School playgrounds are in a unique position to meet kids where they are, helping them become smarter, healthier and stronger through play. Studies show that outdoor physical activity not only benefits a child’s health but improves classroom performance, increases cognitive development and hones social skills.
For nearly 50 years, we’ve been at the forefront of innovation and research to design optimal school playgrounds that inspire and create our next generation of leaders. Schools play a critical role in helping ensure children are getting adequate outdoor physical activity through recess or outdoor classroom time where kids can play and learn on age- and developmentally appropriate playgrounds. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that children get 60 minutes of physical activity a day.
School Playgrounds Build Skills
Cognitive: When kids interact with the sensory elements in the outdoors, they get the opportunity to problem-solve and think critically.
Physical: School playgrounds promote health through climbing, jumping and running while providing a controlled environment for physical activity.
Social: School playgrounds offer opportunities for kids to collaborate and engage with each other to overcome challenges.
School playgrounds need to encourage and support the development of healthy kids, while welcoming kids of all abilities. Our school playground designs focus on five specific areas of skill development – sensory, motor, cognitive, strength, and social/emotional – to provide a variety of developmental options for kids to choose from.
We can help ensure that your school playground includes a wide range of activities to accommodate a variety of developmental needs.
Learn more about our inclusive playground options.
School Playground Planning: Getting Started
School playground planning can seem overwhelming but not to worry, we created a step-by-step guide that breaks down the process to make it easy and fun. One size doesn’t fit all and we’ll help you design a playground that is ideal for your school and meets your unique needs.
Through our school playground planning checklist we will help you:
- Envision and define school playground objectives
- Analyze characteristics of your site to maximize space and surrounding elements
- Meet safety regulations and guidelines to keep kids safe while they play
- Build your school playground on a budget and raise funding
- Install and maintain your school playground
Visit our checklist to discover your ideal school playground and start planning.
School Playground Safety
Kids are always finding new and inventive—but not necessarily safe—ways to play on or around playground equipment. And while they may scrape an elbow or bruise a shin, it’s important to take steps to eliminate the risk of more serious mishaps. We’ll help you select age-appropriate products, playground safety surfacing and shade systems that meet safety regulations and keep kids safe.
We can also help you with proper installation, safety audits and maintenance inspections to ensure your school playground is as safe as possible.
Additionally, we offer a playground safety program to help teach elementary school students the importance of safe play. The program, featuring the Super Safety Team, Guardians of the Playground, contains practical tools for schools to implement and enforce safe play.
Learn more about school playground safety.
Fundraising, School Playground Grants and ESSER Funding for Schools
We don’t want funding to be the obstacle that keeps you from realizing your school playground dreams. We offer fundraising programs and a playground grant guide to make fundraising effective and hassle free.
School Playground Fundraising
Schools are no stranger to fundraising but we’ll introduce you to new ways to help fund your school playground. From scratch-off games to walk-a-thons, we can help you set up a highly profitable fundraising program.
School Playground Grants
Many organizations allocate funds for playground projects and several federal and state programs award grants for playgrounds. Money is available, you just have to know where to look and our playground grant guide includes listings of federal and state programs as well as grants offered by corporations and organizations. We will also give you tips on how to write a grant proposal that gets noticed.
ESSER Funding for Schools
If your school has ESSER (Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief), ARP (American Rescue Plan) or CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act funding available, we can help support your needs. Use these COVID-relief funds to enhance or make your school playground more inclusive, expand your campus learning environments with outdoor classrooms or by using commercial shade structures, or address learning loss and student mental health. Learn more about schools-related eligibility.
Explore the many ways to fund your school playground.
Work with a Landscape Structures Consultant
Our global network of school playground experts is on hand to help find the right playground design that is safe, challenging and fun for all of your students and visitors. They’ll learn about your specific needs and priorities, then guide you through every step to make the process as easy as possible.