Play value is one of the key components to consider when designing and installing a playground. To industry professionals, play value simply refers to the usability and quality of play that derives from each playground equipment piece. The structures and designs that have the highest play value are those that are:
- Used most frequently by children
- Encourage consistent participation with children
- Naturally inspire inclusive and accessible play
- Attractive to kids of all ages
Without play structures that motivate children to play or enable multiple children from different ability levels to engage, a playground will not meet the needs of its users.
How to Increase Play Value
It is ideal to consider play value during the initial planning and design of your playground through intentional design. First, ask yourself and your team the following questions:
- What is the intention of the playground?
- How many children can play on each structure?
- Does the equipment create space for inclusive and continuous play?
- Does the playground provide dynamic sensory experiences?
Next, commit to high play value by following these three steps:
- Ensure Social Play: Create equipment that many children from different interest groups, age ranges and ability levels can access at once. I.e., A mud pie table, two player game panels, or a talk tube that children can communicate with one another through.
- Enable Physical Play: Develop structures and intentionally design your play area in a way that encourages both inclusive and continuous play. This means that each structure is linked or connected in one way or another and does not prevent any child with ability limitations from playing on both the individual structure but also, with the entire continuum of play.
- Inspire Sensory Play: Improve your play value by creating a playground that integrates dynamic sensory experiences. From varying textures, to exciting sounds and music making opportunities to stimulating color schemes and complex surfaces, any small adjustments you can make to enhance the overall sensory experience of your playground will heighten play value. I.e., A nature themed rock climber, dinosaur dig, musical play events and activity play panels.
The choices you make from the beginning have the power to do everything from advance balance and gross motor skills to improve muscle control to teach reading and music to kids.
Starting with an intention to create high play value in your playground and proceeding with an intentional design plan is key when it comes to providing children with powerful and impactful play experiences.
At Henderson Playgrounds, we not only manufacture commercial playgrounds. We also sell superior fitness equipment from Greenfields Outdoor Fitness. Perfect for building outdoor fitness activities in your local community to get adults active and outside in the fresh air.
At Henderson Playgrounds, we have been Putting Children First since 1971 by building and designing superior commercial playgrounds for all ages.
A family run playground company since 1971.
PO Box 68, 11 Gilbertson Drive,
Simcoe, ON, CAN, N3Y 4K8
T: (519) 426-9380
F: (519) 426-1132