How to Choose a Theme for Your Community Playground(Last Updated On: March 3, 2021)
In today’s media-saturated world, children as young as 6 months are already spending time on tablets and smartphones. By their teens, they spend, on average, seven hours a day using screen-based media outside of school and homework. This leaves little time for outdoor play, even though the United States Department of Health and Human Services recommends kids ages 6 and older spend at least 60 minutes a day engaged in physical activity.
Kids have loved traditional playgrounds for many, many years, but in today’s world of television and technology, it’s getting more difficult to entice children to engage in outdoor physical activity. If you are designing a new community playground, you’re likely facing several challenges. Among those challenges is the question: how do we engage children and their parents?
You could design a traditional play space, stocked with basic slides, swings and other climbing equipment. But if you want to design a play space that engages children and keep their families coming back time and time again, designing a playground around a specific theme takes it to the next level.
Benefits of Choosing a Theme for Your Playground
The best thing about themed playgrounds is that their unique design entices children to use their imaginations and experience play in new and creative ways. Instead of sliding down a regular slide, kids escape from a villain pirate or rush from the fire engine to put out a fire. Other benefits of themed playgrounds include:
1. Engaging Kids of All Ages
The sky is the limit when it comes to playground themes, and these themes can engage kids and keep them coming back. In Charleston, South Carolina, Miracle Recreation helped redesign Gadsdenboro Park with two nautical themed playgrounds. Choosing a broad theme like maritime adventures is a great way to engage kids of all ages and encourage them to use their imagination when they play.
For example, in Gadsdenboro Park, our design team engaged younger kids with a tug boat play tower and a custom octopus structure. For older kids, we created a multi-level ship-themed play tower with portholes, life preserver panels and more nautical décor. Both playgrounds inspired fantasy play with working captain’s wheels on both vessels and age-appropriate climbers and slides. Spurring imaginative play entices children to play longer and more frequently — taking them away from their screens and outside for fresh air and exercise.
2. Budget-Friendly Entertainment
For many families, the time and expense associated with amusement parks, movie theaters and other major entertainment venues are too great. Offering a themed community playground allows families on a budget to experience something fun and unique without breaking the bank to do so. It’s also easier to plan an hour at a playground after school than a trip to a theme park, meaning families can play more frequently.
3. Family-Friendly Entertainment
Besides offering affordable weekend entertainment, a themed playground gives parents and children a place to experience play together. Parents often take their children to the playground because they need a break or are at their wits’ end at home. But with a themed playground, parents can also be drawn into the creative, imaginative experience set before them. After all, regardless of age, who can resist checking out a playground pirate ship or princess castle?
Playground Theme Ideas
A themed playground is sure to delight kids of all ages and their parents. But what kind of theme should you choose? And is it possible to design a themed playground on a budget?
Executing a themed playground doesn’t have to be expensive. And it doesn’t have to be complicated either. Consider incorporating one of these popular themes into your next playground design:
Planes, trains and automobiles make for an exciting playground theme. Engaging with equipment designed to look like cars, trains, firetrucks and space shuttles is a wonderful way to encourage kids to emulate the adults around them. Playing “make-believe” and acting out the behaviors of adults helps kids develop critical thinking skills and social understanding. It’s also a wonderful way to encourage them to think about what they want to be when they grow up.
2. Castle Adventures
Storm the castle gates and challenge a knight with a castle-themed playground. Our castle-themed panels give traditional playground equipment a medieval feel, encouraging imaginative play. A castle-themed playground can also encourage children to develop their social skills and play together by engaging in stories and make-believe games.
3. Pirate Ship
Avast me hearties and hoist the sail with a pirate-themed playground! Whether it’s the Curved Shade Roof With Skull & Crossbones or the complete Cape Henlopen State Park set, Miracle Recreation is your one-stop-shop for all things playground — and all things pirate. If you like the idea of a nautical theme but want to keep things simple, forego the pirates and opt for a ship theme. We offer a ship’s anchor panels — in red or blue — as well as a ship’s mast, a ship’s cabin window panel and other assorted accessories. Kids will enjoy spending hours navigating the high seas and imagining swashbuckling adventures in a pirate-themed play space.
Since playgrounds are outdoors, consider designing one that incorporates nature and outdoor adventure. Our Grizz-Lee Bear Climber or the Nature Bear Paw Climber With Rocks are just a couple of the options available to give your playground a natural vibe. Wood-grain panels and leafy rooftops give this play space a rustic vibe that fits well into any community park or natural area.
Choosing a nature theme is often a good option for communities on a budget because it can benefit from the park’s setting. In addition to the great equipment options Miracle Recreation offers, consider incorporating trees, bushes and other landscape into the playground itself, providing both shade and opportunities to observe nature during play.
One of our favorite playground themes is the “Farmyard” playground. Kids are transported to the barnyard with our Barn Wall and Barn Window panels. The wide variety of wood-grain features also complements this theme, giving it a down-home feel that will have kids imagining plowing corn or harvesting hay on the prairie in no time.
Custom Playground Designs From Miracle Recreation
Custom playground designs allow communities and schools to create a safe and secure play space that will delight kids of all ages. When you’re designing a playground, choosing a theme is a great place to start, but there is much to be done after that. Once you’ve selected a theme, it’s time to design a play space that incorporates elements of that theme in age-appropriate playground equipment that fits your space and your budget.
For nearly a century, Miracle Recreation has been creating innovative play spaces that bring families and communities together. Although many things have changed over the last 100 years, our commitment to creating safe, imaginative playground equipment has stayed the same. No matter what theme you’ve selected, you’ll find our goal is always the same. We are committed to creating equipment that meets the highest safety standards, focusing on structural integrity, durability and accessibility above all else.
Learn more about our themed playground equipment.