Oct 01

Designing Playgrounds with Adventure in Mind

When reflecting on the experience you want children to have as they step onto a playground, one word may come to mind: adventure. Children want to escape into a magical, playful space where their imagination can run wild. By incorporating themes, varying playground structures’ height and adding interactive elements to playgrounds, designers can keep adventure at the forefront of children’s play experiences.

Themed Playgrounds

Incorporating a theme into your playground is one way to engage children’s imaginations. From the moment a child steps onto the playground, a theme pulls them in and invites them to explore and immerse themselves in the visuals that surround them. There are unlimited options for playground themes: wildlife, aquatic, botanical or farm-inspired themes can intrigue and thrill children of all ages. What’s more, themes can be woven into every detail of a play space, from the safety surfacing and ground-level activities to the towers, decks and larger-than-life structures. Playground designers can leverage these powerful details to truly draw children in — from the textures on a bird’s feather to the tall roof of a treehouse or the brilliant blue water flowing under a replica sailboat. These sensory-rich experiences encourage children to see and touch themed objects as they revel in a sense of amazement. 

frog on tree as part of themed playground

Height of Structures

Structural height on a playground significantly affects the sitelines and eye-catching appeal of a space, igniting adventure even from a distance. Towers, decks, nets and climbing walls are often on playgrounds, but when designers experiment with different heights, they transform a common component into something extraordinary. The diverse heights also offer playful twists on the themes throughout a space. Sky-high towers can be creatively outfitted as castles and multi-story decks can carry children to the top of a scenic mountain overlook. At these heights, children’s imaginations are activated. In addition to providing a visual stimulus, varying the height of structures also encourages children to take risks. As they climb to the top, they gain confidence and experience positive reinforcement for tackling a challenge. Additionally, designers can add age-appropriate options for children by offering the same equipment at different heights. For example, some play spaces might offer dual climbing walls, one that is suitable for teenagers or young adults and another that is appropriate for younger children. In this way, structures encourage children to be adventurous in age-appropriate ways. 

child crossing net bridge on playground

Interactive Play

Incorporating interactive games and equipment into your play space can enhance the overall experience children have when they step onto your playground. Panel games can be added next to decks and climbers for an engaging, sensory activity. Tic-tac-toe panels, telescope panels and wavy mirror panels provide mental and visual stimulation for children. Water play is another way designers can encourage children to be adventurous on a playground. Splash pads and surface sprays offer thrills that can be enjoyed by children. Water can mist out or shoot up from the surface or through poles, cannons or other structures. Nets and climbers can foster adventure and encourage exploration as children navigate around their space — running, crawling and climbing from one section to the next. Incorporating a variety of interactive play elements is an optimum way to cater to the different personalities, ages and abilities on a playground. Children can choose to engage in solo play or be social with others while enjoying interactive games and equipment.

young child playing a panel game on playground

There are countless options to consider when designing a playground with adventure in mind. By creating playgrounds that contain themed elements, structures with unique heights and interactive components, playground designers are sure to develop spaces that attract adventure-seekers of all ages. 

Are you interested in finding creative ways to add adventure to your next playground project? If so, please contact CR Studio Design to learn about our wide range of playground solutions that can bring your vision to life.