little boy crawling across playground steppers

Top Unique Playground Components to Add to Your Park

Top Unique Playground Components

Building a unique playground has tremendous benefits for children, families, and communities. Investing in themed playgrounds brings the magic of play alive, encouraging healthier development and social skills among children.

This guide to how to make a unique playground explores some of the top types of playground structures to include in your park to encourage a variety of types of play. We’ll also explore the benefits of incorporating various playground components and which playground equipment is best for toddlers, children, and kids of all ages.

Unique Playground Components to Add to Your Park

When designing a playground, it’s important to incorporate a variety of elements that promote different types of play. When kids play on playgrounds, they’re not just playing physically. They’re also using their senses and imaginations for a multi-dimensional adventure that’s highly social as well.

Well-designed playgrounds include playground systems and standalone structures that promote exploration and interaction. Below are some of the popular and unique types of playground equipment for kids to enjoy.

Little Tikes Commercial double slide


Slides are one of the most popular playground structures, being a childhood favorite for many. Kids love the experience of climbing to the top, waiting their turn, and then finally feeling the thrill of sliding all the way down, only to go back and repeat it all over again.

Though slides are a simple piece of playground equipment, the models of the past that most of us are familiar with have gotten a modern update in recent years. Today, slides are made from different types of material that are more comfortable for playing in various climates. They also come in a variety of colors, styles, and themes, further amplifying the joy kids feel from their favorite playground structure.

Unique playground slides include features like:

  • Twists, turns, and spirals.
  • Enclosed and open tunnels.
  • Double tubes for sliding with friends.
  • Rollers for sound, touch, and sensory play.
  • Multiple entries for freedom to choose their adventure.

Little Tikes Commercial slides come in a variety of shapes and sizes, accommodating children at all levels. Kids with a daring streak can choose the big, tall slides, while smaller kids can gain their confidence on smaller, shorter slides.

belt swing seat


Like slides, swing sets are a classic piece of playground equipment loved by kids and adults alike. For little kids who haven’t yet mastered the use of their own body weight to gain momentum, there’s a simple joy of being pushed by a parent or older sibling as the child swings higher and higher.

Swings are accessible to a variety of children of various ages. For young children, bucket seats add an extra layer of safety and peace of mind for parents, while accessible swings accommodate children with disabilities.

Today’s swings have numerous unique features that take the swinging experience to new heights. Some of the unique swing sets available for your park or playground include:

With so many different swing styles available from Little Tikes Commercial, you can make your park a more inclusive, accommodating, and adventurous place to play. Swings range in height from 6 feet to 10 feet. The Standard Swing from Little Tikes Commercial comes in 6, 8, and 10-foot varieties, while the Swings are 7 feet high. A Raft Swing might be a good option as kids build their social skills and comfort playing in groups.

girl swinging from overhead climber


If you’re looking for unique playground equipment, consider adding a variety of climbers to your park. Kids today enjoy climbers that are both vertical and horizontal, with many offering unique shapes and textures to add to the playful experience.

Some of the unique climbers to consider when designing a playground include:

  • Dome and curved climbers allow for multiple kids to play together.
  • Climbing nets and panels encourage physical challenge.
  • Quad climbers with bridges, steps, and handles.
  • Freestanding climbers that create themed playground areas throughout the park.

Different climbers cater to different levels of development, abilities, and strength. Physically demanding climbers, like nets and panels, are suitable for older kids who still enjoy playing but seek out the variety and added challenge of vertical climbing.

Climber sets from Little Tikes Commercial also come in unique themes like woods to encourage a more magical playground experience.

kids going through playground tunnel


Encourage an adventurous spirit among children with a variety of tunnels. As one of the more popular playground equipment types, tunnels are enclosed tubes that promote imagination, creativity, and problem-solving. Kids magically turn playground tunnel systems into mazes, spaceships, portals, or anything else their imaginations invent.

Tunnels come in a variety of shapes, sizes, colors, and themes. Some of the unique tunnel structures available include the following features:

  • Fully or partially enclosed tubes
  • Connecting tunnels that join to other sections of the play equipment
  • Peepholes for hiding, communicating, and cooperating with other children
  • Colors, textures, and materials that create an exciting tunneling experience
  • Shapes and themes, like nature and animals

Tunnel structures for playgrounds from Little Tikes Commercial are creative and unique pieces of playground equipment to add to your park. With a variety of themes, shapes, and colors, you can make your park a fun and exciting place for kids to express their creativity. From animal-themed tunnels like black bears and pufferfish to nature-inspired tubes, like gardens and lumberjack logs, Little Tikes Commercial has the tunnel components needed to give kids a unique way to explore your park.

Children playing with activity panel

Activity Panels

If you’re looking for unique and popular playground ideas, consider adding a variety of activity panels to your park. Also known as learning panels, activity panels give kids a way to focus their attention on a specialized type of play, often involving sensorimotor stimulation. Activity panels are a desirable component of modern playground designs because they also encourage cooperation and social skill-building as children work together to solve problems or invent new games.

Some of the unique features you’ll find in activity panels for playgrounds include:

  • Math and science activities, such as measuring temperature or wind chill.
  • Sound activities that encourage musical engagement.
  • Memory and matching activities, like working with clocks or sign language.
  • Textured activity panels that encourage tactile skill-building.

Activity panels from Little Tikes Commercial are beneficial to add to your park. They encourage cognitive and social development, while also being accessible for a variety of children. Kids of all ages and ability levels enjoy the visual, sound, and motor experiences they get when exploring how each panel works.

Children on group spring rider

Motion Play

Playground equipment components that involve motion play are becoming increasingly popular in designing beneficial playgrounds. Motion play playground structures encourage physical activity and mobility while fostering motor skill development and proprioception — a person’s spatial awareness of their body and its movements.

Motion play equipment includes classic merry-go-rounds and seesaws, as well as modern versions that encourage inclusivity of children with disabilities. Some models of merry-go-rounds are wide enough to allow for children with wheelchairs to ride and participate with everyone.

Little Tikes Commercial provides playground components that are freestanding structures that encourage motion play. Gliders and spinners are two types of motion play playground equipment that allow children to experience forces like velocity, momentum, and centrifugal motions while they orient their bodies in space during movement. This encourages children to develop balance and coordination in relation to motion.

Spinners and gliders from Little Tikes Commercial come in widths large enough to accommodate wheelchairs, ensuring accessibility for all children.

Girl on frog sculpted play element

Sculpted Play

If you’re looking for fresh playground ideas, consider adding playground equipment components that encourage sculpture play. Spark creativity, imagination, and spontaneous play among children with sculptures of animals, plants, and other natural elements. Sculptures made from fiberglass are designed with unique shapes, colors, and themes that are enjoyable for all ages.

Kids are naturally drawn to playground sculptures, climbing on them and incorporating them into their games and imaginative play. Sculptures are independent playground structures that encourage children to explore the entire park, floating from sculpture to sculpture and discovering new ways to involve them in their play.

Different types of sculptured components encourage various types of physical challenges as well. Mushroom path steppers and tree log climbers from Little Tikes Commercial encourage balance and coordination, while the whale and whale tail climbers allow kids to pass between the two elements, connecting them in their games. Sculptures are not just meant for climbing but also stimulating learning and cognitive play as children enjoy naming and mimicking the animals or simply looking at them as visual elements of the playground.

Pretend Play

One of the most important benefits of playgrounds is that they act as a blank canvas for imaginations to run free. Children enjoy the freedom to explore various elements throughout the park, inventing new games and making up creative scenarios. Playground elements that encourage pretend play are popular because they promote a type of play that’s essential to development.

Pretend play is one of the major types of play milestones that children achieve throughout their development. The ability to pretend and invent scenarios and games is critical to developing minds, as children learn how to think spontaneously and adapt their pretend scenarios to other children’s imaginations. When engaging in pretend play in a public setting like a playground, children learn to cooperate, negotiate, and use available elements in their environments to make up new roles, tasks, and ideas that inspire their evolving world of magic.

Some of the top Little Tikes Commercial playground components that encourage pretend play include builder components, like the silly tree, the playhouse, or the traffic light, as well as sculptures and climbers like the turtle, butterfly, or inchworm.

The Benefits of Creating a Unique Playground

The Benefits of Creating a Unique Playground

Play is vital to childhood development, offering children the ability to learn social, cognitive, and physical motor skills in a free and stimulating environment. That’s why having a playground that’s equally as unique as a child’s imagination is a wonderful investment. The benefits of playgrounds also extend beyond the child themselves to their social circles and the greater community. Additionally, building a new playground has direct and indirect economic, social, and environmental benefits.

For children, some of the top personal and social benefits of unique playgrounds include:

  • Social skills and confidence: Playgrounds expose children to new and uncertain scenarios, particularly when it comes to social interaction. By playing on playgrounds, children build their social skills and confidence as they interact with new people.
  • Cognitive development: Researchers understand that play is critical for cognitive development and teaching kids how to solve problems. Unique play elements like sensory and learning stations help further facilitate the cognitive advantages of playgrounds.
  • Health and fitness: Playgrounds with plenty of unique elements to climb and explore encourage kids to enjoy physical activity and develop a healthy relationship with fitness. The more structures there are for kids to climb, the more they develop their motor skills, balance, and coordination.
  • Creativity and imagination: Playgrounds with stimulating elements encourage children to let their imaginations roam. When kids interact on the playground together, they blend their creativity and cooperate in inventing new games, worlds, and scenarios thanks to the unique playground elements available.
  • Mental and emotional well-being: Children who play extensively experience greater emotional and mental well-being, building up self-confidence and empathy as they cooperate and explore with other children. Playground elements like swings, slides, and climbers encourage sharing and negotiation, which has positive psychological benefits.
  • Family bonding: Playgrounds are ideal for entire families. As a free and accessible family-friendly activity, playgrounds encourage family bonding, including between siblings who have fun exploring new parks together.

Building unique and attractive playgrounds offers tremendous benefits for businesses and the community as well, including:

  • Attract visitors with a unique theme: When playgrounds include unique elements, they tend to stand out in the community. By investing in unique themed playgrounds, you can attract visitors from all over to experience a one-of-a-kind park.
  • Offer an inclusive playground experience: With modern and unique playground equipment designed for inclusivity, you can ensure your park is highly accessible to everyone. Having playground equipment that’s inclusive to children of all abilities further attracts more visitors.
  • Add property and neighborhood value: Unique playgrounds are a savvy business investment. High-quality and standout playground equipment increases your property value and benefits the entire neighborhood.

Little Tikes Commercial playground equipment is a great investment for schools, daycares, places of worship, public parks, and more.

Playground Considerations to Keep in Mind

Whether you’re a landscape architect, daycare operator, or public parks official, there are certain strategies to employ when designing a playground. Being thoughtful and careful about how to best build a playground ensures that you’ll come away with the best possible experience for kids and the community. When first starting to build your park, it’s important to explore a variety of different playground ideas and learn about the different types of playground equipment available.

In addition to choosing unique playground components that encourage a variety of types of play, there are other comfort, well-being, and safety considerations to look at. Below are some of the top considerations for how to make a playground for a park:

  • Location: Choose the best location for your park by getting input from local community members. Select a spot that is already relatively level to prevent any major grading work.
  • Greenspace: While considering where your park should go, keep in mind to incorporate as much natural greenspace as possible or add in natural features to increase the benefits of outdoor play.
  • Climate: When selecting playground equipment, it’s important to consider your climate. Choose structures built from durable materials that are resistant to UV exposure and can be easily cleaned and maintained.
  • Utilities: When choosing a location for your playground, it’s also critical to consider the nearby placement of any utilities. Be mindful of nearby overhead power lines or below-ground gas and sewage pipes.
  • Variety: It’s essential to include a variety of playground components that facilitate different types of play. In addition to classic types of playground equipment like swings, slides, and tunnels that encourage primarily physical and social play, it’s also becoming increasingly important to include activity panels that encourage sensory and cognitive development.
  • Accessibility: Park designers today have many options for incorporating playground equipment that accommodates everyone. For example, swings can accommodate children with disabilities safely while certain spinners and gliders are wide enough for wheelchairs.
  • Safety: When designing a playground, it’s critical to consider safety and the types of equipment that will allow kids to play freely while minimizing the risk of accidents or injuries. Be aware of playground safety standards and have your playground design evaluated for safety before building.
  • Accessories: A final consideration that can’t be overlooked is your park’s amenities. Consider conveniences like trash and recycling receptacles, drinking fountains, benches and picnic tables, shaded areas, and restrooms to further encourage visitors and increase their enjoyment.

Review our portfolio of popular playground ideas for inspiration on designing your own playground.

Exploring Little Tikes Commercial Playground Equipment for All Ages

When designing your playground, it’s also important to consider that kids of all ages and ability levels will be enjoying your park. To accommodate children at all levels, Little Tikes Commercial provides playground structures that target three major age ranges — 2 to 5-year-olds, 5 to 12-year-olds, and 2 to 12-year-olds, or kids of all ages.

Below are some of the most popular playgrounds for kids and toddlers from Little Tikes Commercial.

2 to 5 Years

Children between 2 and 5 years old are in a highly active learning stage, navigating their social world and selecting the types of toys and adventures they prefer. Although young children are still developing their motor, sensory, and cognitive skills at this age, there are still plenty of components suitable for playgrounds for toddlers.

Tot Builders is the Little Tikes Commercial line of playground equipment for early childhood, which includes a variety of imaginative playhouses that are safe and easy for kids to explore. The 2-5 age range is also suitable for the Play Builders® equipment, which includes a variety of tunnels, sculptures, and pretend play elements.

5 to 12 Years

Build the ultimate playground for kids with Little Tikes Commercial playground equipment for 5 to 12-year-olds. By age 5, kids begin to enjoy physically challenging themselves and achieving feats of greater and greater difficulty. They become more adventurous and confident in their abilities to try out new types of playground equipment.

Incorporate a variety of climbers into your playground design to accommodate the 5 to 12-year-old age range. Choose a mixture of overhead climbers and bridges for a varied experience.

2 to 12 Years

Make your playground welcoming to children of all ages between 2 and 12 with Little Tikes Commercial playground equipment. Activity panels from Unlimited Play provide a sensory play experience that encourages cognitive development as well as social skills. These panels also accommodate children of all ability levels for a more inclusive playground design.

Other playground components, like slides, bridges, tunnels, and sculptures are enjoyable for kids between ages 2 and 12. Classic playground elements like swings are also fun for every kid, provided they feature harnesses or buckets that keep young children strapped in.

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Design a popular and unique playground for kids and toddlers with help from Little Tikes Commercial. Explore our playground products and discover a world of possibilities for your next park project. With so many different types of playground components to choose from, you can design a creative and imaginative space for children to thrive.

Contact us today for more information on getting Little Tikes Commercial products for your playground. Request a quote and discover how we can help your community experience the magic of a Little Tikes Commercial playground that’s inclusive for all.