Aug 24

How to Choose the Right Theme For Your Local Playground

Playground Equipment with Fire Department Theme

Themed playgrounds offer kids something extra. They give them a head start on what to play and encourage them to use their imaginations in ways they haven’t before. For instance, a pirate-themed playground can instantly take a young child into the shores of the sea where they get to find treasure and be the hero!

If you’re looking to create the perfect public playground, picking a themed playground design might be the best way to start! You’ll have a framework to guide you in the right direction while also creating a space that will be the focal point of your community! To help you out, here are some tips for choosing a theme for your custom playground design.

Think About the Location

Nautical Themed Playground Design

You can pick out a general theme for your playground, such as a castle theme or space theme. But if you’re looking for something more personal, consider the location and history of the community you’re working in.

For example, if the park is located near the beach, a beach or “under the sea” theme is a great fit. It will capture the town’s personality and align with the local vibe. And, if the location has an interesting history, you can include fun or interesting facts in your playground design.

Consider Your Target Demographic

Dinosaur Themed Playground Design

Who will be visiting your playground? Is the local area made up of mostly young families? Teenagers? Active adults? To accommodate a wide range of age groups, it’s common for park playgrounds to be divided into different areas.

A fun, neutral-themed playground works great for infants and toddlers who are simply looking to explore their surroundings. For children, you can pick a medieval or transportation theme, and for teens, you can focus on creating areas that promote physical challenge and safe risk taking as well as areas for hanging out and socializing.

Available Space

Themed Playground Design with Nature Theme

The space you have to work with also influences your playground design. If you have a large, expansive area for the equipment, you have few limitations on themes. A giant pirate ship, castle or dinosaur theme can served as the focal point of your playground design, surrounded by swings, slides, boulders and rock climbing walls to add to the adventure.

If you’re working in a small, urban space, your options will be more limited. But, this is a great time to think about pocket parks, otherwise known as mini parks. They often have a natural or architectural feel, featuring compact boulders, nets and cubes.


Another important aspect that will influence theme is budget. Luckily, there are ways to go about theme design that can work within most budgets. There are ways to lightly, moderately or fully immerse theme throughout your custom playground design. For light theme, you might add a few elements with panels and a couple of spring riders. Moderate theme would add a bit more theming, additional play events and/or some freestanding components that add some character to the overall theme.

Fully immersed theme is of course the most costly. A fully immerse theme makes for a wonderful destination park that generally includes the play equipment, freestanding components, safety surfacing and all aspects of the space giving it a complete transformation…Your adventure awaits!

Review Other Designs

When you know what space and budget you’re working with, you can review other designs for inspiration. Look at the theme and how it comes together. Your playground will also need outdoor site furnishings to keep visitors comfortable, such as benches, tables, shade structures, bike racks and trash cans.

CR Studio Design has many great ideas for your themed playground! We have both light themes and fully immersed themes, giving you the freedom to choose a custom play environment. Contact us today to discuss playground theme concepts and how to bring your project to life!