What are the must-have elements of a successful playground?

What factors are the most important drivers for playground evolution? It comes down to safety – and the child’s (and parent’s) user experience (UX).

Modern-day designers and planners look beyond accessibility mandates, with an eye to meeting demands from the user base that includes parents, children, and educators. Some of the wish-list items that impact playground surface selection and design include:

  • Increasing requests that playground surfaces look, feel, and play like natural materials.
  • The demand for a better play experience for children who utilize the playground.
  • The desire for surfaces that can increase the amount of outdoor playtime after inclement weather.

But what does a “better play experience” actually mean? A recent research study called “Investigating the State of Play” ranked factors deemed most important in playgrounds — and that contribute to a better playground experience. Not surprisingly, the cleanliness and appearance of playgrounds were rated as the most important factors. Other factors rated very important included safety and the ‘fun factor’ that the playground offers to children and students who utilize it.

Below is the ranking of all factors considered in this study:

  • Cleanliness (9.2)
  • Overall Appearance & Appeal (8.7)
  • Overall Fun Factor (8.7)
  • Socialization Spaces (8.2)
  • Regular Maintenance (8.0)
  • Safe Play Elements That Look Risky (7.8)
  • Design/Elements for All Ages (7.7)
  • Passive Spaces (7.7)
  • Safety and Age-Appropriate Signage (7.7)
  • Active Spaces (7.5)
  • Natural Play Elements (6.7)
  • Strict Safety Factors (such as Fall Height Compliance) (6.3)
  • Allergen-Free (6.2)

The results were favorable for synthetic turf, which is the best choice for cleanliness, safety, regulatory compliance, and maintenance. Learn more about playground must-haves by downloading our white paper, “Playground Surfaces: What Works Today”.

Have Questions?

If you can’t find the answer to your question, we’d be happy to answer it for you! Contact the Playground Grass team today for more information or to schedule a free consultation.