We need to cast aside ideas about designing for permanence, and look at how to design an outdoor play environment that allows for change. Children should have an opportunity to shape their own environment, or to leave their own mark behind. A sense of exploration, of something to be discovered, is central to facilitating this idea of chance on the school ground.

What is it?

Chance involves an occasion that allows something to be done; an opportunity for the child to create, manipulate, and leave an impression on the play space. Chance has sometimes been referred to as openendedness or flexibility.

Chance also involves stimulating spontaneous exploration – children exploring on their own.

What to do?

This can be a difficult dimension for professional designers to understand because they typically design for permanence. The design team should consider how the play space can designed to allow for chance.

The design team can encourage spontaneous exploration activities in the play space by creating areas that encourage children to investigate.