in a very safe and easy to clean way with simply a few pieces of chalk, as well as being able to use them as normal tables if needed. It’s like an art station without the need for lots of additional materials to work on.
Wheelchair accessible picnic tables
These picnic tables do exactly what it says on the tin. They’re just like standard picnic tables, but have half a bench missing on one side to allow a wheelchair to tuck under the table. This makes the table fully wheelchair accessible, rather than a wheelchair user having to park up next to one end of the table with the table itself out of easy reach.
Adding a wheelchair accessible picnic table is a simple but effective way of making your school’s playground more generally accessible.
Buddy benches are a really easy way of introducing a little bit of extra love into your playground. They can encourage empathy and kindness, reduce loneliness, and help to encourage new friendships. They can be inscribed with any message you like, and can be 4ft, 5ft or 6ft long.
Why not add a buddy bench to your playground and see what new friendships blossom?
Storytelling chairs, available in both children and adult sizes, are the perfect way to make reading exciting. Sitting in a storytelling chair encourages reading aloud and sharing stories. Sitting round in a circle and listening to stories is a great way of making reading more exciting and engaging, and adding a sense of occasion to things.
As well as this, when your storytelling chair isn’t being used for reading it makes a great throne!
If there’s something you want for your playground which you can’t find listed here, you can have a look on our website and see if you can find it there. Alternatively, we are always happy to help bring your ideas to life with something custom made and bespoke. Just get in touch with us and we’ll see what we can do to help you make the most of your playground.