The evolution of playground equipment has spanned from welded-together pipes to the scientifically designed structures presently available in the market. Today’s playgrounds take a positive approach to providing children with creative play, enhancing their imaginations, and promoting activity and fitness. Here are a few of the design trends we’re seeing today:

1. Themed playgrounds

Themed playgrounds have become popular accessories for both parks and schools as the playground becomes less a collection of isolated features and more of a holistic learning ground. Whether it echoes a dinosaur camp or an enchanted castle, a themed playground gives facilities an extra sense of energy and make them favorite choices for most kids.

2. Natural playgrounds

If you’ve ever climbed a tree or rolled in a pile of leaves, you’ve experienced natural play. However, these activities are increasingly becoming outdated with the rise of the internet and video games. It’s for this reason that natural playgrounds and spaces are becoming popular: to break technology’s stronghold on kids’ imaginations and overcome what author Richard Louv calls “Nature Deficit Disorder.” Natural playgrounds provide kids with a place for imaginative play while encouraging them to reconnect with nature.

3. Inclusive playgrounds

We’re seeing more playgrounds that are accessible to all members of the community, including kids with disabilities and even grownups. Inclusive playgrounds are helping whole neighborhoods to become more active and healthy. Studies also show that kids who see their parents and other adults engage in exercise are more motivated to do it themselves.

4. Safety-first playgrounds

When it comes to playgrounds, safety is something that never goes out of style. Kids and parents are happier when the playground is safe, and the whole community benefits. We all know it’s impossible to prevent injuries completely, but taking the necessary steps to reduce the risk is important. Recreation managers are choosing safe surfaces, ensuring adequate shade, and selecting age-appropriate structures for their spaces.

As many recreational managers consider updating equipment and adding structures to their playgrounds, it’s important to remember that coming up with a theme to fit a new playground doesn’t have to be difficult. In truth, almost any motif can be a success; all you need is a little imagination and some creativity … and of course, a partner who can help turn your vision into a reality.