For Ages 5 and Under
Designing Playground Structures for Preschoolers
A playground for toddlers ages 5 and under is different from building a playground for older kids.
Children at this age are still exploring the world around them actively and have not developed the strength
and motor skills of older kids, so a toddler playground needs to have equipment safe for this age group.
Our preconfigured early childhood playgrounds feature a variety of activities that engage the imagination, promote child-directed play, and are built to last.
Create your own unique playground to fit space and budget requirements, activity preferences, or curriculum needs using our individual components.
Choose your favorite tubes, climbers and other freestanding products to create an immersive play space every preschool-aged child will enjoy.
When designing a playground for toddlers, keep these design elements in mind:
Age-Appropriate Equipment and Activities
Early childhood outdoor playground equipment should be designed for children under age 5. It should engage their senses while also being inviting and safe. It should not rely on children climbing high or taking part in activities that are too complex or difficult for them. Preschool outdoor play equipment with animal themes, bright colors, nature themes and fun sounds can delight kids while also helping them learn.
Surfacing and Shade
Surfacing is important in playgrounds for toddlers because, at this age, kids can still lose their balance easily. Loose-fill, pour-in-place surfacing, and several other options are all worth considering for their safety benefits. Shade can also be an important design consideration, helping you protect toddlers from the dangers of extended sun exposure while they play and playground equipment that can become hot to the touch.
Falls and injuries to toddlers can be devastating, which is why it is important to choose early childhood playground products that meet or exceed safety standards in your area. Depending on where you live, look for playground equipment that meets safety standards and regulations created by well know organizations, such as the American Society for Testing & Materials (ASTM), U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), Canadian Standards Association (CSA), or Consumer Products Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA).
Early childhood playgrounds need closer supervision because kids at this age have not learned all about safety yet. Site furnishings such as picnic tables and benches can encourage adults to supervise more closely by making it easier for them to sit nearby. When designing your playground, make sure each piece of equipment is easily visible from seating areas where caregivers are likely to sit, so adults can keep an eye on children at all times.
Toddlers develop at different paces and it is important for all children to feel included. When creating an inclusive playground, make sure each piece of preschool play equipment can be accessed by children with different mobility capabilities and learning levels. Include some activities at ground level and some higher up.
Resources for Pre-K Playground Design
Download INCLUSIVE GUIDE
A step-by-step guide how to incorporate inclusive play principles into an existing or new playground including design tips.
Download PLAYGROUND 101 GUIDE
Create a poster or attach to email to help boost support for your new playground project in just 10 steps.