NCEF Resource List: School Playgrounds
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Information on the planning and design of playgrounds for varying age levels, including resources on safety, accessibility, equipment, surfaces, and maintenance.

References to Books and Other Media

Societal Values and Policies May Curtail Preschool Children’s Physical Activity in Child Care Centers
Copeland, Kristen; Sherman, Susan; Kendeigh, Cassandra; Kalkwarf, Heidi; and Saelens, Brian
(Pediatrics, Jan 04, 2012)
Nine focus groups with 49 child care providers (55% African American) were assembled from 34 centers (inner-city, suburban, Head Start, and Montessori) in Cincinnati, Ohio. Three main barriers to children’s physical activity in child care were identified: (1) injury concerns, (2) financial, and (3) a focus on “academics.” Stricter licensing codes intended to reduce children's injuries on playgrounds rendered playgrounds less physically challenging and interesting. In addition, some parents concerned about potential injury, requested staff to restrict playground participation for their children. Small operating margins of most child care centers limited their ability to install abundant playground equipment. Child care providers felt pressure from state mandates and parents to focus on academics at the expense of gross motor play. Because children spend long hours in care and many lack a safe place to play near their home, these barriers may limit children's only opportunity to engage in physical activity. Societal priorities for young children—safety and school readiness—may be hindering children’s physical development. In designing environments that optimally promote children’s health and development, child advocates should think holistically about potential unintended consequences of policies. [Authors' abstract]

Children's Contact with the Outdoors and Nature: A Focus on Educators and Educational Settings Adobe PDF
(Children and Nature Network , 2012)
Compilation of articles and documents that synthesize the literature related to children’s contact with the outdoors and nature and, in many cases, highlight children’s contact as it relates to educational settings. Some articles investigate linkages between the design of children’s school environments, children’s outdoor and/or nature-related behavior, and their physical activity and weight. Some articles examine topics related to children’s outdoor spaces. 50p

How to Design a School Playground for Safety
Schreiner, Eric
(Ehow, 2012)
Summarizes how to design and maintain playgrounds with safety in mind. Discusses surfaces, equipment, siting, spacing structures, and more. 1p

Developing Great Schoolyards - A Handbook for Elementary Schools. Adobe PDF
(The 21st Century School Fund, Washington, D.C. and the Prince Charitable Trusts, Oct 2011)
Handbook explores outdoor spaces such as small athletic fields, vegetable gardens, and playgrounds that provide opportunities for physical challenges, exercise, sensory and fantasy play, organized sports and upsupervised free play. Features the District of Columbia public elementary schoolyards. Explains the qualities communities and parents should look for in schoolyards. Includes an assessment tool to rate your elementary schoolyard, and advice on how to plan and develop a quality schoolyard. 31p

Natural Environment Elevates the Learning Experience.
French, Jim; Contag, David; Sundharam, Premnath
(LandscapeOnline, Jun 2011)
DLR Group discusses ways that innovative and flexible outdoor spaces enhance the educational and social experience. Provides examples of patios, plazas, courtyards, amphitheaters, pathways, creative water and turf play environments, outdoor learning spaces, and outdoor dining. Includes case studies and photographs.

The Wheeler School. Providence, Rhode Island
Emperor, Jay
(, Jun 2011)
Case study of the campus landscape plan for the Wheeler School, founded in 1889, an independent co-educational K-12 day school in Providence, Rhode Island. The center campus comprises gathering space for upper school students; table seating/outdoor dining adjacent to the student union; open space for recreation and games; state-of-the-art play equipment; wood play structures; and a synthetic turf field for ball playing. Includes photographs.

Asphalt to Ecosystems: Design Ideas for Schoolyard Transformation.
Danks, Sharon
(New Village Press , Nov 2010)
Guidebook for designing and building natural schoolyard environments that enhance childhood learning and play experiences while providing connection with the natural world. Intended for parents, teachers, school administrators, designers, environmentalists, and community volunteers. Explores the ways in which landscape design, architecture, child development, and nutrition converge in the schoolyard. Profusely illustrated. 288p.

The School Site Planner. Adobe PDF
(North Carolina Dept. of Public Instruction, Raleigh , Feb 2010)
Addresses many factors that need consideration during the process of school site selection, planning, development, and use. The guide examines not only the site selection and planning processes, but also playground planning, recreation and athletic fields planning. Specific considerations include analyses of the surrounding community or territory; building access and security; the surrounding natural environment and available support services; landscaping, utilities, and vehicular traffic; and playground equipment and safety. Final sections provide athletic field layouts for track and field events; football, soccer, and baseball fields; and basketball, volleyball, and tennis courts. Fourteen references are included. 67p.

Programme Evaluation Summary Report for Schools. Adobe PDF
(Learning Through Landscapes, Winchester, Hampshire, United Kingdom , Mar 2009)
Reviews the work of the Royal Bank of Scotland's Supergrounds Program from its initiation in Sept 2004 through June 2010. The program gives grants to schools to improve their outdoor space and playgrounds. By the end of the Program's sixth year, 895 schools will have a new Supergrounds, giving 223,053 children access to improved outside spaces to learn and play. Over 7% of all schools in Scotland and 3% in England have received an Supergrounds award to date. The evaluations show that having a Supergrounds project increases the average time children spend learning and playing outside by 1 hour per week, per child. 13p.

Playground Injuries: Fact Sheet.
(Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA , Jan 19, 2009)
Briefly describes the more than 200,000 yearly playground related injuries in the United States. Statistics for types and severity of injuries, including deaths, are given, as well as costs, groups at risk, and risk factors. Includes four references. 2p.

Public Playground Safety Checklist
(U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, Washington, DC, 2009)
Each year, about 200,000 children are treated in U.S. hospital emergency rooms for playground equipment-related injuries - an estimated 148,000 of these injuries involve public playground equipment. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) offers consumers this simple checklist to make sure the public playground is a safe place to play.

Public Space Lessons: Designing and Planning for Play. Adobe PDF
(Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment, London, United Kingdom , Oct-Nov 2008)
Highlights a different approach to playground design from the commonplace bland playgrounds that rely on an identical KFC (kit, fence and carpet) approach to design. The report points out that local authorities need to stop relying on the catalogues of a small number of manufacturers who usually design the play spaces as well as produce the kit of parts. Natural play design, which uses landform and vegetation as well as elements such as wood and stone, encourages imaginative play. A natural environment often makes it easier for children of different ages and abilities to play together. Play spaces should also allow children to take risks to learn their boundaries. The report also recommends specially designed artworks for play spaces instead of standard equipment to offer better play value and to impart every space with a strong local identity. This can be achieved through participatory design to develop distinctive designs by working with children, local craftspeople and local materials. 8p.

Public Playground Safety Handbook. Adobe PDF
(U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, Bethesda, MD , Apr 2008)
Presents guidelines for equipment safety on public playgrounds. The guidelines cover site selection, layout, equipment selection, surfacing, equipment materials, playground hazards, maintenance, and ancillary parts such as platforms, guardrails, barriers, and access methods. Appendices offer maintenance and safety testing checklists. 55p.

The Dirty Dozen Checklist. Adobe PDF
(4-C for Kids, Louisville, KY , 2008)
Describes twelve hazards that may be found on playgrounds, in the areas of surfacing, fall zones, dangerous equipment features and spacing, lack of maintenance, guardrails, and equipment not suitable for playgrounds. 3p.

Toxic Playgrounds: Arsenic Treated Wood and Artificial Turf.
(Healthy School Network, Albany, NY , 2008)
Advises on the potential presence of the pesticide/fungicide Chromated Copper Arsenate (CCA) in wood used to construct playgrounds. The chemical can leach from the wood and be absorbed through the skin. Potential threats from artificial turf are also discussed, as are general tips for safer playgrounds. Nine additional resources concerning safety and alternative products are provided. 5p.

Natural Playscapes: Creating Outdoor Play Environments for the Soul.
Keeler, Rusty
(Exchange Press , 2008)
500 color photographs and illustrations of extraordinary outdoor places for young children, where the entire space is filled with art, hills, pathways, trees, herbs, open areas, sand, water, and music, and where children find places to run, climb, dig, pretend, and hide, and the chance to bellow or be silent. 316p

Schoolyard Planning and Design in New Jersey Enhancing Outdoor Play and Learning. Adobe PDF
(New Jersey Institute of Technology, Center for Architecture and Building Science Research, New Jersey School OUtdoor Area Working Group , Aug 25, 2007)
Discusses the current state of New Jersey schoolyards and the importance of quality schoolyards for play, teaching, and community use. Five recommended strategies for creating more effective schoolyards are included, as is advice on the planning and design process, area and functional requirements, accessibility, parking, costs, and equipment. 25p.

Play Area Accessibility Online Training
(U. S. Access Board, 2007)
Offers web-based instruction on the Access Board’s accessibility guidelines for play areas. The interactive program explains how to apply and follow the guidelines for proper access. It covers the scope and application of the guidelines, including the number of play components required to be accessible, and technical provisions for accessible play equipment, surfacing in play areas, ramp and transfer system access to elevated structures, and access to soft contained play structures. The course covers all sections of the guidelines and provides multiple choice exams for each segment of the program.

S.A.F.E. Surfaces. [video]
(National Program for Playground Safety, Cedar Falls, IA, 2007)
This video describes how to select the proper safety surfacing for playgrounds. It outlines criteria to ensure that surfaces under and around equipment are appropriate. It discusses the Consumer Product Safety Commission guidelines and American Society for Testing and Materials standards.

Kindergartens, Schools and Playgrounds.
Canizares, Ana; Fajardo, Julio, eds.
(Loft Publications, Barcelona, Spain , 2007)
Presents an international collection of recently built school facilities selected for their successful learning environments, promotion of togetherness and the exchange of ideas, and community use. The buildings all attempt to maximize energy savings, natural light, and ventilation. Each example is richly illustrated with plans and photographs. 255p.

S.A.F.E. Play Areas: Creation, Maintenance, and Renovation.
Thompson, Donna; Hudson, Susan; Olsen, Heather
(Human Kinetics, Champaign, IL , 2007)
Focuses on the four components of supervision, age-appropriate design, fall surfacing, and equipment maintenance for playgrounds. For each component, the authors first examine the research to show why it is a critical part of safety. They explain how to put that knowledge to practical use. The book also explores the history of playground safety and debunks 10 common myths about what makes a good or safe play area. Also included is a CD-ROM that offers a presentation package of slides for use as a short course in playground supervision, design, surfacing, and equipment maintenance. 240p.

Removing or Sealing CCA-Treated Wood Products. Adobe PDF
(North Carolina Dept. of Public Instruction, Raleigh , Nov 08, 2006)
Advises on how to recognize, remove, replace, and seal arsenic-treated wood found at school playgrounds. 2p.

Unified Facilities Guide Specifications: Playground Equipment. Adobe PDF
(U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Washington, DC , Apr 2006)
Offers a sample specification for the furnishing and installing manufactured playground equipment in children's outdoor play areas. 26p.
Report NO: UFGS-11 68 13

Unified Facilities Guide Specifications: Playground Protective Surfacing. Adobe PDF
(U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Washington, DC , Apr 2006)
Offers a sample specification for furnishing and installing protective surfacing in children's outdoor play areas. 27p.
Report NO: UFGS-32 18 16.13

America's Playground: Safety Report Card.
(University of Northern Iowa, National Program for Playground Safety, Cedar Falls , 2006)
Presents a scoring system to help determine playground safety in terms of supervision, age-appropriate design, fall surfacing, and equipment maintenance. 1p.

Designing Schoolyards and Building Community. Adobe PDF
(Boston Schoolyard Initiative, MA , 2006)
Reviews the work of the Boston Schoolyard Initiative, which has worked to transform the city's typically paved and uninviting schoolyards into centers for learning and life. It accomplishes this through a public/private partnership that promotes sustainable development, experiential education, open space stewardship, and enlightened public policy. The Initiative creates recreational centers for the community and sets an example for schoolyard development that can be replicated elsewhere. 20p.

Great Kids' Spaces.
Rojals, Marta
(Links International , 2006)
Kids are tough and demanding, and their spaces must be safe but not boring, stimulating but not overwhelming, playful but age-appropriate. This guide to the design of playgrounds, day-care centers, and indoor playspaces includes hundreds of pictures and diagrams illustrating some of the most innovative and architecturally inspired kids’ design from around the world. 304p.

Designing Outdoor Environments for Children: Landscaping School Yards, Gardens and Playgrounds.
Tai, Lolly
(McGraw-Hill Professional, 2006)
Details the history, design process, installation, and maintenance of sustainable children's landscapes and play yards. Numerous case studies cover projects including storybook courtyards, music and barnyard gardens, nature trails, wildlife habitats, memorial, and edible gardens. 380p.

Accessible Play Areas: A Summary of Accessibility Guidelines for Play Areas. Adobe PDF
(U.S. Access Board, Washington, DC , Oct 2005)
Assists designers and operators in using federal accessibility guidelines for play areas by establishing minimum accessibility requirements for newly constructed and altered play areas. It provides specifications for elements within a play area to create a general level of usability for children with disabilities. Emphasis is placed on ensuring that children with disabilities are generally able to access the diversity of components provided in a play area, with consideration to layout, circulation paths, and the selection of play components. The guidelines also address the balance of costs, safety, and accessibility. 40p.

Creating Playgrounds for Early Childhood Facilities. Community Investment Collaborative for Kids Resource Guide Volume 4.
(Local Initiatives Support Corporation, Community Investment Collaborative for Kids, New York, NY , Jun 2005)
Assists with planning an early childhood center s outdoor space to achieve a successful environment for young children. It begins by considering the types of activities that children enjoy outdoors, matching these with milestones in childhood motor development. Equipment and materials that support each of the activities are suggested, along their pros, cons, and advice on purchasing. 19p.

America’s Playgrounds Safety Report Card 2004. Adobe PDF
(National Program for Playground Safety, University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, IA , 2005)
America’s school playgrounds received a C+ for safety in the latest survey by NPPS. 2p.

Playground Safety Manual. Adobe PDF
(Manitoba Association of School Trustees, Winnipeg , 2005)
Provides guidance for developing playgrounds, including site and user evaluation. Types of playgrounds are defined, followed by recommendations for play apparatus safety, materials, finishes, surfacing, and landscaping. Guidance for playground construction site safety, evaluation, and inspection is included. 13p.

Planning Playgrounds and Athletics Facilities.
Hill, Franklin
(, Orange, CA , 2005)
Provides examples of typical problems encountered when school playgrounds and athletic fields are planned after the buildings, rather than as part of the educational specifications process. This oversight can lead to poor service to the educational program, depreciated safety of students, and lost opportunities for community use. Examples and recommondations are organized by high school, middle school, and elementary school considerations. 3p.

American Playgrounds: Revitalizing Community Space.
Solomon, Susan
(University Press of New England, Lebanon, NH , 2005)
Appraises successful innovative playgrounds designed by notable landscape architects and proposes ideas that blend excellent design principles, innovative planning, and affordability to create a vision for the future of the playground in America. A discussion of the history of the last 100 years of playground design is followed by case studies illustrating enlightened patronage, successful design strategies, variations on the traditional playground model, and the author s propose remedies for legal, site, affordability, and cultural issues surrounding playground design. 251p.
TO ORDER: One Court St., Lebanon, NH 03766

Unified Facilities Criteria. Children's Outdoor Play Areas. Adobe PDF
(U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Air Force Civil Engineer Support Agency; Washington, DC , Jan 2004)
Advises in the planning and design of unsupervised outdoor play areas at military installations to meet child safety and child development requirements. It recommends site layouts, design, and equipment for play lots for age groups 6 weeks to 5 years or 5 to 9 years, neighborhood parks serving ages 9 to 15 years, and community parks serving all age groups. 95p.
Report NO: UFC 3-210-04

How to Protect Your Children from Arsenic-Treated Wood at School, Child Care or Preschool: A Safety Checklist for Parents.
(Center for Environmental Health, Safe Playgrounds Project, Oakland, CA , 2004)
Offers a checklist to determine if a school playground s wood components are arsenic treated, and if so, what the remediation plan is, and what to do if the school administration is unresponsive. 2p.

School Grounds Literature Review. Adobe PDF
Casey, Theresa
(Learning Through Landscapes, Winchester, Hampshire, United Kingdom , Mar 2003)
Discusses school grounds in an overview; examination of the break time use of school grounds, including the social value of break time, tradition and culture in the playground, inclusion, supervision, trends and concerns; recommendations for change and school grounds including: the case for change, outdoor learning, and play spaces; and the current planning, programming and policy contexts. Includes 85 references. 29p.

Developing Accessible Play Space: A Good Practice Guide. Adobe PDF
(Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, London, United Kingdom , 2003)
Presents practical solutions to creating accessible playgrounds, often with ease and at low cost. Examples are based on existing good practice and consultation with disabled children, their parents and caregivers, equipment manufacturers, and government officials. Chapters are arranged according to the way the process typically proceeds: Understanding the Issues, Getting Started, Consulting and Engaging with Disabled Children and their Families, Inclusion by Design, and Moving Forward. 71p.

Playgrounds and Arsenic Wood. Adobe PDF
(Healthy Schools Network, Inc., Albany, NY, 2003)
This guide offers some facts about Chromated Copper Arsenate (CCA) treated lumber used in playgrounds, the New York State Law, and resources for further information. 2 p.

Where Do Our Children Play? The Importance and Design of Schoolyards.
Iltus, Selim; Steinhagen, Renee
(New Jersey Appleseed Public Interest Law Center, Newark, NJ , 2003)
The construction of new school facilities throughout New Jersey creates an enormous opportunity to address the need for outdoor facilities in New Jersey's poorest districts. This document summarizes some of the most relevant research on the need for outdoor educational facilities. It provides design guidelines for outdoor spaces for both preschool and elementary schools, and basic principles for design of outdoor facilities for athletics and environmental education for middle and high school students. 74p.
TO ORDER: New Jersey Appleseed Public Interest Law Center, 744 Broad Street, Suite 1600, Newark, NJ 07102. Tel: 973-735-0523.

Playing it Safe: The Sixth Nationwide Safety Survey of Public Playgrounds. Adobe PDF
Weintraub, Rachel; Cassady, Alison
(Consumer Federation of America, Washington, DC , Jun 20, 2002)
The sixth nationwide investigation of public playgrounds by the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) and the State Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGs) found that a majority of U.S. playgrounds pose hidden threats to youngsters. From March-May 2002, the State PIRGs and other CFA member organizations investigated 1,037 playgrounds in 36 states (Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin) and Washington, DC, to determine the current safety conditions of public playgrounds. The survey gathered data on falls, fall zones, equipment height, swings, head entrapment hazards, entanglement hazards, hazardous equipment, chipping or peeling paint, and pressure-treated wood, as well as on local and state activity in the area of playground regulations and community advocacy. Overall, this year's survey shows improvements, in particular a continued decline in the number of playgrounds with hard surfaces under and around all play equipment. (Appendices contain the survey, a parent checklist for playground safety, and state survey results.) 33p.

Questions and Answers CCA-Treated Wood.
(U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, Washington, DC, Feb 2002)
Discusses safety issues concerning the use of CCA, chromated copper arsenate, a chemical preservative that is used to protect wood from being destroyed by microbes and insects, on outdoor playground equipment. Children's risk from exposure to arsenic is discussed, as well as CCA manufacturers' voluntary withdrawal of this preservative from the market in February 2002. 4p.

F1487-01e1 Standard Consumer Safety Performance Specification for Playground Equipment for Public Use
(ASTM International, West Conshohocken, PA, 2002)
This consumer safety performance specification provides safety and performance standards for various types of public playground equipment. Its purpose is to reduce life-threatening and debilitating injuries. The age range covered by this specification is from two to twelve years old. Home playground equipment, amusement park equipment, sports equipment, fitness equipment intended for user over the age of twelve are not included in this specification. 56p.

The Community-Build Playground Manual.
(Kaboom, Washington, DC , 2002)
Guides community organizers as they plan, prepare and construct community-built playgrounds. It advises on how to overcome organizational obstacles such as time management, how to run meetings, and problem solving. Workbooks for recruitment, construction, fundraising, children's, and public relations teams are included. 416p.

Poisoned Playgrounds: Arsenic in 'Pressure-Treated' Wood.
Sharp, Renee; Walker, Bill
(Environmental Working Group, Washington, DC , May 2001)
This study of 180 pressure-treated wood samples shows that treated wood is a much greater source of arsenic exposure for children than arsenic-contaminated drinking water. The report determines that an average five-year-old, playing less than two weeks on a chromated- copper-arsenate-treated (CCA) wood play set would exceed the lifetime cancer risk considered acceptable under federal pesticide law. The report’s final chapter presents study conclusions and recommendations. An appendix presents a summary of data for surface arsenic levels of CCA wood and soil beneath treated wood structures. 19p.
TO ORDER: Environmental Working Group, Suite 600, 1718 Connecticut Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC; Tel: 202-667-6982

Access to Play Areas.
(National Center on Accessibility, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN , 2001)
This publication is designed to assist park and recreation professionals, designers, and consumers in creating inclusive play environments for children with and without disabilities. Includes frequently asked questions and answers.

Kindergarten Architecture.
(Gingko Press, Inc., Corte Madera, CA , 2001)
This book presents 22 preschool buildings from all over the world, selected on the basis of how well they approximate an ideal preschool where children and educators live harmoniously in exceptional settings. The projects also include technological innovations (experimental materials, specific construction details) and visible ecological installations, such as energy savings through the use of solar panels, tanks for rainwater collection, or recycling of materials. Each building description contains several color photographs. (An appendix discusses children's playgrounds.) 192p.
TO ORDER: Gingko Press, Inc., 5768 Paradise Dr., Suite J, Corte Madera, CA 94925. Tel: 415-924-9615; Fax: 415-924-9608;

Child's Play: An Empirical Study of the Relationship between the Physical Form of Schoolyards and Children's Behavior. Adobe PDF
Fisman, Lianne
(Yale University, New Haven, CT , 2001)
Reviews existing literature on the importance of nature experiences in child development. Also described is an exploratory study performed with two Connecticut third grade classes to assess the way children utilize the playgrounds, whether or not there is a difference in the behaviors of pupils with differing "popularity," the types of playground spaces and amenities different groups of children desire, and to lay a foundation for studies of the efficacy of playground designs in promoting social integration. Includes 45 references. 44p.

U.S. Access Board, Play Area Guidelines. Adobe PDF
(U.S. Access Board, Washington, DC , Oct 18, 2000)
The Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board has issued guidelines to serve as the basis for enforceable standards to be adopted by the Department of Justice for new construction and alterations of play areas covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act. The guidelines include scoping and technical provisions for ground level and elevated play components, accessible routes, ramps and transfer systems, ground surfaces, and soft contained play structures. Included is an amendment, dated November 20, 2000, which clarifies a potential "double-counting" problem involving the minimum number of ground and elevated level play components that must be located on an accessible route. Also included are tables of equipment and ground surface costs, typical maintenance frequencies and costs, and the number of small entities affected by the guidelines. 33p.

Final Accessibility Guidelines for Play Areas: Economic Assessment. Adobe PDF
(U.S. Access Board, Washington, DC , Oct 2000)
Discusses and quantifies costs and benefits of the final accessibility guidelines for play areas issued by the Access Board. The guidelines are intended to provide minimum accessibility requirements for play areas designed for children ages two and over. The guidelines will affect children with disabilities, their parents, and owners and operators of play areas. The guidelines apply only to newly designed and newly constructed play areas and existing play areas that are altered. All newly designed, constructed and altered play areas must comply with the guidelines. 54p.

Playing It Safe: June 2000. A Fifth Nationwide Safety Survey of Public Playgrounds. Adobe PDF
Fise, Mary Ellen; Morrison, Melanie L.; Weintraub, Rachel
(Consumer Federation of America, Washington, DC.;U.S. Public Interest Research Group, Washington, DC. , Jun 2000)
This paper presents data concerning public playgrounds that shows a majority of American playgrounds pose hidden threats to children. It reveals that 1) 80 percent of the 1,024 playgrounds surveyed lacked adequate protective surfacing; 2) 31 percent of slides and climbing equipment surveyed did not have an adequate fall zone; 4) 48 percent of playgrounds had climbers and 36 percent had slides where height of the play equipment is greater than 6 feet; 5) 13 percent of playgrounds with swings had swing seats that are made of wood, metal, or other rigid material that increases injury severity; 6) 27 percent of playgrounds with swings had some swings that were either too close together or too close to swing supports; 7) 34 percent of playgrounds improperly sized openings in the play equipment posing a head entrapment threat; 8) 38 percent of playgrounds had small gaps, open S-hooks and other protrusions posing clothing entanglement threats; 9) 38 percent of playgrounds had unacceptable dangerous equipment, such as chain or cable walks and animal swings; and 10) 47 percent of all playgrounds had peeling, chipped, or cracking paints on equipment surfaces. Recommended corrective actions are offered. 20p.

Playground Surfacing Materials
(U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, Washington, DC, 2000)
The surface under and around playground equipment can be a major factor in determining the injury-causing potential of a fall. This discusses the determination of the shock absorbency of a surfacing material; critical height; highest accessible part of equipment; accessibility to the disabled; acceptability of various surfacing materials; and other characteristics of surfacing materials.
Report NO: USCP Document #1005

Design Standards for Children's Environments.
Ruth, Linda Cain
(McGraw-Hill, New York, NY , 2000)
This 3-part book addresses the design or maintenance of spaces where children are the primary users covering both commercial and residential designs and products. Part I chapters provide anthropometric data of children from birth to age 18, offers dimensions for typical objects within the child's built environment; synthesizes the Consumer Product Safety Commission's safety guidelines for play areas; and provides dimensions of typical, and sometimes untypical, products that are often found in children's environments. Part II features a source list developed for designers that lists products appropriate for use in children's environments. Part III chapters outline the development of children's abilities and perceptions in the first stages of life from birth to age 10, and offers a bibliography of the most effective and highly regarded resources in the area of children's design. 306p.

Creating Playgrounds Kids Love.
Stoecklin, Vicki
(White Hutchinson Leisure & Learning Group, Kansas City, MO , 2000)
Advocates natural play gardens for children, stressing their benefits to learning and development. Design features which encourage exploration and discovery are described. 5p.

Playing in Place: Why the Physical Environment is Important in Playwork.
Cosco, Nilda; Moore, Robin
(14th Playeducation Annual Play and Human Development Meeting: Theoretical Playwork. Ely, Cambridgeshire, UK , Jan 26, 1999)
The aim of this paper is to set down some of the theoretical dimensions of the physical environment to encourage playworkers to consider space and its content as a versatile, valuable support in playwork practice. An inviting sense of place allows children to express themselves, to interact and unfold their curiosity for the external world, including relations with the people around them. Place-enhancing processes, activated through play, help elaborate the place beyond the confines of everyday life, providing children with a sense of belonging, identity, and ownership–the culture of the place. The body (our personal, most private space) has a very dynamic relationship to external space that is so commonplace we often gloss over it. As we discover the body-in-space, the body-in-time appears as the companion, helping to complete the totality of body skills. The richer and more diverse the world is, the greater likelihood that places acquire anima locii. Regarding the potential play value of a diverse, changeable physical environment, one could say that a play program can only be as good as its physical environment and the playworkers’ skill in managing it to maximize the programming potential with the children. [Authors' abstract]

Early Childhood Special Education for Children with Disabilities, Ages Three through Five: Staff/Facilities. Revised. Adobe PDF
(North Dakota Dept. of Public Instruction, Dept. of Special Education, Bismarck, ND , 1999)
This document presents requirements related to staff and facilities providing early childhood special education services in North Dakota. Teacher qualifications are stated and staffing patterns involving teachers, related services personnel, paraeducators, and volunteers are described. A section on administrative considerations provides additional standards and guidelines for classroom facilities (especially accessibility options), safety standards, playground facilities, emergency precautions, interagency collaboration, transportation, funding, evaluation, and technology-based options. 14p.

Fun and Safe: A Playground Guide for Parents and Others Who Care about Kids Safety.
(Consumer Federation of America Foundation, Washington, DC , 1999)
There is a high rate of children's injuries on America's playgrounds. This report examines this issue and provides guidance on how to make playgrounds safer, more fun for children, and procedures for performing an initial analysis of the safety of a local playground using a playground safety checklist. Additionally, it provides a step-by-step guide for conducting a campaign to successfully change playgrounds found to be dangerous.
TO ORDER: CFA Publications, 1424 16th Street, NW, Suite 604, Washington, DC 20036-2211

Play for All
Moore, Robin C.; Goltsman, Susan M.
(MIG Communications, Berkeley, CA , 1999)
A CD-ROM provides a tour of some of the world's greatest play environments, presenting 94 photographic images that illustrate the key concepts and recommendations from Play For All guidelines. It is organized into 10 categories covering a range of play area settings, including play equipment, sand settings, water settings, play props, and animal habitats.
TO ORDER: MIG Communications, 1802 Fifth St., Berkeley, CA 94710; Tel: 510-845-0953

Let's Go Outside: Designing the Early Childhood Playground
Theemes, Tracy
(High/Scope Press, Ypsilanti, MI , 1999)
Outdoor play is commonly believed to be an important form of play for young children. This shows how to design, equip, and maintain safe yet challenging playgrounds. The chapters are: (1) "Why Playgrounds?" exploring the elements and value of outdoor play and safety versus challenge; (2) "Developmental Characteristics of Young Children," including physical, emotional, social, and cognitive development, and sensory experiences outdoors; (3) "Playground Design," including analyzing children's outdoor play patterns and needs, and assessing the outdoor environment and planning the layout; (4) "Furnishing the Outdoor Classroom," including stationary structures and loose, manipulative materials; (5) "Safety," including standards and guidelines; (6) "Supporting Children's Outdoor Play: The Adult's Role," outlining specific strategies; and (7) "Playground Assessment Case Study," including the surrounding community and recommendations. Seven appendices include observation records, inspection and incident report forms, and a list of toxic and nontoxic vegetation. (Contains 40 references.) 144p.
TO ORDER: High/Scope Educational Research Foundation, 600 North River Street, Ypsilanti, MI 49198-2898; Tel: 734-482-6660, Toll free: 800-407-7377

Playing It Safe: A Fourth Nationwide Safety Survey of Public Playgrounds
(Consumer Federation of America, Washington, DC.; U.S. Public Interest Research Group, Washington, DC , 1998)
A nationwide survey investigated public playgrounds and found that a majority of America's playgrounds pose hidden threats to children. Focusing on playground hazards, the survey reports that 87 percent of the 760 surveyed lacked adequate protective surfacing; 40 percent of slides and climbing equipment did not have adequate fall zones; 62 percent of playgrounds had climbers and 37 percent had slides where the height of the play equipment is greater than 6 feet high; 12 percent of playgrounds with swings had swing seats that are made of wood, metal, or other rigid material; 58 percent of playgrounds contained swings either too close together or to swing supports; 42 percent of playgrounds had play equipment that posed threats for head entrapment; 40 percent of playgrounds had clothing entanglement hazards; and 43 percent of playgrounds had other unacceptably dangerous equipment. The survey also reports playground improvements made over the past few years to better safeguard kids such as less use of hard surfaces under playground equipment.

Report and Model Law on Public Play Equipment and Areas. Third Edition.
Morrison, Melaine L.; Fise, Mary Ellen
(Consumer Federation of America Foundation, Washington, DC , 1998)
This updated document provides safety and design criteria in the form of model law provisions that can be used by those responsible for playground development. It reports on injury data which establish common injury scenarios for both younger and older children; and discusses critical developmental issues that affect playground safety, including how children's capabilities and limitations at different ages relate to their play and injury patterns. Additionally provided are the requirements applicable to all play areas and equipment for children age 2 through 5 years and 5 through 12 years. Final sections of the report presents a discussion of playgrounds and compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and lists references and major sources of playground safety information and available resources. Appendices include Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) Safety Alert and CPSC Notices of Recalls, and a revised Consumer Federation of America Parent Checklist itemizing the 12 common hazards that parents and others can use to check the safety of their local playgrounds.
TO ORDER: CFA Publications, 1424 16th Street, NW, Suite 604, Washington, DC 20036-2211; Tel: 202-387-6121

Regulatory Negotiation Committee on Accessibility Guidelines for Play Facilities. Final Report. Adobe PDF
(Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board, Washington, DC , Jul 1997)
Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board is responsible for developing accessibility guidelines under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, including play facilities. This report provides a section-by-section analysis of the proposed guidelines, and exceptions, for play areas. Guidelines include ground and elevated level play components; accessible routes; clear width and height; ramps, handrails, and transfer systems; maneuvering space; reach ranges; accessible surfaces; and soft-contained play structures. Definitions of play area terms conclude the report. 20p.

Handbook for Public Playground Safety Adobe PDF
(Consumer Product Safety Commission, Washington, DC , 1997)
This handbook includes technical safety guidelines for designing, constructing, operating, and maintaining public playgrounds. It also includes a "Public Playground Safety Checklist" to highlight some of the most important safety issues for parents and community groups. The handbook covers such topics as surfacing, use zones for equipment; installation and maintenance of equipment; materials of manufacture and construction; platforms, guardrails, and protective barriers. Additionally, it addresses safety issues concerning major types of playground equipment such as climbing equipment, merry-go-rounds, seesaws, slides, swings, and trampolines. Appendices include entrapment recommendations and test methods, characteristics of surfacing materials, and a description of loose-fill surfacing materials. 42p.
Report NO: CPSC-325

Design for Outdoor Recreation.
Bell, Simon
(E&FN Spon, London , 1997)
Offers design guidelines for outdoor recreation facilities and provides numerous examples. Chapter 8, "Children's Play," provides playground information pertinent to school facilities and those planning for children with disabilities. 218p.

Safety First Checklist: Audit & Inspection Program for Childrens Play Areas. Second Edition.
McIntyre, Sally; Goltsman, Susan M.
(National Recreation and Park Association, Ashburn, VA , 1997)
This includes a complete set of checklist forms to inspect the site, play equipment, and safety surfacing of children's play areas. Includes ASTM guidelines and CPSC guidelines; audits and annual, periodic, and daily inspections forms; and expanded definitions and inspection procedures. This addresses both preschool and school-age play areas. 128p.
Report NO: ISBN-0-944661-19-X

Designing Landscapes for Learning: Transforming School Grounds Into "Special Places". Adobe PDF
Stine, Sharon
(American Society of Landscape Architects Annual Meeting Proceedings, Washington, DC , 1997)
Research on playground design in Japan and England offers challenges to the logic behind how playgrounds in the United States are designed. This paper presents observations of outdoor environments for children and youth in Japan and England where the space is not only useful and safe but also contributes to learning and play that reflects the regional and cultural elements of the surrounding community. It describes the educational, aesthetic, and environmental values embodied in these playgrounds and discusses the implications for school-ground design in the United States. Observations from both countries reveal a close connection between the inside and outside areas in playground design, but also show a very different attitude towards child privacy and socialization needs. 7p.

Understanding the Design Process for Outdoor Play & Learning Environments
Stoecklin, Vicki L.
(White Hutchinson Leisure & Learning Group, Kansas City, MO, 1997)
This piece provides guidance to those who will be working with design professionals to create outdoor learning environments. The components of a design proposal are listed and explained and recommendations for the composition of a design team are provided. Information is intended to help site owners become better clients. 3p.

Children's Outdoor Play & Learning Environments: Returning to Nature
White, Randy; Stoecklin, Vicki L.
(White Hutchinson Leisure and Learning Group, Kansas City, MO , 1997)
Why typical playgrounds are designed the way they are by adults is discussed, including what the ideal outdoor play/learning environment for children is and how the outdoor space should be considered as an extension of the classroom. The paper emphasizes the importance of nature to children, discusses the criteria playground designers should possess, and explains why it is essential for the design process to include input from children, teachers, parents, and maintenance staff. 7p.

How Can We Provide Safe Playgrounds? Adobe PDF
(ERIC Clearinghouse on Teacher and Teaching Education , 1996)
Outdoor playgrounds can be exciting places where children explore their environment while developing motor and social skills; however, they also can pose serious safety hazards. This brochure discusses common playground hazards and recommends actions that parents and others can take to increase playground safety. 17p

Play it Safe: An Anthology of Playground Safety
Christiansen, Monty L.; Vogelsong, Hans
(National Playground Safety Institute, 1996)
This is a collection of eighteen monographs providing a comprehensive study of children's play and playgrounds. Themes covered are planning playgrounds; playgrounds and liability; and history of playgrounds. 310p.

Accessible and Safe Playgrounds Into Every Town, U.S.A. Adobe PDF
Kienitz, E. Malle; Kent, Robert L.
( American Society of Landscape Architects, Annual Meeting Proceedings , 1996)
Landscape architects, playground manufacturers, and the federal government have all developed guidelines for accessible, safe play landscapes. This paper examines the difficulties in meeting these guidelines due to two main obstacles: ignorance of access needs and the perception that accessibility is expensive. It suggests that landscape architects have the skills to design access at a reasonable cost because they can evaluate sites for their potential advantages and drawbacks. The paper argues for playground layouts that allow handicapped and able-bodied children to play together. Concluding comments briefly address the needs for other playground components that include water, shade, and areas for supervising adults. Line drawings of two playground design concepts are included. (Contains 16 references and 7 notes.) p.136-140

The Challenge of the Urban School Site Adobe PDF
Martin, Deborah, Ed.; Lucas, Bill, Ed.; Titman, Wendy, Ed.; Hayward, Siobhan, Ed.
(Learning Through Landscape Trust, Winchester, England , 1996)
This guidebook provides information on improving urban school grounds to enhance children's lives. Chapters provide the experiences from other schools on the topics of greening the urban school grounds; the multi-cultural aspects of developing urban school grounds; organization of limited space; issues involving seating, shelter, and raised structures; and playground art. The unique difficulties involved in secondary school ground development are addressed in the areas of curriculum linkage, social needs, and the management and organization of change. Additionally discussed are areas of special consideration in urban school grounds development, such as vandalism prevention, school security, tarmac removal, and new surface installation. Resource information is provided along with a list of schools and their locations which have created winning grounds development schemes. 110p.

Points About Playgrounds
Christiansen, Monty L.
(National Playground Safety Institute, National Recreation and Parks Association, Ashburn, VA, 1995)
This has information, resources, and recommended techniques needed to inspect and evaluate old as well as new public playgrounds. It includes a fully indexed edition of the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) public playground guidelines. Special emphasis is placed on recommendations for pre-school playground development when they differ from those for school-age children. Points About Playgrounds compares the 1981 CPSC guidelines to the 1991 guidelines in easy chart form for quick reference. It provides step-by-step techniques to inspect and evaluate any playground, regardless of type and age of equipment now installed. 238p.

Creating Environments for Young Children. Adobe PDF
Sanoff, Henry
(North Carolina State Univ., School of Design, Raleigh , 1995)
The planning and design of child care centers has been undertaken without sufficient knowledge of children's spatial behavior, resulting in centers not providing appropriate physical conditions for young children's developmental needs. This workbook contains exercises and other learning materials for young students that follow principles of good design in the following units: (1) "Goal Setting"; (2) "What Is a Learning Environment," including components of a learning center, along with how to create and rate learning centers; (3) "Playroom Design Principles," focusing on light and color, planning, and modeling the playroom; (4) "Building Image"; (5) "Planning the Facility"; and (6) "Planning Outdoor Play," including play zones, planning outdoor play (POP), playground safety, playground document scale, and mapping children's behavior. 124p.

Special Places; Special People: The Hidden Curriculum of School Grounds. Adobe PDF
Titman, Wendy
(World Wide Fund for Nature, Surrey, England; Learning through Landscape Trust, Winchester, England , 1994)
The research project, Special Places; Special People, is designed to provide insight and advice in the management of schools and their grounds for the benefit of children. This document describes the project's research methodology and findings, explores some of the wider implications arising from the study, and suggests ways in which schools might embark upon effecting change. Research findings are discussed on how children read the external environment and school grounds. Issues arising from these findings examine the importance of school grounds to children in a modern society, the messages school grounds convey about the ethos of schools, and children's attitudes and behavior that are determined by the school grounds and the way they are managed. 140p.

The Complete Playground Book
Brett, Arlene; et al
(Syracuse University Press, Syracuse, NY , 1993)
This book examines the history and purpose of outdoor play areas. Chapter 1 of the book discusses the importance of play in children's lives and the role of playgrounds in the play process. The historical development and evolution of playgrounds is recounted in chapter 2, while chapter 3 reviews research on playgrounds, including research concerning gender differences, playground equipment, preschoolers' motor activities, exceptional children's playground behaviors, aggression, and parents' and teachers' attitudes about play. Chapter 4 is an international survey of innovative playgrounds. Chapter 5 considers issues relevant to playground use by exceptional children, including mentally retarded children, emotionally disturbed children, and visually and hearing impaired children. Chapter 6 reviews research on and offers suggestions concerning playground construction and safety, while ways in which playgrounds can be used as part of nonformal and formal education are outlined in chapter 7. Chapter 8 explores the potential of playgrounds to improve the impact of education on the development of children and to extend the experience of inner-city children. 192p.
TO ORDER: Syracuse University Press, 1600 Jamesville Avenue, Syracuse, NY 13244-5160.

Universal Playground Design. Adobe PDF
Ensign, Arselia, Ed.
(PAM Assistance Centre, Lansing, MI , 1993)
This publication presents principles of universal playgrounds, designed to maximize accessibility for all children. First, the rationale for the universal playground is given. Next, current guidelines for playground design are discussed including safety, accessibility, developmental issues, social/emotional development, intellectual development, sensory development, perceptual-motor development, physical development, and age factors. Playground adaptations to improve accessibility are considered for site development, parking and curbs, walkways, and surface treatments. Playground layout is then considered in some detail including standards for equipment clearance, traffic patterns, practical aesthetics, maintenance, and possible equipment. Sample layouts, a planning survey form, a universal playground action plan checklist, and a list of 10 additional resources complete the publication.

Playground Development Guidelines for School Systems. Adobe PDF
Frost, Joe L.
Although the value of play in child development has been questioned in the past, it is now widely accepted that high-quality play environments and time for play are essential in the educational and developmental program for young children. Each school needs a master plan for developing school playgrounds: a plan that pays special attention to site features, the age groups to be served, the number of children, and the children's special needs. Selecting playground equipment is also an important task. The school system administration should assume all responsibility for approving playground site plans and purchasing and installing playground equipment. Once playgrounds are open, the equipment should have constant, systematic inspection and maintenance. All teachers, custodial personnel, and maintenance personnel should receive annual training on playground maintenance.

Play for All Guidelines: Planning, Design, and Management of Outdoor Play Settings for All Children. Second Edition.
Moore, Robin C., Ed.; Goltsman, Susan M., Ed.; Iacofano, Daniel S., Ed.
(MIG Communications, Berkeley, CA. , 1992)
These guidelines assist professional designers, park and recreation managers, and community groups when making decisions about the planning, design, and ongoing management of children s public play environments. The guidelines are updated to meet or exceed the requirements of the Americans With Disabilities Act Guidelines (July 26, 1991) and the revised Consumer Product Safety Commission guidelines (1991). The first two of four parts cover site planning and design, and setting design and management. Part 3 examines the Play For All guidelines being used to help rebuild a public playground with emphasis on improving accessibility and providing amenities for all people. Finally, Part 4 provides an overview of play programming and management for integration of all children. 300p.
TO ORDER: MIG Communications, 800 Hearst Ave., Berkeley, CA 94710; Tel: 800-790-8444

Playground Design and Mainstreaming Issues: Beyond Ramps.
Esbensen, Steen B.
(Paper presented at the Annual Conference of the National Association for the Education of Young Children, Denver, CO , 1991)
This paper identifies issues confronting early childhood educators who want to integrate children with special needs with others, and the implications of such integration for the design of outdoor play settings. The paper focuses on the ambiguity involved when developmentally appropriate practice in early childhood education meets trends in playground design. It is emphasized that playground equipment needs to provide opportunities and challenges appropriate to the age and development of children. It is important to create an outdoor play setting abundant in: (1) aspects of nature; (2) furniture and shade that allow for creative and social experiences; (3) a variety of surface textures, materials, and loose parts for children to touch and manipulate; and (4) space that allows children to move around, interact with nature, socialize, and challenge their physical dexterity. 6p.

Safer Playgrounds for Young Children. ERIC Digest.
Hendricks, Charlotte M.
(ERIC Clearinghouse on Teacher Education, Washington, D.C. , 1991)
The primary elements of playground safety are (1) removing equipment that is too tall; (2) installing resilient surfacing under all equipment; (3) removing hazards such as debris or broken equipment; and, (4) supervising children's play. It is up to parents, teachers, and individuals in the community to demand safer play areas and to provide proper supervision for children's play.

Learning Through Landscapes: Using School Grounds as an Educational Resource. Adobe PDF
Young, Kirsty
(Learning Through Landscape Trust, Winchester, England , 1990)
All schools need a variety of size, shape, type, and texture in their grounds to provide an opportunity for play, study, and shelter. This booklet provides 13 case studies of English sites illustrating some of the most imaginative work taking place in school grounds, and outlines action plans for changing grounds. Photographs and design drawings of grounds accompany each entry. Also provided are a pull-out chart outlining the grounds design action plan and information about the Learning Through Landscape Trust. 22p.

Facility Design for Early Childhood Programs. An NAEYC Resource Guide.
(National Association for the Education of Young Children, Washington, DC , Mar 1989)
A guide presents information for identifying helpful resources related to facility design for early childhood programs and materials exploring some of the critical issues involved in design decisions, particularly as they pertain to young children's learning and play environments. Included are tips for planning safe educational environments and for providing an indoor and outdoor physical environment that fosters optimal growth and development through opportunities for exploration and learning. The document concludes with an article on how to improve school playgrounds and a playground improvement rating scale to determine how well a playground meets certain goals. 27p.
TO ORDER: National Association for the Education of Young Children, 1834 Connecticut Ave., N.W., Washington, DC 20009; Tel: 202-232-8777.

Play Spaces for Children: A New Beginning. Improving Our Elementary School Playgrounds. Volume II. Adobe PDF
Bruya, Lawrence D., Ed.
(American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance, Reston, VA , 1988)
The articles in this book provide a broad scope of information needed for adequately providing for the needs of children who play on school playgrounds. Articles are: (1) "Child Development and Playgrounds" (J. Frost); (2) "Playground Design: A Scientific Approach" (L. Bowers); (3) "Playground Equipment: A Designer's Perspective" (J. Beckwith); (4) "Developing Responsibility of Children for Playground Safety" (P. Lowe); (5) "Teacher Commitment to Playground Safety" (L. Bruya); (6) "A System To Establish Playground Safety in the School" (E. Warrell); (7) "Project OLE': Outdoor Learning Environment for Children" (D. Sommerfeld and C. Dunn); (8) "Legeplads of Arhus: A 'Playspace' Concept from Denmark" (S. Green); (9) "New Concepts in Playstructures from the Commercial Sector" (J. Beckwith); and (10) "A System To Manage the Risk of Lawsuit" (L. Bruya and J. Beckwith). 248p.

Where Our Children Play. Elementary School Playground Equipment Volume I
Bruya, Lawrence D., Ed.; Langerdorfer, Stephen J.
(AAHPERD Publications, Waldorf, MD , 1988)
The articles in this monograph reflect the findings of a national survey on elementary school playground equipment. Articles are: (1) "The Committee on Play and Its Mission" (D. Thompson); (2) "The National Survey of Elementary School Playground Equipment" (L. Bowers); (3) "Results of the Survey" (L. Bowers and L. Bruya); (4) "Location, Accessibility, and Equipment on Playgrounds" (S. Wortham); (5) "Slides, Swings and Climbing Equipment" (D. Thompson); (6) "Rotating, Spring Rocking, and See Saw Equipment" (S. Langendorfer); (7) "Sand Area, Wading Area, Signs, Trees & Pathways" (L. Bruya); (8) "Twenty-one Conclusions: Seventeen Safety Problems" (L. Bowers and L. Bruya); (9) "Our Nation's Playgrounds: In Need of Help" (D. Thompson); (10) "Teacher Preparation: Guidelines for Safe Play" (P. Lowe); (11) "Development Neglected on Hand-Me-Down Playgrounds" (S. Wortham); (12) "Negligence: Safety from Falls Overlooked" (J. Beckwith); and (13) "The New Challenge: Playground Upgrades" (L. Bruya). The following appendices are included: (1) Mission Statement for the Committee on Play; (2) National Elementary School Playground Equipment Survey; (3) Trained Volunteer Survey Administrators; (4) Playground selection process; and (5) The Playground Assessment (PEA) revised instrument. 258p.
TO ORDER: AAHPERD Publications, P.O. Box 704, Waldorf, MD 20601

Child Development and Playgrounds.
Frost, Joe L.
Apr 1987)
Four major issues are explored in this study of child development research and its implications for children's playgrounds: (1) theories and philosophies of play; (2) the historical evolution of playgrounds; (3) research on child development, play, and playgrounds; and (4) creating playgrounds that meet children's developmental needs. Research suggests that developmentally appropriate play environments should include materials, equipment, space, and activities to enhance all forms of play, and contain complex superstructures and simple moveable materials to be used in combination. Additionally, to counter conditions of modern, urban, technological society, play environments should include nature areas and provide tools children can use to care for the total play environment. 23p.

Planning Outdoor Play: A Manual Organized To Provide Design Assistance to Community Groups.
Sanoff, Henry
(Humanics Limited, Atlanta, GA , 1982)
This manual, based on the collective experience of various community groups, explores the steps for planning community playgrounds from the original inspiration to the final workday. It covers the planning approach, including community meeting management, committee development, safety issues, equipment options, funding, site selection, and communication topics. Also addressed is publicity and putting the entire plan into action. Appendices present a playground design game, handmade equipment layout planning, and a case study of the design process. 97p.
TO ORDER: Humanics Limited, P.O. Box 7447, Atlanta, GA 30309

Recommendations for Child Play Areas.
Cohen, Uriel; Hill, Ann B.; Lane, Carol G.; McGinty, Tim; Moore, Gary T.
(Wisconsin Univ., Center for Architecture and Urban Planning Research, Milwaukee ;Community Design Center, Inc., Milwaukee, WI , 1979)
An interim criteria document provides descriptive information and planning, evaluation, and design guidelines for children's play areas located on military bases. The recommendations are presented in two major sections: planning and architecture design. Subcategories within the planning, criteria, and recommendations section address program master planning, physical master planning, physical planning decisions, and architectural program development process. Design recommendations subcategories address site organizing principles, patterns of activity spaces, general design of play spaces, and site details. The recommendations are presented as a series of "patterns," each suggesting a different design idea in response to children's needs and the research information collected, and each further specifying detailed design criteria. A summary of important planning and design issues and recommendations and an introduction to new ways of thinking about children, their play, and the role of the physical environment in child development and play precedes the actual recommendations. 350p.
TO ORDER: Center for Architecture and Urban Planning Research, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, P.O. Box 413, Milwaukee, WI 53201

Found Spaces and Equipment for Children's Centers. A Report. Adobe PDF
Passantino, Richard J.
(Educational Facilities Laboratories, New York, NY , 1972)
Reports on turning discarded, overlooked, and inexpensive spaces or objects into useful places and things for child-oriented learning in preschools or day care centers. The document is organized into five sections: 1) Types of Places which demonstrates the wide variety of unlikely structures that have been converted into viable educational spaces; 2) Furniture and Equipment which features imaginative use of manufacturers’ “throwaways”; 3) Outdoor Spaces which points up the use of rooftops and vacant lots for solutions to urban play space problems; 4) Outdoor Things; and 5) How to Go About It which provides sources for help, licensing requirements and codes, and a checklist of found items. A bibliography and a directory of the centers described in the report are included. 72p.

Some European Nursery Schools and Playgrounds. Adobe PDF
Utzinger, Robert C.
(Architectural Research Laboratory, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI , 1970)
Provides a narrative and photographic account of some seventeen existing facilities for child care in Europe. It presents prototype plans, diagrams and pictures of playrooms and playgrounds in day nurseries, nursery schools, playgrounds, and recreation centers in London, England; Copenhagen, Denmark; Stockholm and Uppsala, Sweden; and Zurich, Switzerland. The section titled "Conclusions and Recommendations" offers 13 recommendations general in nature; 25 pertaining to indoor play areas; and 15 pertaining to outdoor play areas. This report is the second in a 3-part series on Early Childhood Facilities. 77p.
Report NO: Monograph ECF/2

References to Journal Articles

Converting School Playgrounds to Community Parks
Attwood, Emily
Athletic Business; , p63-64 ; Aug 2012
Cities capitalize on existing schoolyards to provide more opportunities for physical activity.

A Genius Idea
EDC Magazine; May 24, 2012
Description and photos of the outdoor play and learn area at All Saints School in Norwalk, Connecticut that promotes play and an understanding of the physical sciences and energy conservation. The environmental activities within the playground are dovetailing with a school STEM curriculum being taught in the classroom.

Complying With New Mandatory ADA Standards
School Construction News; Apr 25, 2012
All state and government construction projects will soon have to bring their projects up to compliance to meet the 2010 Standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act — a requirement that includes school exteriors like playgrounds, pools and outdoor signage. For projects that start on or after March 25, 2012 the 2010 ADA standards will apply automatically.

Forming Playscapes: What Schools Can Learn from Playgrounds
Quirk, Vanessa
Arch Daily; Mar 07, 2012
When designing classrooms, designers should look at spaces that welcome interaction with the environment and encourage the free reign of energy and imagination--the playground. Describes numerous schools around the world that can inspire the classrooms of the future.

Safe and Secure. Balancing Safety and Fun on the Playground.
Vence, Deborah L.
Recreation Management; , p22-29 ; Mar 2012
Looks at the safety of playground surfaces and equipment today, and what playground owners and operators can do to ensure both are up to industry standards.

Playgrounds: Safety & Maintenance Go Hand-in-Hand.
Klingensmith, Dawn
Recreation Management; , 2p ; Sep 2011
Describes playground inspections to address safety and maintenance issues. Poorly maintained playground equipment can cause injuries, but it can also lead to lawsuits. Proper maintenance, in accordance with manufacturers' instructions, will help prolong the life of the equipment.

Building Blueprints: Playgrounds and Outdoor Spaces.
Lewis, Pip
School Planning and Management; v50 n4 , p82,83 ; Apr 2011
Highlights how an urban Boston charter school created play and exercise areas on their small site, formerly six-acre industrial property.

An Assessment of Schoolyard Renovation Strategies to Encourage Children's Physical Activity
Peter Anthamatten, Lois Brink, Sarah Lampe, Emily Greenwood, Beverly Kingston and Claudio Nigg
International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity; Apr 2011
Children in poor and minority neighborhoods often lack adequate environmental support for healthy physical development and community interventions designed to improve physical activity resources serve as an important approach to addressing obesity. In Denver, the Learning Landscapes (LL) program has constructed over 98 culturally-tailored schoolyard play spaces at elementary schools with the goal to encourage utilization of play spaces and physical activity. In spite of enthusiasm about such projects to improve urban environments, little work has evaluated their impact or success in achieving their stated objectives. This study evaluates the impacts of LL construction and recency of renovation on schoolyard utilization and the physical activity rates of children, both during and outside of school, using an observational study design.

Play It Safe.
Anderson, Kelli
Recreation Management; v12 n3 , p16-18,20,22,23 ; Mar 2011
Discusses essentials of playground design, including design that minimizes fall heights through landscaping and equipment shape, regular inspection and maintenance, and equipment that is intriguing even though it is safe and age-appropriate.

Are You Accessible?
Ahrweiler, Margaret
Recreation Management; v12 n1 , p28-32 ; Jan 2011
Reviews 2010 additions to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) that cover recreational facilities. The types of disabilities that recreation planners need to plan and design for, are discussed, as are typical changes needed for swimming pools, playing fields, and other specific areas. Cost effective changes and examples of recreation facilities that are already in compliance are included.

Putting Play Back into the Playground Adobe PDF
Couper, Llyween
Kairaranga; v12 n1 , p37-42 ; 2011
During 2008 and 2009, a group of nine Resource Teachers: Learning and Behaviour (RTLB) from Canterbury met as a Community of Practice to investigate the way that play in the school playground contributes to the social competence of students. While the original concern was around the needs of students who were unable to manage their behaviour in the playground, the focus shifted to question how the school playground can be viewed as an important learning environment for all children. It was soon found that there is an enormous body of research around bullying and physical violence and play in early childhood, but very little concerned with the design or physical structure of playgrounds or the role of adults in the playground. This paper was born out of the work of the Playground Focus Group, but also reports on issues confronting schools in relation to play and school playgrounds.

Safe Learning and Play.
Olsen, Heather; Hudson, Susan; Thompson, Donna
School Planning and Management; v50 n1 , p83-85 ; Jan 2011
Describes seven principles of proper school playground management. These cover compliance with standards, safety and security, age-appropriate design, accessibility, regular assessment of conditions, emergency planning, and managing of documentation.

What's New on the Playground?
Vence, Deborah
Recreation Management; v11 n11 , p14-19 ; Nov 2010
Discusses the evolution of playgrounds towards the incorporation of nature and inclusion of the disabled. A variety of natural features and inclusive designs are detailed.

Cover Ups: Selecting the Right Shade Structure for Your Needs.
Anderson, Kelli
Recreation Management; v11 n10 , p20-27 ; Oct 2010
Discusses shade structures for athletic and recreational facilities, noting attention to climate, potential vandalism, aesthetics, self-installation, water resistance or porosity, and orientation toward the sun are discussed.

Watch Out Mulch!
Whitney, Kellye
Recreation Management; v11 n10 , p38,39 ; Oct 2010
Reviews wood-carpet wear mats that are placed under playground swings and sliding boards, thus preventing the continues digging out of the playground mulch by human feet. The added safety and amount of staff time saved in grooming playgrounds equipped with these mats is emphasized.

State of Play.
Olsen, Heather; Hudson, Susan; Thompson, Donna
American School Board Journal; v197 n8 , p27-29 ; Aug 2010
Laments the frequent neglect of outdoor learning environments, and advises on creating a safe outdoor environment by describing standards, listing resources, and outlining general principles for layout, safety, accessibility, equipment, and environment.

Resurrecting the "Adventure Style" Playground.
Landscape Architecture; v100 n3 , p44-48,50,52,54,56,58,60-62 ; Mar 2010
Discusses the restoration of and return to playgrounds that offer environments where children can not only play, but also engage in creative endeavors that nurture development. Concerns over liability and accessibility had discouraged these types of facilities, with an evolution toward those that were less challenging and perceived as safer. Restoration projects for several adventure playgrounds are discussed, as are accommodations for the disabled and creative playpiece design.

Building Blueprints: Playgrounds.
Chewning, Michael
School Planning and Management; v49 n3 , p44,45 ; Mar 2010
Discusses advances in playground design, with emphasis on safety, including age-appropriate play zones, fall heights, shock absorbent surfaces, and security.

All Together Now: Making Play Safe and Accessible.
Miller, Matthew
Recreation Management; v11 n3 , p18,20-25 ; Mar 2010
Advises on creating satisfactory contemporary playgrounds, addressing surfacing material, maintenance requirements, safety, accessibility, and the typical life span of today's playground equipment.

School Playground Surfacing and Arm Fractures in Children: A Cluster Randomized Trial Comparing Sand to Wood Chip Surfaces.
Howard, Andrew; Macarthur, Colin; Rothman, Linda; Willan Andrew; Macpherson, Alison
PLoS Medicine; Dec 15, 2009
Reports on the difference in playground upper extremity fracture rates in school playgrounds with wood fiber surfacing versus granite sand surfacing. The research determined that granitic sand playground surfaces reduce the risk of arm fractures from playground falls when compared with engineered wood fiber surfaces.

Outdoor Environmental Assessment of Attention Promoting Settings for Preschool Children.
Mårtensson, F.; Boldemann, C; Söderström, M; Blennow, M; Englund, JE; Grahn, P.
Health and Place; v 15 n4 , 1149-1157 ; Dec 2009
The restorative potential of green outdoor environments for children in preschool settings was investigated by measuring the attention of children playing in settings with different environmental features. Eleven preschools with outdoor environments typical for the Stockholm area were assessed using the outdoor play environment categories and the fraction of visible sky from play structures, and 198 children, aged 4.5-6.5 years, were rated by the staff for inattentive, hyperactive and impulsive behaviors with the ECADDES tool. Children playing in large and integrated outdoor areas containing large areas of trees, shrubbery and a hilly terrain showed less often behaviors of inattention. The results indicate that the restorative potential of green outdoor environments applies also to preschool children and that environmental assessment tools can be useful when to locate and develop health-promoting land adjacent to preschools.

A Greener Place to Play.
Recreation Management; v10 n10 , p50,51 ; Oct 2009
Profiles La Crosse, Wisconsin's Crowley Park/Emerson Elementary School playground, a facility shared between the school and a city park that exhibits sustainability in design, bidding, rainwater management, an outdoor classroom, and energy-efficient night ligting.

Under Cover.
Klingensmith, Dawn
Recreation Management; v10 n10 , p20-27 ; Oct 2009
Discusses shade structures at recreational and athletic facilities, including playgrounds and stadiums. Solid and cloth structures are addressed, as are budgeting, durability, and design.

Meeting Needs.
Zowie, Richard
Recreation Management; v10 n10 , p36-39 ; Oct 2009
Describes a variety of playgrounds with accessibility features. Some focus on accommodating the disabled only, while others on accessibility for users of all abilities. Surface playgrounds and swimming pool design are addressed.

Nature and Nurture: Trends in Play Design.
Tipping, Emily
Recreation Management; v10 n7 , p20-22,24,25 ; Jul 2009
Reviews current trends in intergenerational playgrounds, including safe and accessible equipment, gardens, stimulation of physical activity, and inclusion of nature. Examples from across the nation are cited.

Playground Prizes.
Clothier, Philippa
21 Century Schools; v4 n1 , p58-60 ; 2009
Profiles the playground at Moorside School in Newcastle, Great Britain. The playground was selected as the best external learning environment by the British Council for School Environment (BCSE). It features flexible activity areas, a stage for storytelling and performance, and wild areas for unstructured exploration.

More than Child s Play.
Anderson, Kelli
Recreation Management; v9 n11 , p18-23 ; Nov 2008
Reviews trends in playground equipment that include computerized features that encourage fitness activity, inclusion of natural elements of vegetation and water, movable play objects, and accessible design.

360 Degrees: Issue 17. Adobe PDF
Oct 2008
Focuses on innovative playground design, citing the Evergreen adventure playground in Hackney, east London, the Freemantle pavilion in Southampton, and German playgrounds created under the leadership of the Gruen macht Schule program. 12p.

Building Blueprints: Creating Playgrounds That Promote Fun and Fitness.
Howick, Stephan
School Planning and Management; v47 n10 , p50,51 ; Oct 2008
Reviews recent trends in playground design, with the most recent being towards unstructured and physically engaging activities. Recent innovations in climbing accessories, spinning and rolling components, balance beams, swings, and slides are presented, and a list of six recommended playground priorities is included.

Playing it Safe: A closer Look at Playground Surfaces.
Morrison, Hayli
Recreation Management; v9 n9 , suppl. 22,24-30 ; Sep 2008
Discusses advantages and disadvantages of wood chips, shredded rubber, synthetic turf, and poured-in-place playground surfacing. Cost, durability, maintenance, accessibility, and displacement are addressed.

Look Out Below: Navigating Playground Safety.
Norquist, Tim
Recreation Management; v9 n9 , p8,9 ; Sep 2008
Describes the evolution of impact-attenuating playground surfacing through trial and error with substances that were soft, yet defective in some other way. The advantages of soft surfaces to safety, play, and experimentation are described, as are four types of soft modern playground surfaces.

Too Cool (Just) for School.
Jost, Daniel
Landscape Architecture; v98 n8 , p40,42,44-52,54-56 ; Aug 2008
Details Denver's extensive program to renovate its school playgrounds and make them available for community use. The partnerships, financing, prioritizing, community involvement, landscaping elements, and professional volunteering surrounding the projects are narrated in detail.

Child's Play. Adobe PDF
Crawford, Matthew
School Construction News; v11 n5 , p22,23 ; Jul-Aug 2008
Describes the Imagination Playground, a portable playground in boxes that can be assembled, broken down, and re-assembled according to the creativity of the children using it.

Using Imagination. Adobe PDF
Crawford, Matthew
School Construction News; v11 n5 , p24-26 ; Jul-Aug 2008
Describes how the non-profit Kaboom organization is involved in the distribution of the Imagination Playground, a portable playground in boxes that can be assembled, broken down, and re-assembled according to the creativity of the children using it.

Ring the Bell for Recess.
Miller, Matt
School Planning and Management; v47 n5 , pA3,A4,A8 ; May 2008
Promotes the benefits of recess, which is increasingly crowded out of the school day due to academic demands and removal of playground equipment deemed unsafe. Recent activism that has restored recess to the school schedule is also covered.

School Design and Physical Activity Among Middle School Girls.
Cohen, Deborah; Scott, Molly; Wang, Frank; McKenzie, Thomas; Porter, Dwayne
Journal of Physical Activity and Heatlh; v5 n5 , 719-731 ; 2008
Examines the associations among school building footprints, the size of school grounds and in-school physical activity of 1566 6th grade girls from medium to large middle schools enrolled in the Trial of Activity among Adolescent Girls (TAAG). The school building footprint and the number of active outdoor amenities were associated with physical activity among adolescent girls. On average, the school footprint size accounted for 4% of all light physical activity and 16% of all MET-weight moderate to vigorous physical activity (MW-MVPA)during school hours. Active outdoor amenities accounted for 29% of all MW-MVPA during school. School design appears to be associated with physical activity, but it is likely that programming (e.g., physical education, intramurals, club sports), social factors, and school sitting are more important determinants of total physical activity.

Perspectives from the Ground: Early Childhood Educators' Perceptions of Outdoor Play Spaces at Child Care Centers.
Herrington, Susan
Children, Youth and Environments; v18 n2 , p64-87 ; 2008
Presents the results of a study of early childhood educators' evaluations of the outdoor play space at their childcare center. They were asked what aspects were successful or unsuccessful, and what they would change about their outdoor play space if they could. Outdoor play spaces with plants had significantly more positive responses, averaging 11 positive responses versus four for spaces without plants. Coding and analysis of interview notes found that 79 percent wanted more sensory stimuli, 64 percent wanted more space, and 57 percent desired more challenging equipment, suggesting that these are important features in outdoor play spaces for young children.

Effects of Play Equipment and Loose Parts on Preschool Children's Outdoor Play Behavior: An Observational Study and Design Intervention.
Maxwell, Lorriane; Mitchell, Mari; Evans, Gary
Children, Youth and Environments; v18 n2 , p36-63 ; 2008
Investigates in two studies the ways in which playground equipment and the addition of loose parts to a playground contribute to preschool children's dramatic and constructive play behaviors. In the first study, preschool children were observed for ten months as they played on large, multi-station outdoor play structures. The second study, conducted at the same preschool but with different children, tested the effects of a design intervention on the playground. Loose parts suitable were added to the playground and children's play behavior before, during, and after the intervention was observed. Constructive play behavior increased in the areas of the playground to which the loose parts were added. Children used the places they constructed for dramatic play activities. The second study confirmed findings from the first study that young children like to act out dramatic play themes in small, enclosed spaces. In the second study, children were able to construct their own spaces, which not only encouraged dramatic play but also communication and negotiation skills.

The Play's the Thing: Innovation and Safety Meet on the Playground.
Ocken, Jessica
Recreation Management; v9 n1 , p14-21 ; Jan 2008
Reviews the necessity of playgrounds to the physical, social, and mental development of children, while lamenting their disappearance due to liability concerns. Aspects of newer, safer playgrounds are covered, including age-appropriate design and equipment, proper maintenance, and accommodation of the adults who accompany the children.

How Does Your Schoolyard Grow?: A Green Playground Extends the Classroom Outdoors.
Rapaport, Richard
Edutopia; Oct 01, 2007
Profiles the natural schoolyard and playground features of San Francisco schools, including a water pump set in a plot of dirt ready to make mud for castles, dams, flood plains, and related projects, as well as an edible schoolyard and planting of formerly asphalt areas. The movement to "green" California schoolyards is profiled also.

Pump the Fun: What's New on the Playground?
St. Clair, Stacy
Recreation Management; v8 n7 , p14-21 ; Jul 2007
Reviews the current state and potential future negative impact of childhood obesity, and describes new playground installations that raise activity level and encourage children to stay and exercise longer. Shade structures are detailed, being considered particularly important for extending playground use.

A Place to Play.
Hall, Julie
American School and University; v79 n9 , p48-52 ; Apr 2007
Reviews the latest innovations in playground design, including features that physically challenge children, engage them in educational activities, and accommodate the disabled. The Clemyjontri Park in McLean, Virginia is detailed as an example. Advice on choosing age-appropriate equipment, sun protection, and designing recreational areas for college students is also included.

Safe Ground.
Tipping, Emily
Recreation Management; v8 n1 , p16-8,20,21-23 ; Jan 2007
Discusses safe playgrounds, including age-appropriate equipment and heights, surfacing materials, supervision, routine maintenance, and organizations that work to help improve playground safety.

Building Blueprints: Accessible Playgrounds.
Zrein, Imad
School Planning and Management; v46 n1 , p84,85 ; Jan 2007
Discusses the features of accessible playgrounds, citing the experience of Framingham's Hemenway Elementary School in siting and creating such a facility.

Tag,You're It!
Abramson, Paul
School Planning and Management; v45 n11 , p50 ; Nov 2006
Laments limitations placed on children's schoolyard activity due to liability concerns. Safe playground equipment, proper supervision, schoolyard behavior indoctrination, and tolerance for occasional accidents is recommended.

Making American Playgrounds Relevant.
Burlingame, Helle
Recreation Management; v7 n8 , p14,15 ; Oct 2006
Describes how the outdoor social and physical environment that a child has access to is very strongly associated with how active children and their families are, reviewing the state of the American playground and the public debate on the quality of playgrounds.

Playground with a Mission.
Jackson, Peter
Landscape Architecture; v96 n7 , p88,90,92,93 ; Jul 2006
Profiles this renovated urban playground that now provides safe, observable, and handicapped-accessible recreation to the neighborhood, and is used by the adjacent elementary school as well. Exterior architectural motifs from an adjacent church were incorporated into the design.

Play Hard.
Klingensmith, Dawn
Recreation Management; v7 n6 , p16-18,20-25 ; Jul-Aug 2006
Discusses trends in playground design that emphasize site-specific design, interaction with nature, accessibility, and dramatic play. Fanciful and realistic-looking climbing features, combinations of open and intimate spaces, ways to alleviate the sameness among playgrounds, and features that encourage extended stays are described with examples of esteemed installations from around the country.

From the Ground Up.
Spencer, Anne-Marie
School Construction News; v9 n5 , p22,23 ; Jul-Aug 2006
Discusses the most widely used loose and unitary playground surfacing materials, the fall height that they can protect against, installation and maintenance requirements, ADA accessibility, and cost.

Getting Physical about Education.
Kollie, Ellen
School Planning and Management; v44 n11 , p20-24 ; Nov 2005
Describes Denver s Learning Landscape Alliance (LLA) , where a public/private partnership was formed to upgrade the city s elementary school playgrounds. 22 learning landscapes were created in underprivileged neighborhoods first, and this became the catalyst for a successful bond that funded 36 additional sites. Components of some of the learning landscapes, the volunteer labor contributed, subsequent benefits of the children s increased physical activity are decribed.

The Play Environment.
Barlow, W. Phillips
School Planning and Management; v44 n6 , p60,61 ; Jun 2005
Reviews the benefits of various types of play, citing the playground configurations, equipment, and supplies needed to accommodate them.

Under the Swings.
Corson, Cheryl
American School Board Journal; v192 n6 , p31-34 ; Jun 2005
Discusses surfacing for playground equipment areas and accompanying pathways. The hardness and cushioning properties, durability, costs, decorative, play-inducing, and environmental considerations of various hard and soft natural and synthetic products are detailed. Statistics on playground deaths and injuries due to falls, the evaluation of playground design, and available guidelines and standards are also covered.

Spring Ahead for Playground Maintenance to Keep Kids Safe. Adobe PDF
Corson, Cheryl
Managing School Business; , p10 ; Feb 24, 2005
Discusses playground inspection, emphasizing attention to the content, depth, and condition of surfacing materials, as well as inspection of equipment for loose, exposed, or missing parts, protrusions, footings, and anchors. Documents that can assist the playground designer or inspector are recommended, and the qualifications of certified playground inspectors are described.

"Play in Focus:" Children Researching Their Own Spaces and Places for Play.
Burke, Catherine
Children, Youth and Environments; v15 n1 , p27-53 ; 2005
Discusses an intervention that attempted to position the child as expert and researcher of their own play environments. In this study, 32 primary school children from two schools situated in east Leeds, England, used disposable cameras over a one week period in the autumn of 2002 to record and later reflect on their preferred spaces and places for play. The process explored means of engaging children as researchers of their own environments, offering them the tools of the photo-diary and the technique of photo-elicitation in generating data designed to influence policy for planning and change of play strategies at local and national government levels. This article discusses the data generated in terms of what the participative process attempted reveals about the capacities of young children to contribute to the planning and design agenda for supporting children s play in 21st century childhood in urban environments. Includes 19 references.

Developing Accessible Play Space in the UK: A Social Model Approach.
Dunn, Karen; Moore, Michele
Children, Youth and Environments; v15 n1 , p331-353 ; 2005
Describes the research conducted to inform development of "Developing Accessible Play Space: A Good Practice Guide" published by the United Kingdom's Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM) in November 2003. Key objectives of the research were to review current practice relating to accessible play space for disabled children and to advise play space providers on improving accessibility. The approach encourages play space providers to concentrate on dismantling barriers that create segregation, exclusion and disablement rather than worrying about the complexities of impairment.

Do Playgrounds Make the Grade? Adobe PDF
Olsen, Heather; Hudson, Susan; Thompson, Donna
American School Board Journal; v191 n10 , p40-43 ; Oct 2004
Reviews recent slight improvement in school playground safety and describes continuing deficiencies in supervision, appropriate developmental design, fall surfacing, and equipment maintenance. Provides a list of state playground safety grades (A-D), based on the National Program for Playground Safety 2004 survey.

Extreme Makeover: Sixty-one Beantown School Playgrounds Get New Lives.
Howard, Jerry
Landscape Architecture; v94 n7 , p118-127 ; Jul 2004
Describes the founding and operations of the Boston Schoolyard Funders' Collaborative, a public-private partnership that organized owners, users, and landscape architects in the transformation of 61 Boston schoolyards into model spaces for school and community use.

Building a Safe Outdoor Environment.
Olson, Heather; Huson, Susan; Thompson, Donna
School Planning and Management; v43 n6 , p67-73 ; Jun 2004
Defines elements of "SAFE" playground design: Supervisability, Appropriate developmental design, Falls, and Equipment Maintenance. Under each category, details of materials and design are discussed, along with data reflecting the situation in that category according to a 2003 national playground survey.

Playgrounds: Not Just Child's Play Sites.
Landgren, Scott
School Planning and Management; v43 n4 , p26,27 ; Apr 2004
Describes the renovation of a rugged Brookline K-8 school playground into an accessible and safe facility that is more easily supervised and maintained.

Perceived Restorative Components: A Scale for Children.
Bagot, Kathleen
Children, Youth and Environments; v14 n1 , p107-129 ; 2004
Reports on the development and psychometric validation of a perceived restorative components scale for children. Children aged 8 to 11 years completed an initial pool of 23 items addressing the components of a restorative environment to assess two familiar, everyday environments- their school playground and their school library. Factor analysis indicated a five-factor model (Being Away Physical, Being Away- Psychological, Fascination, Compatibility and Extent) of 15 items best fit the data. Satisfactory internal consistency was found for four of the five factors. School playgrounds had significantly higher restoration potential than school libraries, when compared with school classrooms, indicating divergent validity of the measure. Results were examined by sex and age and differences reported as a broad indicator of the measure s ability to differentiate between groups of people s reports of perceived restorativeness and possible developmental differences.

Landscape as Playscape: The Effects of Natural Environments on Children's Play and Motor Development.
Fjoertoft, Ingunn
Children, Youth and Environments; v14 n2 , p21-44 ; 2004
Reports on an investigation of the impacts of playing in a natural environment on motor development in children. Methods from landscape ecology were applied for landscape analysis and entered into a Geographic Information System (GIS). Localization of play habitats was done by use of Global Positioning Systems (GPS). A quasi-experimental study was conducted on five-, six-, and seven- year old children with an experimental group playing in a natural environment and a control group playing in a more traditional playground. When provided with a natural landscape in which to play, children showed a statistically significant increase in motor fitness. There were also significant differences between the two groups in balance and co-ordination in favor of the experimental group. Includes 60 references.

Equal Opportunity Playgrounds.
Popke, Michael
Athletic Business; v27 n10 , p60-62,64,66,68 ; Oct 2003
Describes the work of Hadley's Park, the National Center for Boundless Playgrounds, and Shane's Inspiration, three nonprofits that help develop barrier-free playgrounds for children. Also provides specifications for the design and furnishing of accessible playgrounds.

Professional Football Team Joins Students To Build Playground.
Hurst, Teri; Martinez-Helfman, Sarah
School Planning and Management; v42 n2 , p52-55 ; Feb 2003
Describes how the Philadelphia Eagles helped Drew Elementary School in West Philadelphia to transform an unappealing asphalt area into a playground.

Grand Prize and Citation Winners.
Learning By Design; n12 , p6-7 ; 2003
Describes the urban playground redesign and the high school with flexible classroom space that were named Grand Prize Winners of the 2003 "Learning by Design" contest. Also describes the elementary school in an economically depressed area and the renovation of a 1912 high school chosen as Citation Winners.
TO ORDER: Learning by Design; Email:

Build-It-Yourself Playgrounds.
Fickes, Michael
School Planning and Management; v41 n2 , p53-55 ; Feb 2002
Discusses issues in designing and building a new playground, including age groups, safety, the Americans with Disabilities Act, site selection, and landscaping. Also touches on parent-volunteer building and equipment designed by kids.

The Art of Playground Design.
Hammatt, Heather
Landscape Architecture; v92 n1 , p30,32-34,82 ; Jan 2002
Makes the case for integrating artistic expression into park and playground landscape design to create recreational areas with a more holistic look. The Foothills Community Park in Boulder, Colorado, is used to illustrate the use of artistic expression that preserves and celebrates the natural elements while creating a sense of community identity and ownership.

For Children Only.
Marcus, Clare Cooper
Landscape Architecture; v91 n12 , p66-71 ; Dec 2001
Illustrates how a London playground dedicated to Princess Diana's memory challenges the preconceptions on which most American playgrounds are designed. The playground's layout and theme are described, and several photographs are included.

Playgrounds: They're Not Just for Fun Anymore.
Rittner-Heir, Robbin M.
School Planning and Management; v40 n2 , p61-64 ; Feb 2001
Describes a playground classroom that helps children maximize their learning experiences through outdoor play activities while also offering opportunities for social interaction.

Mind Games.
Hammatt, Heather
Landscape Architecture; v91 n1 , p70-77,89 ; Jan 2001
Discusses how an urban renewal project created a playground for the mind, inspiring the study of science, math, and technology. The area s use of its natural surroundings to inspire curiosity and evoke an interest in learning by stimulating the senses is described. Photos and diagrams are included.

One for All.
Hammatt, Heather
Landscape Architecture; v90 n10 , p109-13 ; Oct 2000
Discusses how accessible equipment for children with disabilities makes integrated playground design a reality. Examples of playground designs are provided.

Playing It Safe.
ONeill, Steve
American School and University; v73 n1 , p36,38,40 ; Sep 2000
Provides tips on how to avoid accidents and injuries on school playgrounds. Tips include removing old, dangerous equipment; relocating play areas to safer ground; choosing the right surface; factoring in long-term costs for replenishing and redistributing loose materials; and considering Americans with Disabilities Act issues.

Rubberecycle Makes Playgrounds Safer
Scrap Tire News Online; Jul 2000
Describes the manufacture of a high quality protective rubber surfacing product from tires and tire material that is affordable and meets or exceeds the shock absorbing levels set forth by the Consumer Products Safety Commission and other national testing agencies.

Elementary School Playground Design.
Gibbs, Christopher J.
School Planning and Management; v39 n7 , p54-55 ; Jul 2000
Examines key issues when creating elementary school playgrounds that can engage children enthusiastically in a challenging environment they enjoy visiting. Safety and design considerations are addressed.

Jungle Gym or Brain Gym. Playgrounds Can Improve Academic Readiness.
Parks and Recreation; v35 n6 , p84-91 ; Jun 2000
A well-developed playground in a park or school setting can greatly enhance childen's overall development, making playgrounds more than just fun. Playgrounds offer children opportunities to develop physically, mentally, and socially, improving academic readiness as well as overall health. The paper discusses the importance of movement, how children develop movement through play, and how physical and mental strength develop.

How Safe Is Your Playground? Part 2. Risk Factor Four: Equipment and Surfacing Maintenance on Safe Playgrounds
Kalinowski, Lyn Burdick; Bowler, Thomas
Journal of Physical Education, Recreation, & Dance; Apr 2000
The authors explain the necessity of developing an ongoing playground maintenance program. They provide a step-by-step process for creating a good maintenance plan specific to any given play facility, from training personnel for inspections to creating and filing appropriate documentation materials. They also offer detailed inspection forms listing equipment that needs to be checked (and, if necessary, repaired, or replaced) on a daily and weekly basis. [Authors' abstract]

How Safe Is Your Playground? Part 2. Risk Factor Three: Fall Surfacing on a Safe Playground.
Mack, Mick; Henderson, Walt
Journal of Physical Education, Recreation, & Dance; Apr 2000
This covers playground surfacing issues. The authors examine the criteria for the selection of appropriate surfacing and the status of playground-surfacing nationwide. They also offer specific advice on appropriate installation and maintenance of surfacing materials. [Authors' abstract]

A Playground Game Plan.
Thompson, Donna; Hudson, Susan D.; Mack, Mick G.
Athletic Business; v24 n4 , p82-86,88 ; Apr 2000
Presents six steps for creating an appropriate playground area for children. Steps discussed are forming a playground planning committee, gathering information, formulating a concept plan, putting concepts into action, actualizing the plan, and planning a celebration.

How Safe Is Your Playground? Risk Factor Two: Age-Appropriate Design of Safe Playgrounds
Bowers, Louis; Gabbard, Carl
Journal of Physical Education, Recreation, & Dance; Mar 2000
The authors tackle the issues surrounding age-appropriate design of playgrounds. Using information from the National Program for Playground Safety survey, they discuss the necessity of designing seperate play areas for two-to-five-year olds and five-to-12-year old children and assess the appropriateness of specific equipment found on playgrounds nationwide. In addition, they provide insight into the developmental skills and abilities of children as they relate to the play environment. [Authors' abstract]

Planning Playgrounds for Children of All Abilities.
Hudson, Susan; Thompson, Donna; Mack, Mick
School Planning and Management; v39 n2 , p35-36,38-40 ; Feb 2000
Argues that planners should design play areas based on children's physical, emotional, social, and intellectual needs. Specific playground planning goals are examined that address childrens' physical abilities, emotional development, and social and intellectual performance as well as help satisfy the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Playground Safety
Sipes, James L.
Landscape Architecture; v90 n2 , p38, 40-42 ; Feb 2000
Discusses the issues of risk, liability, and fun when designing playgrounds with safety in mind. The importance of playground surfaces and several preventive measures landscape architects can use to reduce the risk of injury are discussed. Concluding comments address playground design features and liability.

Tutored by the Great Outdoors at a Southern Pines Playground
Raver, Anne
New York Times; Oct 07, 1999
The playground at Southern Pines Elementary School used to be four acres of thorny, barren land and some rickety play equipment. With the collaboration of children, parents, teachers and community members, guided by Robin Moore, an urban planner who teaches in the school of design at North Carolina State University, the site is now a complete learning environment and playground used by the school and local community.

Building a Rooftop Playspace: I Can't Believe We Did It!
Barron, Marlene
Montessori Life; v11 n3 , p32-34 ; Jul 1999
Describes how the process of constructing a roof-top play space at the West Side Montessori School in New York City yielded lessons about organizing a community for a specific goal, the importance of maintaining relationships with alumni families, and working with architects and builders.

Boston Effort Adds Some Green To Playground Blacktop.
Keller, Bess
Education Week; Jun 09, 1999
In four years, the Boston Schoolyard Initiative has helped 16 schools convert their bleak grounds into spaces for play and learning that are open to the neighborhood as well as the school. Another 30 or so schools have embarked on the process.

On Unsafe Ground.
Conklin, Aaron R.
Athletic Business; v23 n5 , p62-67 ; May 1999
Examines the question of playground safety and why, when guidelines for safer surfaces and equipment are readily available, communities are still stumbling to create safer playgrounds. The twelve leading causes of playground injuries are highlighted.

Playgrounds with Maximum Safety and Minimal Risk.
Christoph, Nancy J.
School Planning and Management; v38 n2 , p58, 60-63 ; Feb 1999
An attractive, enjoyable playground can be an asset to your school and provide opportunities for children to experience physical and social growth. But while fun and kid-appeal are important considerations, safety should be the main concern in playground design and maintenance.

The Impact of Playground Design on the Play Behaviors of Children with Differing Levels of Physical Competence.
Barbour, Ann C.
Early Childhood Research Quarterly; v14 n1 , p75-98 ; 1999
Investigated the impact of the outdoor-learning environment on play behaviors and peer relationships of second graders with different levels of physical competence. Found that playground design influenced children's social- and physical-skill development by facilitating or constraining the strategies they used to manage their play with peers. A theoretical model for these interactions was developed.

Play It Safe: A Pre-Installation Checklist That Could Mean an Injury- and Liability-Free Playground.
Thomason, Carroll; Thrash, Dusty
Children and Families; v8 n1 , p40-42,45-46 ; Winter 1999
Presents a pre-installation checklist to enable Head Start programs to meet guidelines for safe playgrounds established by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Includes questions relating to age-appropriateness of equipment, manufacturer's compliance with current safety guidelines, selection of metal or wood play structures, no-encroachment zones for equipment, equipment installation, playground surfacing, and equipment guarantees. Includes contact information for relevant organizations.

Kids Play
Whalen, Susan L.
Fabrics and Architecture; v10 n5 , p48-49 ; Sep-Oct 1998
Examines the use of fabric mesh knitting as canopies for children's playgrounds. Its benefits and drawbacks are addressed as are how innovative design and choice of materials can help eliminate function difficulties.

Child's Play: School Playground Safety
Thompson, Donna.; Hudson, Susan D.; Mack, Mick G.
The American School Board Journal; v185 n8 , p30-32 ; Aug 1998
School boards need to develop consistent playground policies. The following conditions are discussed as a framework to developing safe play areas: supervising the playground environment, choosing age-appropriate playground equipment, cushioning falls, and maintaining equipment and surfaces.

Designing Playgrounds for Children of All Abilities.
Goltsman, Susan
School Planning and Management; v36 n10 , p26-29 ; Nov 1997
Provides performance criteria for creating accessibility for and integration of children of all abilities within school playgrounds. Included are recommendations for accessible route designs; play equipment; sand and water play; gathering places and outdoor classrooms; entrances and signage; and fences, enclosures, and barriers. Proposed changes in ADA law are highlighted.

Planning Accessible Play Facilities.
Christoph, Nancy J.
American School and University; v69 n8 , p22, 24-26,28 ; Apr 1997
Criticism of the guidelines being drafted by a committee of the U.S. Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board on playground surfacing and play-equipment access and the affect on school districts when they are building, renovating, or planning playgrounds.

Child Development Center Play Area Inspection and Maintenance Program, Technical Manual. Adobe PDF
(U.S. Dept. of Defense, Dept. of the Army, Washington, Mar 1997)
Provides the child development center staff, installation safety officer, and engineering staff with step-by-step guidance needed to establish a customized inspection and maintenance program for the child development center outdoor play area. Detailed instructions are included for customizing the program to meet the specific needs of each installation. Recommended inspection questions are provided to assist staff with inspection of the play area using specialized tools, procedures, and techniques described in this manual. Maintenance schedules for all elements within the CDC play area are keyed to the recommended inspection questions that apply to those elements and are provided in the tables. Procedures for reporting and managing hazards and for keeping complete and accurate records are described. 358
Report NO: TM 5-663

"Environments for Special Needs." Beginning Workshop.
Bunnett, Rochelle; And Others
Child Care Information Exchange; n114 , p41-50,55-64 ; Mar-Apr 1997
Presents five articles examining creation of environments that address children's special needs: (1) "Getting to the Heart of the Matter" (on changing from a deficit model to a competence model); (2) "Enhancing the Environment for All Children"; (3) "Using Your Senses to Adapt Environments"; (4) "More Than a Playground: Accessible Outdoor Learning Centers"; and (5) "Interest Areas Support Individual Learning."

Outdoor Play: Designing, Building, and Remodeling Playgrounds for Young Children.
Wardle, Francis
Early Childhood News; v9 n2 , p36-40,42 ; Mar-Apr 1997
Argues that playgrounds must provide all children with opportunities for physical, social, constructive, dramatic, and game play. Suggests that considerations include playground regulations, safety, age appropriate areas, accommodation of children with physical disabilities, materials selection, construction, available manufactured play equipment, shade, and evaluation of older playgrounds for safety and remodeling.

Playgrounds: Questions To Consider When Selecting Equipment
Wardle, Francis
Dimensions of Early Childhood; v25 n1 , p9-15 ; Winter 1997
Examines children's developmental needs with regard to outdoor play areas, the types of equipment needed to encourage all kinds of play, and the advantages and disadvantages of homemade and commercial playground equipment and various playground materials. Discusses the role of safety standards, outlines requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and notes the importance of liability insurance.

10 Ways to Keep Playtime Safe.
Thompson, Donna
School Planning and Management; Aug 1996
Useful tips from the National Program for Playground Safety: choose appropriate equipment, unclutter the fall zone, design swings properly, provide a soft landing, and add rails to platforms.

Outdoor Settings for Playing and Learning: Designing School Grounds to Meet the Needs of the Whole Child and Whole Curriculum.
Moore, Robin C.
NAMTA Journal (North American Montessori Teachers' Association); v21 n3 , p97-120 ; Summer-Fall 1996
Presents a list of imaginative design options for optimal outdoor learning as well as intimate contact with nature. Focuses on entrances, pathways, signage and displays, barriers and enclosures, manufactured equipment and play structures, multipurpose game settings, ground covers and safety surfaces, landforms and topography, trees and vegetation, gardening settings, animal habitats, aquatic settings, and performance settings.

Early Childhood Special Education. "Can I Play Too?" Adapting Common Classroom Activities for Young Children with Limited Motor Abilities.
Sheldon, Kristyn
Early Childhood Education Journal; v24 n2 , p115-20 ; Winter 1996
Suggests that teachers are challenged with arranging the environment to allow physically impaired children to participate in classroom activities. Defines limited motor ability. Suggests ways to make minor modifications or adaptations to accommodate these children in common classroom activities, including circle time, art, sensory play, fine motor, dramatic play, computers and technology, gym and playground, snack and book activities.

Schoolyards: the Significance of Place Properties to Outdoor Activities in Schools.
Lindholm, Gunilla
Environment and Behavior; v27 n3 , p259-293 ; May 1995
Discusses attributes of schoolyards deemed "good" and "bad" by teachers. Good schoolyards had woods either in or near them, bad schoolyards did not. Children in good schoolyards took part in a greater number of activities than children in bad ones. Includes 15 references.

Creating Play Environments for Children with Special Needs
Winter, Susan M.; And Others
Childhood Education; v71 n1 , p28-32 ; Fall 1994
Examines the implications of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the role of developmentally appropriate practice when insuring the safe inclusion of children with disabilities in play environments. Discusses four principles that should guide the creation of safe, inclusive play environments: safety; developmentally appropriate practice; full inclusion; and interplay of the first three principles in unison.

The Effects of Playground Design on Pretend Play and Divergent Thinking.
Susa, Anthony; Benedict, James
Environment and Behavior; v26 n4 , p560-579 ; Jul 1994
Analyzes the pretend play behaviors of 80 children in contemporary and traditional playgrounds. A divergent thinking skills test was given to assess the degree of creativity present in children at these two environments and to see if there was a relationship between pretend play, creativity, and playground design. Results indicated that more pretend play and creativity occurred on the contemporary playground.

Building the Better Playground.
Cohen, Deborah L.
Education Week; Feb 16, 1994
This article covers design, safety and community involvement aspects of over 100 Alabama elementary school playgrounds built by community and school groups with guidance from Tom Jambor. Jambor is past-president of the American Association for the Child's Right to Play and childhood development psychology professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. [Free subscriber registration is required.]

Adaptive Playgrounds for All Children
Raschke, Donna B.; And Others
Teaching Exceptional Children; v24 n1 , p25-28 ; Sep 1991
Procedures are discussed for developing a playground design that will enable all children, including those with disabilities, to participate in playground activities. The article addresses designing a needs assessment tool, planning the playground, and selecting and funding equipment. A needs assessment tool and addresses for information about three model playgrounds are provided.

The Universal Playground.
Exceptional Parent; v20 n7 , p26-29 ; Oct 1990
The universal playground, designed for the full spectrum of developmental abilities, works to the advantage of children with special needs. The universal playground includes spring rides, work and play tables, sympathetic swings, sand tables, steering wheels, gadget panels, wide slides, adjustable basketball hoops, and music panels.



Due to lack of funding, the National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities is currently available only as an archived site. As of September 1, 2012 no new content will be added or updates made. We regret the need to take such steps, but should funding become available, we look forward to reinvigorating NCEF and providing this valuable resource to the educational facilities community.

If you have questions or are an organization or company wishing to support the continued operation of this industry recognized resource please contact Institute President Henry Green (, 202-289-7800).