When it comes to the right playground for your daycare, there are many factors to consider that impact what the space looks like, feels like, and offers the children who use it. These decisions are about more than just what playground aspects are most fun for children, as daycare playgrounds also encourage early childhood development. In making a decision, take into account the age of the children who are utilizing it, the learning activities it offers, and the accessibility it provides to all children, no matter their age or ability.
From an early age, children are constantly learning and growing through interaction with their environment. Kids love playgrounds because they provide an opportunity to expend energy and have fun in a social environment. Whether the children using the playground realize it or not, outdoor play also provides early skill development including patience, sharing, empathy, stability, and motor skills. That’s why it’s important to consider all factors that go into choosing a toddler playground, and ensure that the playground is suitable for the correct age group.
Some of the main factors for daycares to consider when choosing a playground include:
Depending on the ages that your daycare caters to, you may want to consider different playground aspects based on the range of ages. You’ll also want to consider the average age of daycare students, to ensure that the playground is optimized for the right audience.
Children between the ages of 6 months to 2 years are encouraged by playground environments to improve their strength and motor skills, as well as a host of cognitive skills vital to their development. Children from ages 2 to 5 are beginning to think more creatively, so challenges that can test their motor skills, strength, and agility should be included in any playground design.
Availability And Traffic
If your daycare playground is open and accessible to children who do not go to the daycare, you may want to consider other features outside of the age range you care for. Though your playground should be age appropriate for those who attend your daycare, an option for older kids may prove useful to parents looking for a playground to take their children to.
Environment surrounding the playground
External factors such as average temperatures, sun exposure, and overall climate can play into what goes into your finished playground. These factors can dictate how much shade your space needs, availability of seating, and the types of materials used.
Accessibility for all
No matter the specific age range or environment surrounding the playground, you want to ensure that the space is inclusive for children of all levels and abilities. Your playground provider can help you create an environment inclusive to all developmental needs and create a space that’s welcoming to all children.
There are a variety of essentials that every daycare playground needs in order to function properly for the kids who utilize it. Some of these features may seem obvious, but all should be considered when you start the process of selecting a playground provider and the layout you’ll be creating together.
The equipment used in your playground design is the base of what you’re offering children who utilize it. This can include things like slides, swings, ladders, and more. You want to ensure that the equipment you choose caters to your age range and the development of children using the space.
For kids who are ready to take a break or parents and teachers who are watching from the sidelines, seating should be ample and comfortable. Outdoor seating should be situated in both shaded and non-shaded areas.
Especially for those high temperature locales, shade systems can provide relief from the sun for kids and adults alike, and should be spread appropriately across the space to create a welcoming environment.
Charleston Day School
At Charleston Day School, all of these elements have been added into their playground space in order to make it best fit both the environment and the age range. Two playground structures were created to cater to both the older kids and the younger, with the custom playground for smaller children replicating a famous Charleston bridge. For the older children, the tall structure works well in the smaller space, providing kids maximum space to play and roam, with a poured rubber surface that provides both safety and fun in the form of Hopscotch and Four-Square play areas. Natural shade provided by both trees and the building itself work to ensure that the space is cool during hot summer days.
Providing children with plenty of space and accessible fun, as well as parents and teachers with the shade and seating to make their spectating comfortable, combine to create a daycare playground space that’s both fun and functional for all involved.
When you consider your daycare playground features, make sure to take into account all of the available features to create the best space for you, your school, and the children who attend it.