January 03, 2022

Top Five Park and Playground Trends for 2022

It’s no secret that 2020 was a rough year worldwide. Ravaged by COVID-19, families were left broken and scarred across the globe.  

As morale reached an all-time low, 2021 became a time for healing. While the pandemic was never “over,” families began to find a new sense of normalcy in our post-COVID society. 

After talking with customers, parents, and city leaders, GameTime sees 2022 as a time of discovery. Through countless interviews, surveys, and conversations, we’ve learned people want to experience something new and exciting after staying in their houses as months turn into years. 

Read on to learn about the top five playground equipment and parks and recreation trends GameTime is watching in the coming year.  

1. Inclusive Playground Equipment Makes Play Possible for All 

Society is more aware than ever of the lack of opportunities for people with disabilities. The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 went a long way to create a level playing field for people with disabilities. Still, it takes consistent and conscious effort to ensure inclusion is the norm, not the exception. 

After three decades of education and awareness, 2022 will be a breakthrough year for tearing down barriers to play and recreation. Communities will find more ways for people of all ages and abilities to come together in united, safe spaces. 

This playground trend encompasses many things, including wide ramps for people who use mobility devices, sensory play opportunities for those with sensory processing disorders, or even a braille panel to raise interest in the braille code. 

Children playing on GT Wave Net Climber from GameTime

One of the most significant strides in inclusive play is the GT Wave®. The GT Wave is the industry's first net climber with a transfer platform attached to an accessible route leading to a six-foot zip slide. Children of all abilities experience a wide range of play adventures and physical, social-emotional, and cognitive skill development. 

2. Intergenerational Play Will Bring People Together  

2022 will also show an increase in popularity among intergenerational play spaces. Studies show when adults and children engage in playful activities together, they experience more profound and significant benefits than playing alone. It’s time to create play and recreation spaces that encourage all generations to play together and learn from each other. 

Mom and son play on the GameTime Surfboard

Communities will look for more ways to create playful moments between children and adult caregivers. Our Expression Swing is a great way to bring children and adults together and experience attunement, or emotional bonding. The patented face-to-face and eye-to-eye design allows caregivers to get a front-row seat when children’s eyes light up during play. 

3. Expanding Outdoor Fitness for People of All Ages and Abilities 

Playgrounds are no longer only for young children. It’s time to get the whole family outdoors! 

Community Champion Ali Cross worked with her campus recreation team at Virginia Tech to install an outdoor fitness park for students and faculty. The centerpiece of the space is a THRIVE fitness unit. It’s a popular destination at the university where students exercise, play, and socialize outdoors. 

Students at Virginia Tech exercise on GameTime outdoor fitness equipment

Outdoor fitness spaces are also becoming popular among people of advancing age. Products such as the GTFit line meet adults where they are and prepare them for the next step of their fitness journey, regardless of their age or fitness level.

4. Personalized Play Spaces Will Transform Communities and Inspire Imaginations  

After all the hardship our society has experienced since 2020, people adopt a more empathetic and profound way of thinking. People want to identify with the people, places, and things around them. 

GameTime understands this sentiment and has expanded our custom playground division, Landmark Design, more than ever before. Landmark designs custom and themed playgrounds that pay tribute to a community’s heritage and culture or offer educational opportunities during play. 

Custom playground elements on a GameTime playground

Community Champion Christian Kane decided to use custom design to create an inclusive space-themed playground in Toms River, NJ. The space theming represents dreaming big, and the dedication to making your desires a reality, like the first astronauts who went to the moon.   

5. Playground Towers Make a Big Statement

GameTime recognizes the renewed interest in creating elevated play areas that encourage positive risk-taking and allow children to gain a new perspective of the world around them. In 2022, playground towers will utilize innovative design techniques to make them possible for more people and places. 

GameTime Playground Tower

Our Spire Towers, for example, use square platforms to save space and reduce cost. This makes it easier for customers to add playground towers without worrying about space and budget. 

Can’t find a tower that fits your playground’s needs? Customization is the basis for our Altus Towers with their large assortment of roofs, panels, foundations, and bases. 

The Future of Play is Bright

2022 is shaping up to be a revolutionary year for playground trends and design. After the hardships over the last two years, playgrounds are welcome places that bring people of all ages and abilities together.  

Playground design is also more thoughtful with custom and themed components that capture the heart of a community or space-saving playground designs that encourage positive risk-taking.  Outdoor fitness equipment is also rising in popularity, and more parks and colleges are starting to install equipment that promotes health and wellness for years to come. 

2022 will be a year of meaningful innovation, and GameTime wants to help everyone create playful outdoor spaces that make a happier and healthier tomorrow. Contact a GameTime representative today to help give your playground a well-earned update.