PlayCore Design Resources & Programs

A successful play environment lets kids go places they’ve never gone before

PlayCore believes that a successful play environment lets kids go places they’ve never gone before. A great play environment helps them develop their physical abilities, while also focusing on opportunities to grow and develop in social and emotional ways.

PlayCore thinks play should be about outcomes.

The below programs are all about outcomes. We want everyone -- children, families and communities -- to succeed, so we created these design programs, curriculum programs, and resources complement your communities' play spaces.

Robin Moore DiplArch, MCP, Hon. ASLA A generation ago playing outdoors in nature was usually taken for granted, but times have changed. Now, nature must be deliberately designed back into children’s lives.
Keith Christensen, Ph.D., Faculty Fellow, Utah State University Center for Persons with Disabilities Providing intergenerational, inclusive play ensures that all people experience the satisfaction of contributing to meaningful play.

Design Programs

At PlayCore, we don’t just build play environments. We develop innovative play and recreation solutions.

The core idea behind our best practice design programs is to bolster children’s development and encourage them to embrace physical activity, and learning throughout their lives. Our innovative design programs and philosophies can enhance your play project, taking it to another level.

Outdoor Adult Fitness Parks

With the constant increase in adult obesity, encouraging regular physical activity is an important consideration for public health. It is time to think about new ways to make physical activity and exercise more accessible, more available, more affordable, more pleasurable, and ultimately, more useful to society. Research is supporting the notion that Outdoor Fitness Parks for adults provide a variety of relevant outcomes to community inhabitants through their increased participation in more moderate to vigorous physical activity.

Together we can successfully promote the advantages of parks and outdoor fitness zones as critical health solutions, by reducing sedentary-related illnesses and removing the barriers to a life of fitness and activity.

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Me2: 7 Principles of Inclusive Playground Design

Developed in partnership with Utah State University, Center for Persons with Disabilities, PlayCore offers a comprehensive design program for creating play environments for people of all ages and abilities and creating inclusive communities through play. The program defines 7 principles of inclusive playground design that strive to create a truly inclusive and embracing play experience to meet the developmental needs of the whole child by intentionally providing opportunities for physical, cognitive, communicative, social/emotional, and sensory development. 

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A growing body of research reveals a strong link between children’s experiences of being outdoors in nature and their psychological well-being and overall development. PlayCore has partnered with the Natural Learning Initiative, College of Design, NC State University to develop NatureGrounds Best Practice guidelines to deliberately design nature back into children’s lives to benefit children’s play, physical activity levels, and to create richer play experiences for all users. Visit to access the searchable plant database and learn more. 

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Pathways for Play

PlayCore has partnered with the Natural Learning Initiative, College of Design, NC State University to offer an educational resource designed to help professional and community activists promote playful trails and greenways across our nation. The partnership also included collaborations with Advisory Committee of experts from American Trails. Pathways for Play intentionally integrates play into community pathway networks to provide opportunities for playing along the way and encourage use by children and families. Visit our award winning website,, to learn more about supportive research, explore case examples, and access additional seasonal resources to extend family fun and learning on “My Path." 

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Educational Programs

At PlayCore, we are committed to advancing play by providing a variety of educational resources specifically designed to assist communities as they develop, maintain, and program their unique play and recreation environment. These tools offer best practice considerations and programming tips that enrich the lives of children and families through meaningful and memorable play experiences.

BluePrint For Play

The Blueprint for Play toolkit is a customizable resource to inspire and build communities through play and recreation initiatives. The guidebooks will help your engage stakeholders to ensure a:

  • Refined and user-focused planning process
  • Robust funding initiative that embraces giving
  • Unique play space designed to meet specific community goals.
  • Dynamic build initiative that celebrates the community members' talents and builds social capital.
  • Comprehensive plan for using and sustaining the space to ensure a wise investment and a lasting legacy.

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Playground Maintenance

Careful maintenance keeps your playground in top condition. Authored by playground safety consultants Teri Hendy and Daniel Hendy, of Site Masters, Inc., this guide can help you maximize your playground maintenance efforts by learning to properly identify and correct potential hazards on the playground. It will also help you formulate a maintenance plan to help you protect your investment, manage risk, improve children’s play experiences, and control costs. The guide includes sample inspection forms to aid developing procedures for your playground maintenance program.

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Playground Supervision

Adequate playground supervision is essential to promote playground safety and fun. This guide will help you explore the value of play, gain an understanding of the play environment, identify potentially hazardous conditions, develop an understanding of acceptable play behaviors, define recommended supervision practices, and prepare your organization to improve its playground supervisory program. Group activities allow schools and agencies to create customized site inspections, develop playground rules, identify sight line considerations and support positive behavior to achieve immediate improvements to your supervision plan.

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Power of Urban Play

Unleashing the Role of Play Environments as Community Assets

Children need to play! But many children in urban areas face barriers that make access to play difficult. The Power of Urban Play is a resource that considers the viewpoints and work of more than 40 urban park and recreation leaders. This resource will help you understand the important role of play in urban communities, define the trends and unique characteristics of urban playgrounds, and recognize the best practices for developing and maintaining wholesome play environments as community assets.

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Unified We Play

Communities are growing at a rapid pace, and providing recreation opportunities to keep pace with the growth is challenging. By seeking like-minded groups who share a common goal, mission, and values-partnerships can augment existing programming and infrastructure, while providing opportunities to explore and launch new initiatives. Unified We Play is a national initiative, to identify the importance of partnerships in meeting community needs, defining the key points to explore when undertaking a partnership, and promoting best practices strategies to develop and maintain successful partnerships.

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Strong Foundations

Choosing an appropriate playground surfacing is one of the most important factors in developing a safe outdoor play environment. This useful resource was created to raise awareness about some considerations to make when planning, purchasing, and protecting your playground surfacing investment. Case examples are highlighted to provide a comprehensive overview on the features and benefits of the variety of types of safety surfaces available. Considerations are also explored that can further enhance play value at your parks and playgrounds. The guide offers planning checklists, resources, and inspection tools to help assist in simplifying the selection, installation, and maintenance process to ensure the safety and enjoyment of users.

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Words on Play

Play is the foundation for learning, it is critical for healthy physical, social, emotional, and intellectual development. Deeply committed to promoting the value of play, PlayCore is proud to bring together some of the world's most respected play scholars- our friends, mentors and inspirational partners-to share their thoughts, the research-based evidence, and their collective, inspirational "words on play" that empower us all to advocate for the many critical benefits of play.

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Professional Development

As leaders in play, we strive to share resources, expertise, and program best practices to like minded professionals. Our comprehensive Outreach Education Program can provide free customized educational seminars on a variety of topics surrounding play and recreation. Designed to be flexible in order to meet the individualized needs of our audiences, we invite you to experience these educational sessions and to maximize the many resources we have available. Our goal is to offer informative, innovative, and fun learning opportunities, while increasing your awareness about the value of play and current trends in the industry.

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