8 Structures to Include in Every Children's Playground

Are you planning to develop a playground? You may discover that there are more equipment options than you expected.

From classic swing sets to artsy outdoor musical installations, you’ll be picking your favorites from a long list of playground equipment choices.

However, it’s a fun challenge! We’re talking about play, after all.

You’ll pick the structures once, then watch them get years of use. So, make great choices.

Let WillyGoat help point you in the right direction.

Here are eight structures to make sure you include in the children’s playground you’re designing. 

Playground Equipment for the Daring Thrill Seekers

Some wee ones have a taste for fun-sized thrills. These first few playground must-haves will help them take flight. 

Swing Set

Cantilever Swing Set

We’ll start with the ultimate playground classic, the swing set.

Swing sets appeal to all ages and abilities. Grown-ups tend to gravitate towards the swings just as much as the little ones.

For younger kids, bucket seats will keep them safe and secure. Meanwhile, classic belt seats accommodate bigger kids. Along with, of course, mom or dad’s “inner child”.

A tire swing is another classic option that gives your playground some extra character.

You can choose one of these set-ups to hold the swings:

Quick Note: The set-ups refer to the configuration of the poles that support the top beam.

Depending on your needs, a heavy-duty swing set might be just the ticket. Additionally, seat designs can accommodate special needs based on compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Playground borders and rubber mulch can be used to establish swing set play areas. A playground border ramp can also help to make the installation accessible for wheelchairs.

Whatever your specific requirements are, you won’t go wrong choosing a swing set as the centerpiece of your playground. 


The second classic that you’d be remiss in forgoing is the slide.

Playground slides are simple, safe, and fun. Plus, they’re another feature that children expect to see when they run full tilt onto any playground.

Here are the primary variations on how slides move their precious cargo from Point A to Point B:

Wave Slide
Tunnel Slide
Double Slides
Straight Slides

For a longer slide geared towards bigger kids, check out our eight-foot models.

For younger tykes, you have smaller slides down to three-foot models — like the above double slide. These are sure to produce pint-sized thrills in your playground’s toddler area. 

Playground Equipment for the Daring Adventurer

Our next few playground staples connect to children’s love of adventure. Include these features to embrace energy, imagination, and creativity at the playground. 

Spring Rider

Filbert Frog Fun Bouncer

Maybe you didn’t know the name, but surely you’re familiar with spring riders.

These bouncy yet stationary structures provide kids with some independent balance practice.

They also stimulate the imagination in exciting pretend play.

With all of the fun varieties of riders, youngsters get to trek out on their own. Without physically straying from mom or dad, of course.

Spring riders can be one of the most colorful and silly elements of your playground.

Themed designs like Filbert Frog (pictured above) or the Fire Truck Multi Rider will be fast favorites for playground visitors whose imaginations carry a need for speed. 

Merry Go Round

Merry Go Round

If you’re already starting to feel dizzy… well, that’s okay. You’re just paying for the equipment; you don’t have to use it.

While it’s generally an undesirable feeling for adults, kids tend to love feeling dizzy

Spinning around in a circle activates tiny cavities located inside the inner ear. This activity helps a child get a feel for where their head is in relation to the rest of their body.

When young children spin and get dizzy, they’re learning to work with their vestibular system. That’s the sensory system helping us with motor skills and physical orientation.

So, merry go rounds are quite the physical education tool.

Your adult tummy might do a few flips just watching all that spinning. But the joy on the kiddos’ faces is hard to miss as they gleefully turn round and round.

Merry go rounds will make up one of the more high energy and social portions of your playground. There are lots of different sizes and styles to choose from, designed to accommodate different age groups.

Faster models will be a thrill for kids aged five through twelve. Slower and gentler models like the Infinity Cycle will be perfect for little ones between two and five.

Make the fun inclusive with a wheelchair accessible merry go round. Wheelchair-friendly models

can hold up to twelve children, including two in wheelchairs. 

Climbing Element

What comes to mind when you think of playground climbing? Probably some type of jungle gym.

But for modern playgrounds, there’s a whole wide world of what we call climbing elements.

Along with items reminiscent of a classic jungle gym, you can choose from features like:

Climbing Walls
Climbing Boulders
Balance Beams
Net Climbers
Stump Steppers

Kids absolutely love to climb.

Rock climbing has grown in popularity in recent years as an adult hobby. Climbing walls and similar options have become more common in playgrounds, too.

A climbing element might be the most advanced play structure in the playground. Some strength and coordination are required, making these a hit with older kids.

However, you can choose from climbing structures for all ages.

Easy to navigate structures like Poseidon’s Hideout are perfect for younger children. Even toddlers can reach for the skies with easy-access tot climbers

Teeter Totters and See Saws

RockWell Teeter Duo In Ground Rider

Beam, fulcrum, lever. The mechanics of a see saw, or teeter totter, are elegant in their simplicity.

The name is interesting, too, whichever name you go with.

See saw is an Anglicisation of the French ci-ça, which means “this that”.

Alternatively, the name could refer to the motion, which resembles the repetitive movement made when sawing wood.

Teeter totter, meanwhile, may come from the Nordic language word tittermatorter.

But try not to bog the young ones down with facts. They love see saws for the simple thrill of moving up and down.

They might not know it as they ride, but they’re learning all about gravity, weight, and balance. 

See saws are playground elements that help children learn to understand how their body occupies space in the world around them.

Of course, if see saws make you nervous, you can opt for lever-free variations. WillyGoat provides options that function more like a spring rider.

These use springs, rather than a lever, to balance the two sides. That makes for a more accessible see saw for younger kids.

They’ll rock and roll like the big kids, without any scary bumps and jolts. 

Musical Element

Rhythm Outdoor Musical Park Instrument - Freenotes Harmony Park

Adding a musical element to your playground is a beautiful way to add a unique touch.

Children are inherently musical. Encouraging music as part of play is a joyful way to open up new avenues of fun, learning, and self-expression.

Music lessons can feel like work. However, the opportunity for unstructured play with outdoor musical playground equipment? That’s just pure, noisy fun for a kid.

Playground musical elements are simple enough that any visitor can step forward and give them a try. However, you’ll find that they still produce lovely musical tones.

You can choose from various bells, chimes, xylophones, and more.

Here are a few of the many options for incorporating music into a playground:

Most playgrounds you come across don’t have a musical element. That’s all the more reason to consider adding one to your design plans.

Musical structures tend to be quite accessible. They’re fun for all ages and abilities.

Giving all children a chance to access their musicality is one of the valuable gifts your playground can provide to its visitors. 

Don’t Forget the Basics in a Children Playground

Along with the fun and games, there are also some practical items that every playground needs — like trash cans and benches.

One feature you’ll want to consider is some sort of shade structure

Shade Structure

Sahara Roof Shade Structure with 4 Posts

A shade structure at a playground helps keep visitors cool, comfortable, and safe from harsh UV rays.

Shade structures in larger parks help establish community areas around picnic tables and other gathering spaces. These zones also connect a playground to other park elements such as basketball courts or a nature center.

You could also provide a shade structure that covers the entire playground. This creates a sunburn-free play setting.

You might be surprised to see how stylish and well-designed these structures can be.

There’s a whole variety of single post shade structures that capitalize on clever designs to cover lots of ground.

Options include cantilever umbrella structures, sun sails, hip shades, and themed covers.

A shade structure is a striking visual element that complements the rest of the playground’s aesthetic.

To that end, you can choose from traditional four- or six-post fabric-topped arrangements. Or, hip architectural designs like the Sahara Roof.

Don’t be overwhelmed by the choices. Your playground’s shade structure is an excellent opportunity to put a unique touch on the overall space. 

What Makes a Great Children’s Playground?

Feathery Fern Playground

A great children’s play area is fun, safe, and accessible.

Every playground is different. Each one suits the unique needs of its visitors and reflects something special about its designer and community.

WillyGoat provides options for all levels of a playground, from backyards to large parks.

Play is developmental. That means playgrounds provide a place for both fun and learning.

Our highly interactive playground will help you create an environment for healthy activity, teamwork, and enjoyment.

Shop our playground equipment selection today and start building your new special place. 

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