What Is The Best Playground Equipment For A School?

We have an entire catalog of playground equipment pieces to choose from, and our clients come from all kinds of business backgrounds. Whether you are buying for your church, daycare, park, or other recreational sites, you are likely interested in selecting the equipment that best suits your community. 

School owners know that a playground can transform the campus and encourage recreation among the students. However, educational institutions bear liability in terms of safety, ASTM standards, and the concerns of parents and guardians. With the right equipment choices, you can create a play area that is compelling, popular, and safe. 

In this blog post, we will discuss how to determine which playground equipment pieces are right for your school. The needs of the children, the project constraints, and the popularity of the equipment are all critical factors in a thriving play area. Along the way, we’ll provide tips on how to accommodate safety standards and limit liability. Let’s begin.

Determining the Children’s Needs

It doesn’t matter how flashy or expensive a playground set is if your community doesn’t think it’s appealing. On the other hand, even if a play area is fun and engaging, it must also be functional as a safe fitness option. Finding the balance between the physical and mental needs of the users is critical for any playground. 

We will further categorize those needs, explain why they are critical, and how your choice of equipment can positively affect them. 

Age and Accessibility

The most critical emphasis of any playground must be accessibility. After all, what good is a recreational area that your community can’t use? Age and accessibility are closely linked, so by buying age-appropriate equipment, you can ensure that your playground is usable. 

Consider the age of students at your school. Some pieces like crawling tunnels suit younger children better, while older kids prefer more autonomous play without supervision. Older students can tolerate higher degrees of exertion and exercise while lower elementary children cannot. Our catalog lets you browse by age range to find the perfect pieces.

Some playground equipment for schools, like swing sets, may require adult supervision when younger kids use them. If your school policy doesn’t mandate supervised recess, we suggest you focus on safe structures that the children can enjoy independently. 

Age-inappropriate equipment can cause frustration for your students, but so can inaccessible pieces. Playgrounds are designed to help kids of all ages and conditions relieve stress, including those with disabilities.

We at Willygoat have an entire catalog of wheelchair-accessible, ADA-compliant equipment, including full playground sets, chair-fitting swing sets, and more. We also sell wheelchair ramps for easy access to the play area. If your school tutors children with handicaps and special needs, we suggest purchasing add-ons or equipment that lets them participate freely. 


Whether the children are climbing, crawling, running, or playing, they’re bound to trip or fall at some point. It’s the inevitable byproduct of physical exercise, and the best way to defend against it is for your playground to be as safe as possible. 

Safety is both a physical and mental need for children. The playground should give youth peace of mind during their busy school days. Confirming that your play area is safe and comfortable will help children alleviate stress. Once they’ve done that, they can return to their studies mentally re-energized. 

So, how do you ensure safety? The most protective strategy is to follow ASTM guidelines by purchasing approved playground equipment for schools. Each of our climbing structures and other products comes with assembly manuals that comply with safety standards. However, it is necessary to undergo regular inspections to verify that your equipment is holding firm. 

Accessibility and safety are closely related, especially for young children. Setting up playground equipment that is outside the projected age range of your student community will cause a spike in injuries. Each structure in our catalog has a carefully-considered age spectrum, so purchase pieces that fit your school’s population to minimize accidents. 

The best protection against tripping and falling is ASTM-approved surfacing materials, like the rubber mulch in our catalog. Even as little as six inches of the material reduces impacts and minimizes injuries. Similarly, rubber mats at the bases of slides and swings increase friction from slipping and sliding. 

Lastly, protecting children against the elements is essential for a playground. If your site is under the open sky, your students will need a defense against the hot sun. If it unexpectedly begins to rain, the children will want a place to seek shelter and await guidance. Shade structures and awnings are fantastic choices for protecting kids of all ages against the weather. 

Physical Needs

Even though playgrounds are fun and games, they also play a lead role in assuring that the schoolchildren get the physical exercise they need for healthy growth. However, some physical activities are better for younger youth than older youth and vice versa. Keep your community’s age range in mind when selecting equipment for them. 

One of the most prominent features of park equipment that encourages fitness is climbing structures. These include outdoor jungle gyms, half-moon climbers, rock walls, and nets. Even false rocks, logs, and other natural equipment encourage climbing.

Crawling is another fitness activity that many playground setups encourage, and it is much safer for younger children than climbing. Our catalog features several crawl tunnels in unique styles accessible to kids around eight years and younger. 

Lastly, playgrounds often inspire kids of all ages to compete. Hide and seek, tag, and sports get children’s blood pumping as they run around. While you don’t need special equipment to motivate competition, we offer structures like freestanding ball hoops, obstacle courses, and balancing beams to spur them to action. 

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Mental Needs

Schools are influential places for children’s growth in body and mind. A campus playground is ideally a place where students can destress, but that doesn’t mean it has to be void of mental stimulation. There are plenty of equipment choices for kids of all ages that can turn a normal play area into a comprehensive, fun, and creative destination.

What stimulates children’s brains? Most likely, it’s the same aspects that excited you when you were a kid. Bright colors, musical instruments, interactive objects, and natural elements collaborate to turn a drab playground into a fun learning site. 

Virtually all playground pieces come in bright and appealing colors. While kids are sure to enjoy any equipment regardless of its hue, matching palettes and themes are pleasing to the adult eye. Purchasing pieces that match your school colors helps give the playground an identity as a facility. If your play area is in the shade, bright hues increase visibility.

Certain colors can also improve children’s safety if your play area isn’t under a shade or awning. Unpainted silver equipment holds heat from the sunlight and can be searing to touch. Bright colors like yellow and red partially reflect sunbeams, contributing to a safer play experience. 

Musical instruments are an excellent choice for younger children. They come in options like bells, chimes, and drums. Our musical playground structures are functional, demonstrating differences in pitch and intensity as children play with them. With these tools, your students can learn to appreciate and understand music and have a wonderful time doing it.

There are many kinds of interactive structures in our playground catalog. Setting these up converts your play area from a stagnant edifice to a creative place that kids can impact. 

For example, our Chalkboard Flowers allow children to practice art on the school grounds in a sustainable, impermanent way. Another way to stimulate students’ brains is with a freestanding tic tac toe game, where they must strategize to win. These structures are an excellent choice for a Montessori school playground due to the hands-on learning style they provide. 

A wonderful byproduct of many outdoor playgrounds is their proximity to nature. Children will likely see trees, birds, and other creatures nearby, and observing the natural world like this also stimulates their minds. 

You can further amplify these themes by building a playground with natural-looking structures like rocks, mushrooms, and logs. Doing so will increase younger students’ senses of imagination and curiosity about the world around them. 

What Are Your Project’s Boundaries

Considering the needs of the children is critical, but so is staying within your budget and space requirements. The boundaries of your playground project determine a handful of ASTM guidelines and regulations. Let’s talk about some of the environmental and monetary factors you should consider when choosing equipment.


School playgrounds usually sit within enclosed boundaries like fences. Some play areas are set up in open areas surrounded by buildings or other facilities. If your playground will be near other parts of the school, you should consider which equipment pieces will fit best.

For example, a cramped area accommodates individual pieces better than large playground sets. If the rec site is near a classroom, you may want to avoid disruptive equipment like musical instruments. In general, open areas have more liberty than closed spaces and less risk of accidents or property damage. 

Some general rules apply. For instance, if you purchase a swing set, place it as far from buildings and trees as possible to avoid projectile accidents. You may also want to station the playground reasonably close to the school nurse’s office in case of emergencies. 

Land Area

In addition to your play site location, we suggest considering the numeric land area of your project. The CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission) and other standards dictate that you should include a six-foot-wide barrier between any playground equipment and the edge of the area border. Therefore, your land area is smaller than numbers might suggest.

If your plot is too small for large set pieces, you will want to pick and choose individual structures. Arrange them in the way that conserves the most space, paying close attention to ASTM guidelines. You can still make good use of a small plot by including popular, space-conserving structures such as the funnel ball game. 

If you have a large plot of land to work with, you have more options. However, a giant area usually means a higher budget and more surfacing material. On the bright side, you will have more freedom over how you place structures, and you can include open space for running around if you choose. 

Regardless of your plot size, our catalog has togglable options for sorting by structure size and pole diameter. With these tools, it’s easier than ever to find the perfect combination of equipment for your ideal school playground. 

Terrain and Environment

Terrain and environment are the last physical constraints to consider. Ideally, your playground will sit on a flat area, but sometimes it’s cheaper to build into the terrain than to level it. Slanted or uneven plots require more precise measurements. It can also be challenging to secure playground equipment in this state. 

It can be difficult to build a functional playground on uneven ground. We suggest purchasing heavy-duty, sturdy structures that stay anchored and secure. You may need to invest in additional reinforcements under the surfacing. Your playground’s regular inspections may also be a bit more rigorous. 

Our catalog offers some items that work well on bumpy and hilly landscapes, such as embankment slides. 

Environmental concerns include not only trees but safety from the elements as well. If your playground will sit in an open area without much shade, we suggest considering an awning or roof somewhere on the grounds. It can protect against rain and the harmful effects of the sun’s rays.


Perhaps the most important constraint of your playground project is your budget. There are a few factors of our catalog to consider that will help you stay within that threshold. For instance, a playground set is often less expensive than buying each piece separately.  

In addition, on our site, you can sort every catalog page by price to find all the options within your budget. We encourage you to take note of several products and their costs. Then, take that information with you to meetings or coordinating events so that you can make the best choice with your resources. 

Our online store often features popular products with reduced prices or temporary sales. Making use of these is just one way that you can save money with Willygoat. 

Shipping is also an expense to consider when budgeting. However, if you order products available at our warehouse, you are eligible for customer pickup, which will grant a discount before ordering. We are happy to provide these options to aid in your playground purchasing experience.

Determining Product Popularity

After the children’s needs and the project boundaries are accounted for, all that is left is to pick the most popular equipment. Popularity is a sign of satisfied children and customers, and it serves as a testament to the item’s durability, cost-efficiency, and more. We believe that it’s always wise to get a second opinion before buying a product.

That’s why it’s helpful to browse our catalog in order of the best-selling products. These tend to be the most cost-effective products with the best discounts. When you aren’t sure which playground piece to pick, this tool can show you which ones our clients prefer the most. 

Best-Selling Playground Products

However, some catalog items are consistently popular among children and clients. Let’s take a brief look at some of Willygoat’s continual best-sellers.


Swing sets are an iconic, cost-effective, accessible, and popular option among both kids and clients. We offer ADA-approved structures, tire swings, bucket seats for young children, and more. Our catalog has heavy-duty and standard strength items. It’s nearly impossible to find a playground without a well-loved swing set. 


Slides are just as iconic as swings and are more accessible to younger children. Our catalog features a bountiful variety of single and double slides and tubes. Between all of these items, there’s a product for every kid between two and twelve years old.

Spring Riders

It’s little wonder that spring riders are one of Willygoat’s best-selling products when you see the variety our catalog has to offer. There are over 50 free-standing bouncing and balancing toys in designs like vehicles, animals, seesaws, and more. Many of our products are built tough to accommodate several children at once for generations of fun.

Funnel Ball Hoops

Lastly, funnel ball is an easy, well-loved sport among children. It’s also great for keeping entire groups of as many as ten students entertained at a time. Funnel ball hoops are cost-effective and space-efficient, allowing you to maximize your budget and land area. We highly recommend adding one to your playground setup and watching the good times roll. 


While making the right choice of playground equipment for schools can seem daunting, it doesn’t have to be. Everything that you need is in one place so that we can offer the perfect solutions. Remember to consider the children’s needs and your project boundaries, and contact us if you have any questions. We are happy to assist you!