How to Design Playground Equipment for Special Needs Children

What You'll Need
Safety Documents
Potential Playground

If you want to design some playground equipment for children with special needs, then you will have to take some important factors into consideration. There are several million children with special needs, who are often excluded by the deficits in playground equipment design. Planning safe activity for these children is never very easy, but in order to make the playground a safe, accessible and fun area for children of all abilities, you will have to put extra effort into your design. Planning and designing special needs equipment is always a challenge, but by following a few simple rules you should be able to make your designs better and more effective than before.

Step 1 - Follow the Rules

There are several rule books on how you should design playground equipment for children, and these rules have to be followed to the letter no mater what type of child you are designing for. You need to read all of the guidelines, including titles such as "Home Playground Safety Tips", in order to assess the suitability of your design. Many of these rule books issue design specifications, so you will have to read these and examine the materials you intend to use. Make sure that the designs fit these codes before you begin to create the equipment. Once you are satisfied that you know what the rules are for designing your playground equipment, then you can begin to create the design.

Step 2 - Consult Children

The best way to work out whether children will like what you are doing is to consult with them. You should begin by consulting with the children who will be using the playground furniture. Ask them what they would like, and what needs they want to be accommodated. You should then be able to get a good idea of the kinds of playground equipment that are needed in the area.

Step 3 - Consider Special Features

When you are designing your equipment, remember to include special features that are needed by some children with disabilities. Some of these features include braille instructions on the front of the playground, and then on the equipment itself. You should also look at the design for swings with additional back support or leg rests, and teeter-totters with supports. These kinds of things will allow the children who use the playground to get the best use out of your designs.

Step 4 - Consider Costs

Before you finalize your plans, you can investigate the different types of material used, and examine the costs. The price of certain materials may put them out of the reach of equipment makers, and can even inhibit the purchase of the equipment. Consider the cost of making all the parts, and try and adapt your designs to suit a range of costs. This should allow you to create the best designs for your playground equipment.