CHAPTER 6: SITE DESIGN
6.6.3 Pre-School Outdoor Play Areas:
6 . 7 S p e c i f i c S i t e Te c h n i c a l
Play areas for pre-school children should support dramatic and constructive/
creative play, active and quiet play, sand and water play, with opportunities
to explore nature. Pre-school children regularly interact, socialize, discuss,
and negotiate. At this age, they begin to engage in socio-dramatic play.
Running, jumping, climbing, and swinging are all important activities, but
6.7.1 Fences and Enclosures:
are often pursued in the context of a make believe setting. A larger, open-
Play yards must be enclosed by fences to define the play yard, allow
ended play superstructure offering many activities should be provided, but
ease of supervision of children, and protect them from unauthorized
be designed to lend itself to dramatic play. There should be elements such
individuals or stray animals. The design of the fence is one of the most
as playhouses, stages, and props that encourage dramatic play. These
visible elements in the center and must be more than simply utilitarian.
elements should be positioned within the play area to allow the dramatic
In general, chain link is discouraged. The only kind of chain link that
play to spill out and flow into other spaces. Pathways for wheeled toys also
may be used is dark vinyl-coated (avoid green). Exposed galvanized
provide circulation and allow the play experience to flow through the play
wire, which has a highly institutional appearance, is not appropriate.
areas. Where these are not safety surfaces, a minimum of 10mm of impact
The fence must have no sharp exposed connections accessible to chil-
resistant topping must be applied over concrete. Safety helmets should be
dren. Note: A/E to reference ASTM fence standards (F2049-00).
required on hard surfaces. Facilities for play with sand and water should
Provide bollards, raised planters or other devices to keep automobiles
be included and placed adjacent to one another allowing these activities to
from veering into the play yard area.
intermingle. Materials for creative play activities such as musical devices,
The transparent or opaque nature of the fence and fence height will
painting materials, chalkboards, construction materials, and blocks also
depend upon the location and environmental conditions of the center
should be included. If there is a covered porch area, it is ideal for painting,
and the requirements identified by the GSA security risk assessment.
drawing, etc. Generally, for best motor activity in a group care setting, the
It is important that fences be designed so that there are no spaces be-
children should be moving, not the equipment. While tire swings are
tween pickets which are between 87 mm (31/2") and 228 mm (9") to
appropriate, standard swings are too problematic in group care to warrant
prevent children's heads from being entrapped. Fence openings less
their inclusion. Provide water-permeable sand box covers.
than 87 mm must be large enough to prevent finger or hand entrap-
ment, but not so small that fingers and hands cannot penetrate the open-
6.6.4 School-Age Outdoor Play Areas:
ing. There shall be no openings between 9mm and 25mm. These
Play areas for school-age children should be separate, but linked to the
entrapment dimensions are very important and should receive particu-
play areas of younger children. School-age children must have structures
lar care. Reference the most recent edition of the Handbook for Public
and spaces that allow them to exhibit and practice their more advanced
Playground Safety of the CPSC.
physical and social skills. Running, jumping, and climbing activities are
The perimeter of the play yard must be enclosed by an 1830 mm high
supplemented by more athletic pursuits such as sports and games. Most
fence when views into the play yard are allowed. As an alternative, a
children of this age have the physical ability to roller skate and ride bicycles.
shorter fence with planting or landscape features, planted or positioned
Quiet, semi-enclosed areas should be provided for socializing, completion
in such a way that an adult would not be able to reach over the fence,
of homework, or quiet contemplation. School-age children should be
will be acceptable upon approval of the RCCC.
exposed to the same activities as the younger children in the center, such
When the play yard is adjacent to hazards, busy roadways, or is in a
as sand and water play, construction activities, music, and artistic pursuits
high security risk neighborhood, the perimeter of the play yard must be
such as drawing or painting. Some playground suppliers have lines
enclosed by an 2440 mm high fence. Views from the play yard should
specifically geared to this age group which should be referenced for
be screened either by the fence itself or with plants or other suitable
dimensions. Provide water-permeable sand box covers.
device. Bollards, raised planters, or other devices should be used to
protect play yards located next to driveways or roads where cars could
swerve into the play yard area.
PBS-140 - July 2003