Can a playground be more than just a slide and staircase?

It’s certainly true that in years gone by a playground might have just consisted of a slide and a staircase. There were few places where genuinely creative play was encouraged by equipment but that’s not the case today. Now, a playground can be a much more exciting experience thanks to the wide range of different designs and equipment that are available. However, not all children can access playgrounds because of the way that they are created – which is why inclusive design is so important to ensuring that a playground is much more than just a basic experience.

What kind of playground goes further than the basics?

An inclusive and accessible playground gives all children the chance to play and enjoy these surroundings. But what kind of playground is an accessible playground? Here are some examples:

  • A space that has clear pathways and unobstructed routes into the playground – and also paths that connect all areas of the playground and all the equipment in it.
  • At least 50% of the elevated components of the playground are on an accessible route.
  • Playgrounds have key safety features, including safety surfacing that can be navigated by pushchairs, wheelchairs etc and ramps that have handrails on both sides.

An inclusive playground is basically an area where any child of any developmental stage and ability can turn up and join in. It should be a nurturing environment where anyone can participate and which considers the needs of a whole wide range of different children.

What are the benefits of a playground that is more than just a slide and staircase?

  • An inclusive playground breaks down barriers between kids. Socialising can be hard for everyone but especially those who are different. Inclusive playgrounds make it easier to meet and engage with others.
  • Children can play in the way that children should. Inaccessible playgrounds exclude children who may have disabilities or challenges, meaning that they are not able to play in the simple and carefree way that most children can. Inclusive and accessible playgrounds create a space where children can play and grow together as they should, which is why they are so much more than just a slide and a staircase.
  • Creating equal opportunities. Children who have specific disabilities or challenges can learn to feel that they don’t have the same rights as others. So, a playground that honours equal opportunities for all can be a key experience.
  • A stimulating play environment. A well designed inclusive playground creates opportunities to develop a range of skills and stimulate creativity and ideas.
  • Building confidence and self-esteem. Play is vital for children in developing physical and mental confidence and self-esteem and accessible playgrounds open this up for everyone.

Today, playgrounds can be so much more than just a slide and a staircare – they can be inclusive and accessible environments where everyone can thrive.