Design for Play (guidance produced by Play England, 2008) provides a good start when it comes to planning and design. The guidance highlights ten principles for designing successful play spaces:
- They are bespoke
- They are well located
- They make use of natural elements
- They provide a wide range of play experience
- They are accessible to both disabled and non-disabled children
- They meet community needs
- They allow children of different ages to play together
- They build in opportunities for risk and challenge
- They are sustainable and appropriately maintained
- They allow for change and evolution
Following these principles will help to ensure that the space provides a rich play environment for children and young people.
To make the most of a play space, children need to be able to adapt and shape it to meet their play needs and it needs to change over time and provide new opportunities for play. The addition of loose fill surfaces such as sand or bark, the inclusion of water, and trees and bushes will provide a supply of loose parts that change with the seasons, which children will use in a variety of ingenious ways.
Download Making good places for playing - article by Sue Gutteridge.