Play by Design

Play by Design

Custom designed community built play structures

Spotlighting the “Tot Lot” Playgrounds for kids under 5


I’ve been running across a lot of talk about preschool kids being overlooked when it comes to playgrounds.  Families with younger children are looking for a place to take their kids for interaction, exercise, and good old fresh air.  Preschools and daycare centers have been looking for creative ways to extend their classrooms outdoors.  Toddler playgrounds are a perfect answer to that.  Everything is scaled down for them. The play structure is smaller and there are baby swings!


We’ve been working with a few communities to make these dreams come true.  One of my favorites is Austin, TX.  It is located at Emmaus Catholic Parish in Austin, TX.  This early childhood education program community playground is designed for kids ages 2-4.  They chose to build a custom design so they could integrate the Noah’s Ark thematic play into the developmental aspects of the playground.  They used the community built aspect to help introduce younger families into the parish and childhood center.  One parishioner said it was the “community glue” that holds them together. They are now able to use the playground not only as physical development, an extension of their classroom but is a great meeting place to draw together all kinds of families. 

    Toddler Obstacle Course.                                                    Noah's Ark Thematic Structure.


Materials: Premium grade “kid friendly” pressure treated lumber with composite (trex) decking, handrails, appliqué, and murals

Cost:   $25,000-$30,000 (if they would have built it with structural plastic instead of wood: $30,000-$35,000)

Custom Design Theme: Noah’s Ark

Community Build: 20 volunteers a day / 5 days

Age Appropriate: 2-5 years old

Thematic Play Elements Including:

Stepped pods                 Balance beams of varying difficulty           Mountain climber

Arched bridge                 Plastic crawl tunnel                                      Ark with curvy steps

Net                                    Wide slide                                                      Climbing alphabet blocks

Climbing mural              Arched rock climb


In the “Tot Lot” area, last season we worked with quite a few community centers and preschools but also county / city parks to build custom design and community built playgrounds.  Bloomsburg, PA is a nice example.  They kept a really fun facebook page if you would like to check it out …Bloomsburg Tot playground…

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