Building a Playground for Toddlers: 8 Crucial Tips(Last Updated On: December 23, 2020)
So you want to build a playground for toddlers?
We’ve all seen these miniature playspaces at daycares, churches and parks. But you probably never thought about what goes into building them — until now.
If you have taken on the task of building a toddler playground for your community or a beloved organization, congratulations! You have the chance to lead the way in designing and implementing a playspace that will encourage young children in their growth and development for years to come.
We know that you probably have some questions about how to get started, and we are here to help answer them! Miracle Recreation® has been designing toddler-friendly commercial playground equipment for nearly 100 years, so our dedicated staff has learned a thing or two along the way. Check out our top tips for building playgrounds for young children.
Tips for Building a Playground for Toddlers
Toddler playground building requires organization and commitment to the details. Following these steps will ensure that the playground design and building process go smoothly, so you can create a beautiful, safe play space.
1. Consider Your Community
The most important tip to consider when building playgrounds for young kids is to think about who you are building for.
A toddler playground will typically be geared toward children between the ages of two and five, but think past the age range and consider the setting. Will the playground serve a small population of students at a daycare? Or will it be part of a large community playground serving hundreds of families each week? What kinds of equipment will be beneficial to the children who will be using the playground the most?
You may be able to answer these questions yourself, but it can also be beneficial to survey the parents and teachers who will bring their children to use the play space when it is finished. Understanding their preferences and needs can be helpful as you select equipment and design the layout of the playground.
2. Determine Your Budget
If you are building playgrounds for toddlers at a daycare or preschool, then the money may have already been allotted in your annual budget. However, if you are designing a community playground, this may include a fundraising component as you ask community members to contribute toward the design and construction phases.
If your organization does not have the money for a new playground, don’t worry! Fundraising for a playground is a great way to generate excitement among the local community and interest in the playground when it’s completed. Applying for grants is also a great way to obtain the funds your organization or community needs to build a toddler playground.
3. Adapt to Your Environment
Before you finalize the playground design, spend some time at the site where you will build. By now, you have probably already measured, but take the time to notice other features. Is there adequate shade nearby for children and their parents to relax and cool off? If the playground is near a road, is there a fence, or will one need to be built? If you are adding a toddler playground to an existing park, are there adequate benches or picnic tables nearby for families to linger and socialize?
There will be some things you cannot change, but you can account for them in your planning to make sure the playground provides a safe, fun and comfortable experience for anyone who uses it. For example, if the location of the playground doesn’t already have shade, you may not be able to plant new trees, but you can budget for a small picnic shelter where children and their families can sit to cool off.
If you are planning to construct the playground at an existing park, also consider proximity to the bathrooms, parking lot and other park amenities to ensure a comfortable experience for young children and their families.
4. Know the Rules
Before you begin construction, it is important to know the rules and regulations surrounding toddler playgrounds in your area. Your playground manufacturer representative can help guide you through this part of the process. Contact us today to begin a conversation about your new toddler playground.
5. Select Safe Surfacing
It’s easy to get caught up in the fun stuff, like slides and ramps and swings. But one of the most important features of any toddler playground should be the surface it is built on. It is important to select a playground surface that can absorb the impact of a child’s fall, such as sand, wood chips, rubber chips or mats, mulch or synthetic turf.
6. Put Children First
This may seem like a silly reminder, but it is so important. When you are designing a playground for toddlers, design it with their needs and interests in mind. Choose equipment that stimulates their imagination, encourages creativity and boosts their self-confidence. Select inclusive pieces that offer something for children with a wide range of physical and developmental abilities.
7. Plan for Extras
When you are designing your toddler play structure, be sure to budget for extras, including landscaping around the playground and benches where parents can sit and easily watch their children play. If the toddler playground will be included in a community park, it is also a good idea to consider adding a bike rack and picnic benches to encourage community health and family togetherness. You may also need to include fencing and water fountains, depending on the location of your playground.
8. Account for Future Costs
After you have designed and built a toddler playground, it’s tempting to believe you are done with the project. But a playground requires an ongoing commitment from the community or school it serves. Plan for regular inspections of all equipment and budget for repairs or replacement parts throughout the lifespan of the playground. Most playground surfaces will also require regular maintenance and replacement, especially if you have selected mulch or other materials that aren’t fixed in place.
Create a Toddler Playground With Miracle Recreation
Miracle Recreation can offer a wide variety of equipment designed to spark your child’s imagination, encourage physical activity and keep them safe as they roam.
We understand that building a playground can be a daunting task. After all, it’s not something most people have a lot of experience with.
That’s where we come in!
Miracle Recreation provides free design services and custom playground options for our clients. Our Toddler’s Choice line of playground equipment is a great place to start, and our experienced design experts can help you choose just the right pieces, whether you are building a playground from scratch or just updating an existing space. Browse our selection online and contact us to get started today.