Play Elements

This section gives you an overview of various play and built elements that can be used in the construction of a school ground. It will cover mounds, vertical structures, ground surfaces, sports courts, play structures, outdoor classrooms, and all things green. Use the handy value system for a quick glance at what makes each element unique. Throughout this section, you will also find information on which ages each element is appropriate for.

The Outdoor PLAYbook Value System

Green Value
The green value of an element is based on environmental benefits, performance, and the ecological footprint of selected materials. Look to the green value icon to design a greener, more sustainable schoolyard.

Creative Play
Creative play environments are those that allow children to shape and manipulate their surroundings. This icon will help you determine which elements offer the greatest creative play opportunities.

Durability is a key factor for the design of well-used spaces. Look to this icon to determine which elements are suited to the high traffic areas of a school ground.

Challenge is judged by the amount of mental or physical progression a child can have, and whether the equipment or space affords a sense of progression. Where there is a measured risk, children are able to develop coordination and orientation skills. Look for this icon to determine the level of challenge afforded by an element.

Maintenance is an important consideration when designing diverse spaces with multiple uses that will see daily activity. Use this icon to determine which elements will work well with the maintenance schedule at your school.

Social Play
Social play is measured by the amount of interaction among peers that is afforded. When playing in groups, children learn cultural and social rules, and develop cooperation skills. This icon denotes design elements that provide opportunities for social play.

This icon will help you to budget for specific elements, denoting how expensive they are relative to each other.

Natural Learning
Natural learning can be achieved by creating spaces for children to interact and learn from the cycles of nature. This icon denotes design elements that provide natural learning opportunities.