Playground Planning & Design

How often do outdoor play areas mushroom from "bright ideas" well meaning adults have had?

We can end up with a monument to the latest "fad" idea, with no thought to the needs of the children and adults who will use the play area today and in the future.

Indoor learning environments are planned diligently but often the outdoor area has developed as an under resourced afterthought and not planned to include optimum learning and creative opportunities


Barbara is passionate about Playground Planning and welcomes enquiries

Barbara Lingard | Senior Executive Environment Planning & Education | | Ph: 07 885 1016



The Central North Island Kindergarten Trust also offers consultancy services and workshops.
Please click here to view these services.


Playground Planning:  What we offer

A full playground planning service for Early Childhood Centres.

Barbara Lingard will plan your outdoor play environment to its fullest potential, catering for all areas of play, providing active learning opportunities for children of all ages and abilities. This playground environment will promote the overall development of young children while responding to their individual needs.

  • A site plan proposal drawn to scale.
  • A written report on your outdoor play area.
  • Areas to be covered include:
  • Sand
  • Movable Equipment
  • Swings
  • Free Space
  • Planting
  • Storage
  • Safety Standards

Barbara will bring with her, a comprehensive photograph display, specifications and information on safety regulations.

When reviewing your outdoor area:

Is there space for free running activities, group games, ball games, etc? Preferably a large grass area.

Are there physical challenges for all age groups and abilities?

Is the equipment versatile, can it be used for different types of activities and challenges?

Is the outdoor environment safe and easy to supervise? Does it comply with the NZ Safety Standards? Is there protection from the sun?

Do the play areas "connect" to one another, is there a flow of play or does the playground consist of lots of areas very separate from each other?

Is there sufficient storage space and is equipment easily accessible to children and adults?

Barbara will focus on:

  • How areas of outdoor play can link and flow.
  • How to make the best choice of areas of
  • development in small and large playgrounds.
  • The importance of each area of play.
  • Features to include in each area.
  • Safety Requirements.
  • Strategic Planning.
  • How to encourage creativity in the outdoor area by providing the most suitable resources and equipment.

Barbara's visit to your centre would include:

  • Time spent listening to what you want for the children attending your centre now and in the future.
  • A full environment scan of the outdoor area, observing flow of play and areas of play, how children and adults utilise the play space.
  • Discussion time to float ideas.
  • A plan drawn to scale.
  • A full written report including coloured photographs.

Barbara can also supply plans for structures such as swing frames and recommended specifications for other construction work.

Barbara also runs Playground Planning Workshops.

Barbara strongly believes that the outdoor learning environment is as important for the children's learning as the indoor learning environment.

There are many playgrounds that have been designed years ago, that are now below the required safety standards and that no longer meet the needs of the children using them.

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