By Michele Breakfield
Church playgrounds bring families together in creative ways. They support a young congregation and help churches grow their communities.
It’s important to thoughtfully plan your church playground, as it will be used by many different individuals and families. In fact, the right playground design might even be the reason why families choose your faith-based community!
As you consider some of the design concepts for your church playground, here are five that stand out to us…and hopefully you, as well!
- Offer Inclusive Playground Equipment
A good church playground should be safe and fun for all ages. Churches bring together families from all different backgrounds and generations, so you want to make sure that your space is appealing for everyone. Teens might like interactive equipment or fitness equipment, while younger kids may appreciate climbers, spinners and swings.
Age-appropriate and inclusive playground equipment is very important, especially for faith-based schools, preschool programs, Mother’s Day Out or after school care.
Make sure that you are considering the needs and interests of your churchgoers so that you can pick the best equipment for them. Meeting the needs of the congregation and the programs you offer will be key.
- Feature Church Stories and Values
One of the best ways to make your church playground unique is by incorporating popular church stories and Bible verses into your space. For example, you can have a Bible verse printed on an entrance sign or custom games or panels that reveal a scripture-based riddle. You can also use some of the natural elements in your space, such as by turning a large rock or boulder into a Holy Mountain.
- Provide Seating and Shade for Church Events
Chances are, you’ll be using your church playground for more than play time. This will also be a space that you’ll utilize for church events throughout the year. Therefore, you want to make it comfortable for adults, teachers and others. To do this, make sure that your playground design includes plenty of seating and a shade structure or shaded areas.
If you plan on having outdoor picnics or cookouts, you may also want to install picnic tables and outdoor grills at this time. However, you can always add these features later.
- Pick a Religious/Spiritual Theme
Sometimes, the best way to make a church playground unique is by choosing a religious theme right off the bat. As an example, you can take a boat themed playground and turn it into a Noah’s Ark theme. To flesh out your design, you could include animal bouncers for little kids, as well as ropes and nets for the older kids. This way, your park will be fun, inclusive and faith based.
- Accommodate Church Activities
If your church offers religious education classes or a youth program, you can expect your playground to be even more valuable. Teachers and leaders will use this space to create a sense of togetherness, expand on faith-based lessons and build social skills. Your church community will love having a fun, family-friendly place to stay active, socialize and learn.
Michele Breakfield is director of marketing for Cunningham Recreation, which has been providing commercial playground equipment and park products since 1966, www.cunninghamrec.com.