After the refurbishment of the playground at Frimley Lodge Park, there were more play activities and equipment that appealed to children of all ages and abilities. Interviews conducted with 262 adults and 95 children and found out that more than half of the playground’s regular visitors increased their visits to the park after the revamp. Some parents even travelled for over 35 kilometers to revisit the playground with their children.
The new equipment brought about by the refurbishment resulted in over half of the children spending more than 60 minutes in the playground per visit. In addition, 57 per cent of the playground’s frequent visitors were also children between 2 to 5 years old. This makes it important to design unique playgrounds encouraging children to learn through play, in order to build and develop their cognitive and physical abilities.
Getting parents and their children to visit a playground and spend an hour per visit is no easy task. Yet how did Frimley Lodge Park achieve these results in their refurbished playground design?
From surveying the playground visitors, KOMPAN Play institute received new insights that reaffirms their 5 recommendations to consider when designing attractive public playgrounds:
1. Choose unique playground equipment that stands out from what other playgrounds have
One rework at the playground involved changing a Single Zipline into a Double Zipline. The simple change in the playground equipment allowed children to race and play side by side at the same time with their friends. Moreover, other playgrounds did not have the Double Zipline playground equipment, further making the playground unique.
2. Remember to have playground equipment for young children, especially those below 5 years of age
As frequent visitors to the playground are below 5 to 6 years of age, playground equipment should appeal to their developmental needs while being fun, safe, and captivating.
3. Choose a wide variety of playground equipment for all ages and abilities, that will also appeal to parents
When younger children visit the playground, they are often supervised either by their parents or their older siblings. Playground equipment appealing to all ages and abilities allows for children across different age ranges to play on the same playground, and encourages parents to visit more often with their family.
4. Make sure the playground has an amazing factor or feature that makes it innovative or unique
According to the study, uniqueness was described as the play equipment’s “quality, colourfulness, remarkability in visualisation, and unique features with lots of play value”. tactile play activities such as opening a treasure box helped to contribute to play value as it kept children interested for long periods of time. Providing a bespoke design for each playground adds on the playground’s unique equipment by creating a story that is distinctive to each playground space.
5. Have transparency in the playground’s design to ensure easy parental supervision
Parents are a major factor in increasing playground visits, especially if they travel long distances for playgrounds that appeal to their children of all ages. Creating a play space that allows for parents to supervise their children easily helps to make the playground more inviting, especially for future visits.
While having unique playground equipment is a key factor, one must also consider other contributing elements such as how the playground equipment meshes with the overall design of the playground. In tandem, these factors add up to helping create an attractive playground that will appeal to children of all abilities and ages.