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Children's play

Play is essential to children and young people’s physical and social development. Yet, today’s children and young people generally have fewer opportunities for outdoor play than previous generations. Taking a more playful, imaginative approach to the design of public spaces can help cultivate a sense of place. And a space that is good for children will often be good for adults too.

Copyright David Millington Photography

Planning for play

Play does not and should not only happen in playgrounds. Play strategies should ensure a range of accessible play options across an area, including parks, squares and even streets.

Ten principles for designing play

Ideas and practical resources for building new play spaces in a fresher and more inspiring manner.

Natural play

Playful landscape elements such as undulating landform, wildflowers, logs, stones and sand have benefits for children’s learning, healthy growth and development.

Involving young people

Young people are major users of parks, streets, play areas and other public spaces. Getting them involved in the design process can raise their aspirations for public spaces, increasing respect for and use of a completed site.

Managing play and risk

Those responsible for managing play spaces should be involved in the design of new spaces and should adopt an approach to risk management that takes the benefits into account as well as the risks.