Play Structure Types
When you think of a children’s playground, the first thing that comes to mind is the main play unit, which we refer to as the focal point play structure. These are composite structures formed by combining different play elements, including stairs, climbers, bridges, tunnels, sensory panels, and slides. These components make play units modular, allowing them to be customized to include different play elements and color schemes to accommodate your facilities’ needs, age groups, and desired challenge level.
Play Structures are primarily categorized by age group. The Consumer Product Safety Commission developed these age group divisions that have been used to guide federal playground safety guidelines and standards. The age groups break down as follows:
- 6-23 months (infants)
- 2-5 years (preschool)
- 5-12 years (school-age)
- 2-12 years (preschool & school-age)
By designing playground equipment around the varying stages of child development, we can balance providing age-appropriate sensory, motor, and social development opportunities while minimizing the risk of serious injury on playgrounds.
Age groups are the primary determining factor when deciding which “play style” to incorporate on a playground. We recommend play units close to the ground that offer ample sensory and tactile play options for infants. Preschoolers can expand physical play beyond the ground plane with equipment higher off the ground with more challenging climbers that develop motor skills and strength. Finally, with the oldest age group, school-age kids can play on traditional-style units with more complex overhead climbers and can engage in play on fitness-style units. These fitness units are composite structures formed by linked climbers and balance obstacles akin to American Ninja Warrior training courses.
6-23 months (infants):
2-5 years (pre-school):
5-12 years (school-age):
Finally, playground equipment can be categorized by materials and overall aesthetics. Materials vary between steel and plastics, recycled materials, and wood. We can provide playgrounds of all types, but we find steel and plastics the most common option due to their affordability, availability, and durability. Aesthetically, we can offer traditional-style playgrounds with stairs, slides, and climbers in custom colors and more modern and themed playground styles.
Traditional Play Unit:
Picking Your Play Structure
We know picking a play unit can be daunting, with thousands of online options from different retailers. What makes us unique is that we offer equipment from many manufacturers, which allows us to design, price, and install to nearly any budget, need-base, and aesthetic.
To simplify the selection process, we will meet with you to better understand your space, age groups, play priorities, budgets, and aesthetic preferences to help narrow your options to find the best fit. With your feedback and our expertise, we can collaboratively find your best choice for a new play structure.
Click here to explore some of our play structure options or give us a call to set up a meeting with one of our representatives near you.
Quick Ship Color Schemes:
Custom Schemes:* Custom schemes have a 12-16 week lead time