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Space Efficient Playground Design for Schools

Space Efficient Playground Design for Schools

Making the most of your school playground is vitally important to every child’s health and individual development.  Not only can it provide a fantastic opportunity for children to participate in physical activity during the school day, but the great outdoors also offers an unlimited number of learning experiences to stimulate their senses and encourage a greater understanding of the world around them. However, we understand that maximising the outdoor space can be a difficult process with so many stakeholders to consider and the pressure that comes from getting it right for everyone.

Here at Fawns, we have some great solutions to help. So you can be confident, whatever size or shape playground, it’s the best it can be!

From climbing frames to playground furniture, in this blog we will investigate the best and most efficient ways to make the most your school playground, considering every requirement for your school outdoor space.


Understanding the learning outcomes, you require

First, it is important to establish exactly what you want to use your outdoor space for:

  • Do you want to create a flexible playground space in which children play?
  • Do you need your space to cater to more educational needs, such as outdoor classrooms, for an outdoor learning experiences?
  • Will more imaginative play be encouraged?
  • Is the space going to be used as a sensory or quiet play area?
  • How many children does this area needs to accommodate?

This is a crucial stage of your playground development, and you need to consider what the outdoor play space will be used for and what needs to be achieved in the area, will it be a quiet area, a sensory space or an area that will be used to boost children’s physical activity.


Consider your Budget

Next, you’ll need to consider how much budget you have for this. Along with the use of traditional methods, there are several ways as a school to raise the all-important funds, from bake sales to Summer and Christmas fayres, some of which your PTA may already be working towards. We also come across a wide variety of alternative fundraising activities and ideas that we would love to share with you if you are looking for some inspiration.

There are also number of funding programmes to consider when thinking about budgets, some of which include Sports Premium Funding and Lottery funding via the Awards for All grant. If you would like any further information or support on how to access these funding opportunities, contact our friendly team today to discuss your project on 01252 515199 or


Get your School Council involved!

We believe the most important element of any playground project is to consult with the children during the planning process, as they will ultimately be the ones who use the space and will decide if the project is a success.

This is an opportunity to include the school community or school council in coming up with ideas for their new playground or outdoor area. It will encourage your pupils to really think about what they want from their play space and get them more involved in the playground design from the outset – seeing the project from concept to completion.

As children have such amazing imaginations, they will create an exciting playground that they know all children will enjoy, but as a useful tip, try to make sure you explain there is a limit on the budget as you may end up with some amazing theme park roller coasters or space rockets designed and ready to land on the moon!


Playground Equipment

Here at Fawns, we have many pieces of playground equipment that are space efficient to suit any available space, but importantly do not lose any play value and encourage creative play for your school playground, some of which include:


2100 Range

First to consider is our 2100 Range, these are our reduced size trim trail components that have been designed to have a lower free fall height and are smaller in size allowing for more equipment to be included in one area – however they are just as fun as our standard trim trail items and lose no play value!

From the Horizontal Monkey Bars, Rope Wall and Clatter Bridge, these items are perfect for a small playground as they have been carefully designed to adjoin and link to each other or simply be as a stand-alone trail item, whatever is required for your playground to make it an enjoyable space.


Young Explorer Towers

A great addition to school playgrounds, our Young Explorers range is designed with an emphasis on maximising play value and incorporating a wide range of physical challenges, suitable for a range of ages and abilities.

Our Young Explorers are excellent for physical fitness as they encourage a range of skills; promoting upper body strength, co-ordination and agility whilst encouraging social play and active play which are all important for child development.

While our towers support active play, they also offer a range of physical activity for primary schools.






Pick Up Sticks

Our Pick Up Sticks are an excellent piece of climbing equipment that promotes open-ended, imaginative play as well as excellent physical development for all ages and abilities, encouraging social skills and emotional development.

Stylish and fun, our Pick-Up Sticks Range are climbing structures that come in a variety of sizes to suit your individual playground needs. These items pack a lot of versatile equipment into a smaller area, meaning whether your space is going to be based around play, exercise, or lessons, you’re guaranteed to have a lot to do regardless of how much room you have.

Wall Panels

Other great equipment that can help you maximise your space is our selection of wall games. These will take up very little space, as you only need make room on a wall for them but can still offer a lot. One example of this is our Numbers wall panel, which would be perfect for a more lesson-orientated space, as it gives children a creative way to play with numbers outdoors, or our Snakes and Ladders wall game, which could be used either for lessons or for playtime.

There is also an array of musical instruments, allowing children to discover their musical talents! These offer excellent sensory stimulation for both primary schools and secondary schools alike.

Similarly, our game board tables are an excellent piece of outdoor furniture, offering a great solution to working outdoors if you don’t have much space and can be double up as picnic tables. gameboard with children

The game board tables create a way to explore different games outdoors including traditional games such as chess and snakes and ladders; encouraging children to play with each other whilst doubling up as a workspace when lessons are taken outdoors.


Sensory Play

Children across SEND and mainstream settings need sensory play to help develop their eight sensory systems. Water play, messy play and sensory play equipment are all helpful in giving children the sensory feedback they seek.

Our sensory play equipment is an excellent addition to any outdoor space, whether small or large, our sensory equipment comes in a range of sizes and whist incorporating natural elements including soil, bark, water, and sand.

Speaking, listening and team-work skills are developed in a messy play environment which facilitates children learn to share, take turns, lead, and follow instructions.

Using their imagination is not only fun for children, but also developing their language skills which are broadened as they describe what they are making and describe the senses they are using.

Our Messy Kitchen Range includes the Messy Kitchen CornerWorkstation and Messy Corner.






Space Frames

Our Space Frames are an excellent addition to any school playground and offer a phenomenal amount of physical development for both Key Stage 1 and 2 children. The frames promote upper body strength, hand eye co-ordination and motor skills, whilst your children have a playtime that is out of this world, every single day!

The Space Frames are brilliant for a small space as they provide a range of challenges in one climbing frame, including balancing, swinging, and climbing: these units area ideal for children of all abilities and ages.



Quiet Zones

When considering your outdoor space, it is important to think about all the children who will be using the space, it is important to consider that some children like to use the area as a quiet time and use as reflective play rather than active play.

These different zones can be design specific from using the playground space as outdoor learning spaces using the Outdoor Classroom, or shade structures to provide shade and shelter in the summer and winter months.

With the use of a variety of surfacing materials such as Duralawn, Rubber Mulch or Wetpour, these more calmer and reflective spaces really can be used all year round, focusing on children’s social skills and mental development.



Playground Markings

Finally, our playground markings are extremely useful in smaller spaces and can really make the most of the outdoor play spaces. They are an excellent addition to any school playground and come in a range of designs and colours.

From traditional games to fitness trails and number counting, these promote a range of activities promoting physical activity, social interaction and a wide range of creative ideas whilst involving educational elements.

They can even be designed to go around your play equipment, adding more colour and vibrancy to your outdoor play space.

playground marking - hopscotch


All our equipment offers a range of play opportunities, promoting educational play, free play and creative play.

It is important to use the playground space to its full potential, ensuring every space and zone is designed to encourage children to use the outdoor play areas as they want to use it during their break times, considering the different play zones, play value and physical activities.







Playground Design Consultation

We offer a free consultation service to discuss your playground ideas and understand the outcomes you require for your pupils. Follow your meeting with one of our local consultants, we will create a 3d design so that you can visualise your new playground and present your ideas to the other stakeholders on your project.

Once your playground design has been approved with any changes made along with way, we will begin the process of manufacturing your equipment at our UK workshop, and schedule your project start date as soon as possible, with our expert play installation team.

After your project is complete, we offer an aftercare service to ensure your playground equipment is always in tip top condition so the children can use the playground equipment all year round.


What Next?

To discuss your next playground project with our friendly team call us on 01252 515199 or alternatively send us an email on

To look at our product range have a look at the rest of our equipment we can offer, or if you would like to request our brochure click here.

Alternatively, if you would like to complete a form with your details, we will give you a call at your earliest convenience.

Physical Development Blocks with children using


Other blogs you may be interested in:

Getting Active: Small Playground Ideas

Outdoor Play: Why is it Important?

16 Playground Games for Primary schools