Five considerations for your toddler and preschool playgrounds

When you’re designing a playground to meet the needs of toddlers and preschoolers, it’s important to keep their developmental needs in mind. Playgrounds for young kids not only help them build their senses and motor and cognitive skills, but they also teach them about cooperation and social imaginative play. To help you create a dream playground for your daycare or preschool, we’ve created a fun infographic.

See below to learn the five developmental needs to consider when designing early childhood playgrounds.

5 Developmental Needs to Consider when Designing Early Childhood Playgrounds

One year of inclusive play in Russia and counting…

This week marks the one year anniversary of the opening of the first inclusive playground in Russia. Together with our partner in inclusive play, Shane’s Inspiration, we designed the fully inclusive and accessible playground to deliver a nature-inspired play experience. The natural playground design in addition to the sensory-stimulating and developmentally appropriate activities will welcome children and families of all abilities.

This is the first inclusive playground to be installed in Russia.

The installation of the accessible playground equipment was in association with the 2014 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi. Read more about this playground first here.

Playground planning for preschools and daycare centers

Choosing the right playground equipment for preschools or daycare centers may seem a little daunting at first, but we’ve compiled a list of industry-specific resources to make the planning process easier. Even more, we have a playground planning checklist with five easy steps to create the ultimate childcare playground.

Assisi Early Learning Center, Madison, Miss.

Assisi Early Learning Center, Madison, Miss.

Toddlers and preschoolers always find new, but not always safe, ways to play. That’s why we make playground safety a top priority by creating age- and developmentally appropriate products using the best materials and innovative features.

Trinity Church, Lubbock, Texas

Trinity Church, Lubbock, Texas

Securing funds is an important step in creating dream preschool or toddler playgrounds. And we can help with that! We have fundraising programs available, can help you find playground grants for child care centers and we have purchasing contracts to help expedite the buying process.

Learning and Wellness Center, Chicago, Ill.

Learning and Wellness Center, Chicago, Ill.

Check out our list of early childhood playground resources for even more information on how to plan an outdoor playground for daycare centers including details about our partnerships, certifications, and how to design an inclusive and accessible playground.

Playground activities to help develop smart kids

After years of observing toddlers and preschoolers at play, one thing is certain… they are on the move. These younger kids are still developing many of their senses and skills, so they are interested in playground activities that move—steering wheels, puzzles, shape-and-fit games. That’s why we’ve created the Smart Play line with interactive playground activities for kids ages 2 to 5.

Smart Play: Cube 2-5

NEW Smart Play: Cube 2-5

While the Smart Play designs—Smart Play: Cube 2-5, introduced earlier this year, and Smart Play: Motion 2-5, introduced in 2014—welcome kids ages 2 to 5, they were designed specifically to meet the needs of 2- and 3-year-olds. Every playground activity was thoughtfully included because of their developmental benefits to help toddlers and preschoolers build their senses, motor and cognitive skills, and encourage cooperation and imaginative play.

Smart Play: Motion 2-5 was introduced in 2014

Smart Play: Motion 2-5 was introduced in 2014

And now with two unique designs from which to choose—mid-century modern or more whimsical—playground planners can incorporate these affordable, activity-packed play structures into tight spaces and budgets. Even more, you can feel good about purchasing Smart Play structures; they’re manufactured using a smart use of materials.

Tell us what you think about our Smart Play line of playground designs below, and then visit playlsi.com to learn more.

Tell a story with your playground colors

Color Bells

You may have seen that we introduced eight new colors to make your playground designs pop, blend in or tell a unique story. But with all the infinite number of colors available, how did we choose peacock, buttercup, sky, grass, berry, lagoon, paprika and carbon?

A team of five playground designers looked at a cross-section of trends—built environments, graphics and fashion design—in addition to nature to find colors that excite, but will also stand the test of time. They each created mood boards to identify what they felt were “gaps” in our current color offerings. And after seeing similarities among the boards, they began to move forward with colors they felt would complement our existing playground colors and offer the most variety in color palettes.

Peacock mood board

The team then ordered paint swatches to study how the sun affected the colors and to see which new hues would be most complimentary to existing color options. According to Nikki Hall, playground designer, “Seeing the swatches in the sunlight dramatically changed how the colors interacted, so this was an important step in the process.” Going even further, the team came up with the idea to carbonize some of the colors to give it a richer finish.

Berry mood board

So what about the names? “We wanted all of the names to be something authentic from nature—nothing artificial or made-up,” explained Allison Schrein, playground designer. “We generated lists, and threw ideas and more images back and forth to each other until we found ones that seemed right.” Most of the names that the team started with early on in the process are ones that stuck.

Do you have a favorite of the 2015 new playground colors? What do you think of the 23 curated palettes? Share your thoughts below, then visit playlsi.com to learn more.

Fun, new playground equipment products for your 2015 designs

See how we’re designing exhilaration, challenge, imagination and community into our new playground products for 2015.

Eight new nature-inspired playground colors will stimulate kids’ senses and perfectly coordinate with the outdoors!

New Colors for 2015!First there was Smart Play: Motion 2-5, and now there’s Smart Play: Cube 2-5! This play structure delivers 14 different activities perfect for 2- to 3-year-olds in a compact footprint.

Smart Play: Cube 2-5We’re rocking community and school playgrounds again with our new Canyon Collection™, which provides a realistic rock climbing experience.

The Canyon Collection™Our HealthBeat® outdoor fitness system has a fresh new design and three new stations—the Elliptical, Parallel Bars and the Hand Cycler.

Fresh, newly designed HealthBeat® outdoor fitness systemSpin to good health! Our TopsyTurny™ Spinner encourages social interaction and collaboration.

TopsyTurny™ Spinner

Learn more about these innovative new commercial playground equipment products on the newly redesigned playlsi.com!

Principals give back to school in Nashville

Elementary school principals from all over the country gathered in Nashville, Tenn., for the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) Annual Convention & Exposition held July 10-12. But before the Convention could kick off, we helped celebrate NAESP’s sixth annual Community Service Day. Together with nearly 100 elementary and middle school principals, we installed new playground equipment including a zip line-like component called the ZipKrooz™ and the OmniSpin® spinner at Inglewood Elementary School.

Proud to partner with the National Association of Elementary School Prinicpals for their Community Service Day.

“Inglewood Elementary is a neighborhood school serving bright and energetic students who will benefit greatly from this new playground,” said Carrie Mickle, principal of Inglewood Elementary School. “The ZipKrooz is one of the first in the area, and will be a draw to families to check out Inglewood Elementary and discover the exciting things taking place in our part of Nashville.”

We’re proud to have partnered with NAESP to bring play to schools across the nation. Learn more about our partnership here.