How to Create a Successful Outdoor Soft Play Design

Adding soft play to any outdoor space encourages kids to interact with each other and their environment, develop new skills and learn about the world around them. Whether you’re an outdoor soft play design centre, hotel or restaurant, creating family-friendly areas to help keep families coming back will boost business and improve customer satisfaction.

Unlike traditional playground equipment that is often hard and unforgiving, soft play provides a safe way for kids of all ages to have fun and explore. From padded bouncing and rolling, to sand and water play, incorporating a range of different textures and activities will inspire children to engage with one another, challenge themselves and create their own games.

Soft foam and padded plastic structures such as tunnels, mazes, rollers or ball pits can be added to any existing playground or outdoor space. Alternatively, you could install a soft play structure that’s modular in design and can be built to fit specific sites or age groups. These can range from brightly coloured padded structures to sand and water play areas and are a popular choice for day care centres, schools and commercial playgrounds.

Splash pads are a great way to make sure kids get plenty of exercise whilst having fun and getting messy outdoors. They’re particularly good for urban backyards, courtyard gardens and roof terraces as they offer a safe, forgiving and slip-free surface which is easy to clean and ideal for sand and water play. A splash pad also helps to minimise water wastage, a problem that can occur in sand and mud play areas, so they’re a fantastic option for sustainable outdoor activity.

The best outdoor play isn’t always the most expensive. In fact, many of the most popular ideas are free or low-cost, such as sandboxes, swings, garden tic-tac-toe and a teepee. For a more permanent addition, consider a built-in splash pad. These forgiving and slip-free surfaces can be customised with a wide range of jets, sprays and interactive features to tailor them to any site or age group.

It’s important to balance any soft play design with a variety of quiet spaces as well. Clearly defined areas are better for active play, while others can be used for quieter activities such as role-playing. Incorporating a stage or an area with a sandpit will allow children to take part in drama, music and other expressive arts.