Early Childhood Playgrounds

Designing Age-Appropriate Early Childhood Playgrounds

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When designing for toddlers or preschoolers, it’s important to incorporate equipment that promotes skill development through interactive play, sensory experiences, challenging activities, imagination and independence.  The National Association for Education of Young Children (NAEYC) says that playful learning outdoors goes beyond mere niceties and is critical for healthy whole child development.  Let our experienced representatives here at Coast Recreation guide you through the process.  We have the tools and resources (thanks to Landscape Structures) to help you design and plan the perfect space for an early childhood playground.

Things to Remember When Designing Toddler and Preschool Playgrounds

  • Children ages 6 to 23 months are gaining strength, stability and motor skills, along with a host of other physical and cognitive skills.
  • At ages 2 to 5, children are developing physical play and thinking fore creatively so it’s important to focus on playground designs that offer age-appropriate challenges to test their motor skills, strength, agility and more.

Tools to Help

Informational Cards

SmartPlay Card SampleLandscape Structures has created INFORMATIONAL CARDS on each of their products that can be used to help identify the level and skill benefits that each offers.  Click on the the image on the left to see an example of the Smart Play Nook sheet that identifies everything you would need to know.  Cards like these help to make sure the developmental goals of the design are being met.  Let us know what cards you need!

Playground Planning Checklist

Designing a playground can feel overwhelming so Landscape Structures also created a step-by-step guide that breaks everything down to make it easy and fun. One size doesn’t fit all and we can help you design a custom playground for your childcare or daycare center that meets your unique needs.


      • Envision and define 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 playground on a budget and raise funding
      • Install and maintain your playground

Safety Concerns

Early Childhood Blog Image 4Nothing is more important than keeping the children in your care safe. As kids play on or around playgrounds, bumps, bruises and scraped shins will happen but there are steps you can take to eliminate the risk of more serious injuries.

Through our industry-leading design, engineering and quality materials, we create innovative environments that are not only fun but safe and durable. We will work with you to select age-appropriate products, safety surfacing and shade systems that will help you meet playground safety guidelines and keep kids safe.

Use the Landscape Structures Safety Checklist to make sure you are not missing anything!

Funding, Grants & Resources

While money is an obstacle to overcome, there are many playground purchasing and funding options – fundraising, playground grants, purchasing contracts or lease agreements – that will bring your playground dreams to fruition. We will collaborate with you to help create a well-designed playground that meets your unique needs while staying within your budget.

Ideas and Inspiration for Age Appropriate Playground Designs

Landscape Structures has developed designs and equipment with the guidance of the National Head Start Association and Too Small to Fail.  They make playground safety a top priority and will help you keep kids safe with age-appropriate products, safety surfacing and shade products. You can check out designs and take virtual tours of already installed playgrounds all across the country!  Use the links below to browse locations without leaving your desk.

You can also check out the Landscape Structures Early Childhood Brochure.  This virtual brochure is an easy way to browse the various designs and components for your project.

View playground designs from Landscape Structures for

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