5 Signs you need a playground upgrade

Simple equipment can have great play value, kids can climb, and invent other games with it.

Think about your local playground. It’s more than swings and slides. It’s where friendships are made and adventures start. But playgrounds are about more than fun; they’re crucial for children’s growth and bringing communities closer.

As we learn more about how children play and grow, our playgrounds need to keep up, becoming places where every child feels welcome and eager to explore.

In this article, we will cover the main signs your playground needs an upgrade and why they are vital signs you need to be aware of.

#1 Safety

Playgrounds in 2023 are all about safety. And when we mention safety, it is not the same as managed risk. It is the actual safe of equipment or surfaces that users engage with. That old metal slide? It might have seen better days. Chipped paint, rust, and wobbly steps are more than eyesores—they’re hazards.

Safety surfacing is another big deal. It’s not just about cushioning falls; it’s about matching the surfacing needs to the critical fall height, too.

#2 Inclusivity

Imagine a playground where every child, no matter their ability, can join in the fun. That’s inclusivity, and it’s at the heart of modern play spaces.

Maybe your school or neighbourhood has changed, or some children can’t enjoy the playground like others.

Upgrading to an inclusive design isn’t just nice—it’s necessary. It’s about creating an environment where users of all ages and abilities can enjoy playtime and learning, fostering a better community.

Read more: Lorna Irene Playground Case Study

Inclusive Playgrounds Principles

Inclusive Playground SeeSaw
Lorna Irene, Inclusive Playground Upgrade. 2023 Playground of the Year.

#3 Playground Equipment

Playground designs are in the middle of a major makeover. It’s out with the old and in with the new—think bright colours, eco-friendly materials, and equipment that makes kids think while they play.

When a playground looks like something from a storybook, it invites users to invent their own stories, sparking growth and learning.

If your playground’s more ‘ho-hum’ than ‘wow’, it’s time for an upgrade that will bring back the buzz.

See our full equipment range.

Marae Modular Play Equipment Tower at Whitikau Reserve Playground
Whitikau Reserve, Opotiki District Council. A community story through play.

#4 User Engagement

Let’s face it: a quiet playground is a sign something’s not quite right. Today’s play spaces are designed to pull children out of their homes and classrooms and into the sunshine, with climbing walls, music-making equipment, and games that get the whole neighbourhood involved.

 If your playground is lonely, consider an upgrade that will make it the heart of the community again. Drawing people to play and learn is key to improving your space. 

Consider play features that cater for different ages and equipment with more play value, and talk to the children and other community members to check what they want. That will increase user engagement on your upgrade.

Learn more: What is Play Value?


#5 Compliance

Rules for playgrounds aren’t just red tape; they’re there to keep kids safe and happy. As new play options become available, your playground must stay in the game.

From the suitable surfacing for your swings to ensuring the seesaw is up to code, keeping your playground compliant means keeping it open and fun for everyone.


Spotting the signs for a playground upgrade is essential: look for wear and tear, listen for laughter (or the lack of it), and make sure everyone can join in. Upgrading your playground isn’t just a quick fix—it’s an investment in your community’s health, happiness, and future.

With a modern, inclusive design, your new playground will be where memories are made for years to come.

Ready to take the next step? Feel free to give us a call on 0800 000 334 or book an ideas session below.