little boy crawling across playground steppers

What Is a Learning Wall?

What is a Learning Wall?

If you are searching for inclusive and engaging equipment to add to your playground, a learning wall might be the perfect fit. With several types and themes, you can work these fixtures seamlessly into your playground.

These pieces of equipment offer several benefits to kids, allowing them to develop stronger social and cognitive skills. Explore our guide to discover what a learning wall can add to your playground!

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Moving elements and activities can help teach kids about cause and effect as they try other things and view the results of their actions.

What Is a Playground Learning Wall?

Also called activity panels, playground learning walls are surfaces that encourage interaction and learning while engaging kids in a different kind of play. These playground features can enable several types of skills, from motor skills and cognitive development to creativity and social skills through moving elements, different textures, sounds, and bright colors.

Activity panels foster different types of learning and development. Moving elements and activities can help teach kids about cause and effect as they try other things and view the results of their actions. Games like tic-tac-toe can teach them about strategy and thinking ahead.

Visual stimulation through bright colors, shapes, and reflective materials can also offer children several cognitive and developmental benefits. Kids can improve their depth perception and hand-eye coordination as they reach and move objects on the panels. Activities and challenges can encourage them to increase their motivation and attention.

Many activity panels for kids incorporate different sounds, moving elements, and games. These activities can encourage auditory stimulation, which engages the nervous system and helps kids learn how to process different sounds and develop verbal skills.

Kids can explore activity panels alone, allowing them to develop critical thinking and other skills, or they can play together with other children. Learning walls offer a space for kids to take a break from physical play and try a different kind of social interaction, where they can practice communicating and collaborating with other children.

The Benefits of Learning Walls for Children

The Benefits of Learning Walls for Children

Learning walls on playgrounds offer several benefits to kids, from developing their minds to growing how they perceive the world. If you are considering installing a learning wall at your playground, knowing the benefits can help you understand how these features help kids through play.

1. Encourages Social Interactions

Like many pieces of playground equipment, learning walls are great opportunities for kids to socialize with their peers. Kids can gather around panels to play through activities or solve problems. Playing with their peers gives kids an opportunity to practice social skills, like listening, waiting, sharing, and taking turns, which are essential parts of communication and collaboration.

Learning walls are great spaces for kids to play with their caregivers. Teachers and family members can join and guide kids through learning and playing for opportunities to bond with them and foster continual growth and development.

2. Provides Learning Opportunities

Learning walls can introduce kids to several subjects and concepts. Many panels have specific themes or topics to encourage learning on the playground, from math and science to music and languages. Kids can explore new subjects in a free, open environment without restrictions and discover what interests them for continued learning outside the classroom.

Learning panels can also introduce kids to various concepts and subjects they might already be learning about in school, like the alphabet and numbers. These playground features can also build off those concepts and introduce kids to new things, like Braille and sign language.

3. Fosters Independence and Decision-Making

While a learning activity panel is an excellent opportunity for kids to play together, they can also use it as a chance to play independently. Solo play is essential for young kids, like preschoolers and elementary school children.

This kind of play can teach kids to become more independent and dictate how they want their playtime to look. They can follow their interests and the questions they have, which is a crucial break from guided play and learning experiences. They grow more self-aware of what playtime and free time mean to them.

4. Builds Confidence and Self-Esteem

Independent play is especially vital for kids’ emotional growth and development. Children experience lots of things throughout the day that affect them in different ways — free play gives them the chance to explore and process those emotions. They can act out scenarios and pretend play to help them work through emotions, and playground features like activity panels can add to independent play sessions.

When kids participate in independent play, they can grow more confident and self-assured. They better understand themselves, and working through problems or games can leave them with a sense of accomplishment. Play panels give kids the chance to test and grow their skills in a safe environment to feel good about themselves.

5. Caters to Creativity and Imagination

Many playgrounds follow themes to fit into young kids’ imaginative and creative natures. Kids love to play pretend in magical worlds, like castles or ships, or extensions of our world, like playing house or farm. Children can use playground equipment as extensions of their pretend playtime. Interactive features on learning walls and play panels foster even more creativity and imagination.

Learning walls often include games and puzzles that can further help children develop their creativity and imagination alongside essential cognitive skills like critical thinking and problem-solving.

Activities like tic-tac-toe, finger mazes, and memory games might require strategy, focus, and critical thinking and leave room for creative and imaginative solutions. Because games are open-ended and have multiple possible solutions, kids can take the time to come up with unique ones, engaging their minds differently and leaving them with skills they can apply to the classroom.

6. Allows Investigation and Exploration

Playgrounds are already great spaces for kids to explore and follow their interests. Play activity panels can further exploration and allow kids to apply a scientific investigation approach. Kids can approach the equipment and observe how it might work based on what they already know about the world and from other kids using it.

From there, kids can come to a guess about what they think will happen if they try a specific action themselves from their observations. They can then continually test and try new things, observing and reflecting on the results.

Learning walls are great ways for children to learn about cause and effect. They can understand that there will be particular reactions from the equipment when they do specific actions. They can spend time trying out different things to determine how they might affect the outcome. This investigative approach and explorative time are essential for kids to discover more about their world and how it works.

7. Refines Sensory Thresholds

Learning walls can play a vital role in brain development by providing kids with an opportunity to participate in sensory play. This type of play teaches kids about the world around them and refines how they perceive sensory details. Kids often get overwhelmed easily because their brains have difficulty processing all the different information around them.

Sensory play gives kids the chance to teach their brains what stimuli to focus on and what they can tune out. When they are playing with learning walls, they can practice paying attention to the game, activity, or other information in front of them, teaching their brain that different sounds, movements, and stimuli aren’t crucial at the moment, from yelling kids to blowing wind.

This activity can help brains learn what stimuli to filter, creating more refined sensory thresholds and building focus, attention, and concentration in kids.

8. Gives a Safe Environment to Engage With Senses

Because kids are still fine-tuning their senses and determining what they don’t and do like, sensory play can also provide a safe space to explore different details and materials. However, many kids can become overwhelmed by sensory information that they don’t like, such as particular textures. For example, a child might dislike the texture of a specific food, leading to them avoiding it during meals or snacktime.

Sensory play can allow kids to explore different sensory information without expectations. While their parents or caregivers might expect them to finish their dinner regardless of whether they like it, sensory playgrounds allow kids to interact with different textures at their own pace and liberty.

Activity panels often incorporate different textures, sounds, colors, and moving elements to introduce children to various sensory details. This exposure can help enhance their brain’s perception of sensory information, but it can also provide a safe, conditional environment where they can control how they interact with their senses.

When kids get the chance to play with their senses on learning walls and panels, they can build better trust and understanding with that sensory detail, allowing their brains to perceive them as safe. When they reencounter those senses outside the playground, they might react differently now that they understand them better.

9. Lets Kids Recharge and Rest From Physical Play

While physical play is essential for developing kids’ bodies and motor skills, they will need chances to rest and recharge on the playground. Learning walls encourage kids to stop and take a break from physical play without pausing play altogether. They can continue engaging their minds and exploring while taking the time to catch their breath and rest their muscles.

10. Creates Inclusive Spaces

Playgrounds are gathering places for multiple communities and kids from various backgrounds. Including inclusive playground equipment can help kids interact with children who might be different from them and develop their empathy skills.

Learning walls are great inclusive equipment pieces for kids with disabilities. These features are accessible for kids who use wheelchairs, and many children with ADHD or autism can benefit from sensory stimulation, especially auditory elements.

This equipment is also excellent when designing a playground for kids across multiple ages. Younger kids and older kids are at different stages in development, but they can benefit from the play that learning walls provide. Younger kids can develop their sensory skills and distinguish between various factors, while older kids can apply what they’ve learned in school and practice more advanced critical thinking and creativity.

Types of Learning Walls:

Types of Learning Walls

When exploring learning walls, you can find several different types that each offer a unique experience. Many playgrounds incorporate multiple types of learning walls to provide comprehensive learning and sensory opportunities, including:

  • Math and science: These types use science and math concepts and subjects as the wall’s theme. Kids can use these features to learn about specific STEM concepts and continue exploring subjects they might have covered in school. Kids can develop skills like critical thinking with these walls.
  • Music and sound: Like math and science walls, music and sound use musical instruments and interactive features to make an engaging sensory experience. Kids can test out the different aspects to see the different sounds the walls produce, or they can work together to make songs and music. These types of learning walls encourage collaboration and creativity.
  • Cognitive: This learning wall type incorporates specific activities to engage and develop cognitive activity and critical thinking. It will often include games and puzzles, like matching, memory, clocks, and mazes. Kids can engage in independent play or work together with their peers to solve puzzles.
  • Tactile: Tactile learning walls specifically provide different textured experiences and help kids become more in tune with their senses. These playground features are perfect additions to sensory play spaces.

Mixing the different types of learning walls can be a great way to foster several learning opportunities on the playground. Each wall type can bring a different sensory and social experience, enhancing kids’ benefits from this playground equipment.

Other Sensory Playground Equipment

Little Tikes Commercial offers several types of sensory playground equipment in addition to learning walls for people who want to develop comprehensive sensory experiences at their playground, including:

  • Playhouse: Our Playhouse is a colorful interactive model house where kids aged 2 to 5 can pretend play while engaging in sensory elements. The house is full of color and interactive features, like a doorbell, mail slot, and grill. It has room inside for several kids and is carefully designed to be inclusive for kids of various abilities and sizes.
  • Together Glider: For a different sensory experience, consider the Together Glider. Kids aged 2 to 12 can sit or stand within the slider and experience movement. Children can gather within it to learn about motion and even connect it to science lessons. The spacious design leaves room for several kids, and you can add a ramp to allow kids with wheelchairs to join.
  • Garden Crawl Tunnel: The Garden Crawl Tunnel can offer another social experience, like the Together Glider. The space is large enough to fit multiple children from ages 2 to 5, providing them with an area to hide and hang out where caregivers can continue to watch them. Its exterior includes several colorful moving elements to engage kids’ senses and curiosity.

Explore Learning Walls From Little Tikes Commercial

Explore Learning Walls From Little Tikes Commercial

Playgrounds offer several essential experiences for young kids, from crucial social, motor, and cognitive development to independent play and self-discovery. Including specific equipment types, like learning walls, can encourage learning and sensory experiences on the playground.

Little Tikes Commercial offers several types of learning walls and panels, from themed learning like science and arts to overall sensory and tactical panels. We dedicate ourselves to designing inclusive and reliable sensory playground equipment that different kids can enjoy and benefit from. You’ll find several collections and designs in our products for elements that perfectly fit your playground’s theme.

Request a quote today and discover how Little Tikes Commercial can bring quality sensory experiences to your playground!


Little Tikes Commercial is aware of the debate in the autism community over the use of identity-first (autistic person) and person-first (person with autism) language. While there is no language that fits both sides of the debate, we know the choice is a highly personal one, especially for individuals in the autism community. Little Tikes Commercial uses a combination of person-first and identity-first language.