Playground Design Trends

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How today's playgrounds are changing how kids play

Parents who haven't been to a playground in ages might be astonished by what they see when they take their little ones to the local playground for the first time. They may be struck by the sheer size of the equipment, with soaring towers that dwarf the equipment they played on as kids. Bright, bold colors may grab their attention even before they park their car. Less linear, even abstract-looking equipment at the Ninja Warrior-like activity spaces can make the predictable and "manufactured" equipment that they knew as children seem dull in comparison. But today's playgrounds aren't designed just to be bigger, brighter, bolder play spaces. A lot of thought, planning and science goes into creating them. This is giving communities something to cheer about -- play spaces designed with different age groups and abilities in mind, designs that encourage new ways of playing, and equipment made from more sustainable materials. Here are some of the trends driving the evolution of today's playgrounds.