Why Play Equipment ?
In a child’s early stages in life, play is the best way for them to observe and learn about the world. Each different type of play is vital to their development. Creating safe spaces for children outdoors, but close to home can have many benefits, such as less travel time to playgrounds, rotation of parents looking after neighbourhood children, and the ability to build long-term friendships and social skills.
Examples of Types of Play
- Active/ Movement Play
- Object Play
- Social Play
- Imaginative/ Pretend Play
- Storytelling/ Narrative Play
- Creative Play
- Explorative Play
A lot of the time, these toys don’t have to be stationed outside, but your children can bring them out to share with other neighbourhood kids who would also like to play. This brings up educational opportunities to teach sharing, caring for other people’s belongings, and respectful, socialising skills. If the children and families feel a sense of ownership for the space, they will naturally learn to take care of the shared resources.
Read on below about the various play equipment that can be shared by neighbours to help create a great space for children’s play. See related stories about this type of placemaking at the bottom of the page.
Basketball hoops seem to be more common in front of houses than other sports equipment, but many other sports can also be taken onto the driveway and street to be played with other neighbours. From our experience, a long piece of wood to block the drain while playing with smaller sized balls will save the cost of losing some down the drain every time.
Examples: Basketball Hoops, Cricket bats, all sorts of balls,
Traditional Playground Equipment
You can find these play equipment in many toy stores or household hardware stores, but rather than putting it in the backyard for your own family, putting it out the front means other people can also enjoy using it.
Examples: Slides, Cubbies, Swing-sets, DIY swings (tire, rope, hammock), trampolines,
Toy, Book, and equipment libraries
If you have the space to keep these objects, then it is a great idea to keep them in a semi-public space. Neighbours can donate their old things, and allow even more people to enjoy the fun.
Examples and ideas: Street Libraries, Toy shed/tub,
All of these different types of human-powered vehicles are tons of fun, but it can be expensive to own one of everything for your children. That is why sharing them with your neighbours, or gifting a bike too small for your own kid to someone else, is a good way to reuse and recycle!
Examples: Bikes, Scooters, Roller Blades, Skateboards, Longboards, Trikkes, Unicycles
Emerging after World War 2 in Junk Playgrounds are where children could explore their creativity, imagination, and narrative play using the random things they find. Children have beautiful brains that can come up with ways to play in any situation, so even with limited materials, they will find a way to have an enormous amount of fun.
Examples and Ideas: old tires, cardboard boxes, paper, tools like scissors and tape, rope, gloves, building stick huts in the bush
Related Stories: Adventure Playgrounds (source)