How the right outdoor play space can benefit children

Sponsored: Whatever the size or shape of your playground, Fawns can make it beneficial for children of all levels of development

Making the most of your schools’ outdoor space is important. It’s one of the main ways you can help children be as active as they want to be. But designing your playground to facilitate this can be difficult – the key is to maximise the space and provide a variety of equipment.

Start with the basics

It’s important to have an understanding of what you want to do with your outdoor space and what your children need. Do you want to create a flexible playground where your children can use their imagination more? Do you need your space to cater more to the educational needs of the children? Do you want to create an inclusive and exciting playground with SEN equipment?

Once you’ve made these all-important decisions, it’s time to consider the budget and the number of children it needs to accommodate. These are the basics, and with them, you can start designing your space.

Putting your ideas on paper

You can either grab the good old-fashioned pen and paper and get designing and planning yourself, or you can trust the professionals with full 3D modelling technology who can visualise the finished project for you. Whatever you decide, the first thing you’ll need to do is to look at the available space, what play equipment there is and what will work for your children’s needs.

UNICEF consider play to be the equivalent of work for children. It’s a vehicle for them to acquire skills and knowledge they may not get in the classroom. So, having a range of both independent and group play items is essential.

One idea is to include children in the process by encouraging them to come up with ideas and equipment they may like to see in the playground. Gaining their feedback will help you uncover any popular playing themes which can help you make some final purchasing decisions.

For example, if they indicate they would appreciate some more adventurous equipment but you’re short on space, you could invest in a challenging yet space-saving outdoor climbing frame. On the other hand, they may be a particularly inquisitive bunch and outdoor learning equipment like bug magnifiers and activity panels may be more appropriate. They may even just ask for more places to sit, in which case you may want to look into some alternative outdoor furniture and shade protection.

Choosing play equipment based on the children’s needs is a smart move. You can be sure they will be interested in using it in their play, you can help them learn outside the classroom and just having new equipment will encourage them to be more social too.

Time to buy

When it comes to purchasing your equipment, it’s best to go with a trusted provider, a company with longevity which has worked with many schools before on a range of projects. A company like Fawns.

They’ve been in the business for over 20 years and have a wide range of playground equipment for all ages and abilities. Plus, they can help you from start to finish with their play and learning design consultants.

At the end of the day, you want a fun, beneficial and safe space for the kids to explore. So, prepare, plan and purchase with the children in mind and your outdoor play space will be just what they need to grow, develop and learn outside the classroom.

W: www.fawns.co.uk

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