How to Build a Preschool Playground

It's often said that play is the work of childhood, and experts have continuously proven that play is critical to developing the physical, social and emotional health of children. Giving young children safe spaces to play outdoors and socialize with one another has never been more important, which is why it's necessary to select the right playground equipment for your location.

Step One: Choose a Location & Budget

Before you can begin deciding on the best play structures and the right slides for your preschool playground, you are going to need to finalize the location. As you consider your preschool property, choose a section of land that is relatively flat and that also drains well. The size of this space will determine what type of equipment you purchase for your playground.

After you have found the perfect spot to build your new preschool playground, you need to make a budget for your project. As you create your budget, you will want to factor in the following costs:

  • Equipment Costs
  • Surfacing Costs
  • Installation Costs
  • Freight Costs
  • Site Amenities

Step Two: Buy Age-Appropriate Playground Equipment

With so many playground equipment options to choose from, it can be easy to get distracted by the largest and most intricate designers. However, when you are building a playground for a specific age group, such as preschoolers, it's important to keep in mind their age, skill level and the developmental milestones that they will have met.

Consider Developmental Milestones of Preschoolers

Preschoolers are a curious and inquisitive bunch who are learning about the world around them through play, social interaction and hands-on activities. An outdoor play space is the perfect place for preschoolers to push their boundaries, develop their social skills and bolster their physical development. This is why it's so important to keep the developmental milestones of preschoolers in mind as you choose equipment for your preschool playground. You will want equipment that is safe, age-appropriate and fun.

Physical Milestones

Preschoolers are reaching new physical milestones each and every day. While every child will meet milestones at their own pace, some of the physical milestones that preschoolers should be reaching include climbing, running, using the stairs independently and kicking a ball.

Cognitive Milestones

A preschooler’s mind expands at a rapid pace. Some of the cognitive milestones that preschoolers may be reaching include counting, naming their colors, responding to multi-part commands and engaging in pretend play.

Social and Emotional Milestones

Preschoolers also are interacting with their peers, often for the first time in their lives, which helps them meet social and emotional milestones. These milestones can include conflict resolution with their peers, interest in trying new things and interest in trying new things independently.

Choose the Best Equipment for a Preschool Playground

When you are developing and building a preschool playground, it's important to have different equipment available to meet the needs of all children at your preschool. Every child will be developing at their own pace, and a vast range of equipment will appeal to a broader range of children. By choosing right-sized preschool playground equipment that encourages both fine motor and gross motor development, you will be able to create an engaging and interactive space for your preschoolers to play.

Preschool Playground Equipment for Gross-Motor Skills

It is incredibly important that preschoolers have an opportunity to develop their gross motor skills, such as climbing and balancing. Preschool children need to stay active in order to develop a sense of coordination, which will carry them throughout childhood and into adulthood. Some playground equipment that can promote gross motor skill development includes:

  • Climbers
  • Bars
  • Balance Beams

Preschool Playground Equipment that Encourages Creativity

Creativity isn't limited to the classroom, and preschool students have an endless appetite for creativity. When you invest in the right playground equipment, you can help students explore their love of art or music as they play outside with their friends and peers. Some innovative equipment that inspires creativity include:

  • Puppet Theater Panel
  • Outdoor Art Mural
  • Art Gallery Panel
  • Tuned Drums
  • Melody Equipment
  • Xylophone
  • Whistle

Preschool Playground Equipment that Creates Social Spaces

While playgrounds are often thought of as a space to run, be loud and play with your friends, it's important to recognize that sometimes kids just need a break. By incorporating social spaces into your playground, you will give children a safe area to go in order to rest, take a break from a situation, acclimate to the noise of the playground or simply chat with their friends. These spaces help develop social emotional learning and also foster a sense of independence in children, as they will be able to go to a part of the playground where they feel safe and secure.

Some playground equipment that allows you to create inviting social spaces includes:

  • Tunnels
  • Chatter Bug Playground Chairs

Preschool Playground Equipment for Early Learners

When you take your students onto their preschool playground, you are giving them a break from the confines of the classroom and allowing them the freedom to play actively. However, that doesn't mean that your playground cannot be an outdoor learning environment. There are unique pieces of preschool playground equipment available that can transform your play space into an outdoor classroom, and stimulate your early learners.

The most educational pieces of playground equipment include:

  • Clock Panel
  • Weather Station
  • Labyrinth Panel
  • Investigate Table
  • Tree Stumps
  • Tree Slices

Step Three: Install Playground Surfacing

Once you have finalized your location and decided on the equipment that will go on your preschool playground, you will need to decide on playground surfacing. For a playground designed for preschool students, the most important factor to consider is safety. Preschool students often do not have a sense of fear, and they may not realize their natural boundaries, so they are prone to falling. You will want to choose a playground surfacing material that will buffer the impact of a fall, ensuring that students are not critically injured while playing on the playground. There may be bumps, bruises and scrapes that require a Band-Aid, but the right playground surfacing will add an extra layer of protection to your playground.

These are some of the most popular playground surfacing options for preschool playgrounds:

Bonded Rubber - This bouncy playground surface material is a favorite among preschool playground developers. It provides a natural look to the playground, and lasts for nearly 8 years before it needs to be replaced.

Poured-in-Place Rubber - This playground surfacing material is loved by young children, because it is soft and colorful. It is a low-maintenance option that is known for its longevity, with most poured-in-place rubber lasting for between 8 and 12 years.

Rubber Mulch - Many budget-conscious preschool playground planners opt for rubber mulch, because it offers the softness of rubber at a more affordable price than other surface materials. Rubber mulch needs to be topped off every year or two, but the surface as a whole will last for about 10 years if it is regularly maintained.

Wood Fiber - Wood fiber is another common choice at preschool playgrounds. Wood fiber is a natural and sustainable playground surfacing material, and it requires regular maintenance similar to rubber mulch. If the wood fiber is topped off every couple years and it is well-maintained, this surfacing material should last for 10 years.

Request a Quote from BigToys on Preschool Playground Equipment

At BigToys, we offer playground equipment for children as young as six months of age. Let us guide you through choosing the right playground equipment for your preschool play area. Contact BigToys today to get a quote.

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