A Guide to Themed Indoor Playgrounds

If you have a facility frequented by kids, you know how much energy they have. Instead of quenching that pep, give them a way to channel it into healthy movement at an indoor playground. When you have a theme to your play area, the kids will be drawn to it even more as a fun, imaginative place to play. With the right play equipment, you can make kids and their parents happy.

What Are Themed Indoor Playgrounds? How Do Themed Playgrounds Differ From Traditional Ones?

Playgrounds have equipment that encourages kids to move, such as tunnels through which kids can crawl or steps they can climb. Traditional playgrounds may have colorful equipment but lack an overall theme.

Themed playgrounds take the benefits of traditional play spaces and expand on them. Both offer kids places to play and build physical strength. Themed playgrounds, though, also help kids build their imaginations. And sparking creativity at a young age can keep them dreaming big into adulthood, which can inspire creative problem-solving.

Kids use their imaginations all the time. But sometimes, they need a spark to get their dreams in motion. Themed playgrounds provide the colorful decor needed to immerse kids into another world.

Themes are important

When choosing an indoor playground for your facility, the ability to theme the space becomes even more important. You can tie the theme to your site. For instance, science museums may choose space-themed play areas. Nature centers could opt for a playground that features giant, friendly bugs. Train station themes fit perfectly into waiting areas for public transit to help kids pass the time.

Themed playgrounds are like miniature theme parks for kids. They have a place that creates a distinctive setting and encourages social interaction and physical activity. Plus, parents enjoy these spaces as ways to let their kids have an engaging, kid-targeted activity while they wait or as a break from the visit to a venue.

Indoor playgrounds work well for the business models of many commercial and non-commercial facilities. These playgrounds allow for play during any time of the year and in any weather because they do not need to close for rain, heat or cold.

Climate-controlled spaces for indoor themed playgrounds also make it easier to maintain these spaces because they do not get dirt, leaves, bird droppings or mud on them as outdoor play equipment typically does. However, as with all equipment, keeping the play area clean to remove germs is important for the kids who use it and their parents.

Installing a themed playground will provide your business or facility with a place to direct kids to for imaginative, creative and fun play that will please them and their parents.

7 Benefits of Themed Playgrounds

Themed playgrounds provide businesses and facilities with innumerable benefits. These can improve visitor satisfaction, boost the bottom line and help kids have fun while at your site. If you’re not sure if an indoor themed playground is ideal for your business, consider the following advantages of installing one:

1. Provide Businesses With a Competitive Edge

Perfect way to attract families

If you have a commercial business, an indoor themed playground is a perfect way to attract families and gain an edge against the competition. Compare two similar shopping facilities — one with an indoor play area and one without. The former will likely encourage parents to bring their kids to the shopping area and stay longer because they don’t have to hear that their kids are bored. Shoppers who stay longer may spend more money.

Your indoor themed shopping area can make you a preferred choice in the future for these same groups when they need to go out for goods or services. Therefore, your indoor playground gets people into your business and encourages them to return, further boosting your bottom line.

2. Draw Kids to the Area With Colorful Themes

Themed playgrounds rely on colorful set pieces to tie the elements together. Kids are drawn to bright colors, evident by the typical color scheme used in elementary schools and daycares. Use this same idea to grab kids’ attention from across your facility to draw them into the indoor play area.

Color only plays one part in how well the playground brings kids to it. The theme-connected elements of the play space will also draw kids in. When you choose a theme that connects to your business, you give kids a place to go that relates to their parents’ reason for visiting. A train- or clock-themed playground at a train station can make kids excited about riding on the train by playing on a train-themed playset instead of being bored while waiting for their transit to arrive.

3. Get Kids and Parents Excited About Coming to Your Site

Adding an indoor themed play area to your location can make kids excited to come. A pediatric dental clinic with a themed play space inside or adjacent to the waiting room can make kids feel excited about coming for a dental checkup. Theming the space with teeth or dental topics and using signage to teach kids about oral hygiene can double the play experience into an educational one.

Places don't feel welcoming to kids

Many places where parents go don’t feel welcoming to kids. But they can become mini vacations for the younger family members when they know playgrounds are available. Kids can enjoy a car-themed play space while their parents shop for a new car at an automobile dealership. Community centers where parents may engage in classes or meetings can feel more fun for kids to visit when a playground awaits them.

4. Make All Visitors Feel More Welcome

You can also use the indoor playground as an attractive way to advertise your business as a family-friendly location where kids and parents can feel welcome. For example, gyms are typically aimed at adult patrons. But if you install a kids’ playground inside to promote child fitness and fun, you can make your facility a place where parents and their kids feel welcome.

Welcoming kids is also important to kid-centered attractions. Restaurants, even those that serve kids’ meals, still need to make kids feel like they are valued customers. Adding a playground can do that.

5. Improve Kids’ Health Through Interactive Play

Play is an important part of growing up for kids. They learn how their bodies work, build friendships and engage in creative imagining. With indoor themed playgrounds, you can promote all three of these for the kids who come to your facility. For instance, while places of worship serve kids’ spiritual needs, they may need play areas to cater to kids’ requirements for physical activity.

Playgrounds offer play in ways video games don’t. Kids can move their entire bodies on playground elements inside as they climb and move around. Play with peers helps them create their own games and imaginary stories to build creativity and social skills. With indoor playgrounds, you help the health of all kids who use the elements.

6. Promote Your Brand With Customized Logos and Colors

Themed playgrounds can help you promote your brand to current and future customers. Logos and company colors on the playground elements connect the equipment to your facility. Parents will see the logos and see that you care about them and their kids while at your business. Kids will grow up with a positive association with your brand because they remember having fun in the playground as youngsters.

Kids will grow up with a positive association with your brand

Because you can customize elements of the playground, the colors and the theme, you have control over the visual experience that kids and adults have. An indoor themed playground can become a subtle means of advertising while meeting your customers’ needs.

7. Offer Play for a Variety of Ages

Thanks to the ability to customize your indoor play space, you can choose themes and elements that cater to a variety of age groups. If your facility has mainly toddlers, select elements for this younger group. For general use for elementary-aged kids, you have many options for indoor play spaces.

You may even want to have elements for both age groups to have a separate playground space for younger kids and one for older ones. This option is ideal if you have adequate space because parents with toddlers can keep their younger kids separate from older ones.

Another way playgrounds can benefit multiple ages is if your facility offers programs for older children but not for younger groups. Museum classes or kids’ gym classes are options you may have for elementary-aged kids. Toddlers with their parents’ supervision can wait at the indoor playground while older kids attend.

Starting a Themed Playground

Starting a themed playground in your facility or business involves careful consideration. Consulting with professional playground designers to create a customized option will help you plan the perfect play area for your business with a theme that kids can get excited about. Follow these steps to begin:

1. Plan the Play Area

The first stage of any project is planning for the play area. You need to collect information to determine who will use the playground and where it will go. This data will make it easier to find the right theme and equipment to meet your facility’s needs, so consider:

Collect and consider information

  • Demographics: Try to determine whether you have more local residents or tourists frequent your venue. For tourists, you may have a wider range of ages visit your location than a place that only serves locals. A pediatric clinic considering a themed indoor playground will serve more locals than a children’s museum that will have both tourists and locals visiting in greater numbers.
  • Space: Decide the amount of room you can dedicate to a play area. Not all indoor playgrounds are large. You can get custom designs to fit any space you may have available. Don’t let a small space deter you from constructing an indoor themed play area. Instead, let it instruct you on your available choices.
  • Placement: For placement of the play area, make sure you have a spot where parents can supervise their kids. The play space should also be easy for kids to spot as soon as they enter. Prominent placing is important if you want kids to use your play area.
  • Uniqueness: Consider how you should make your indoor play area distinct from your competition. Choosing a theme could be a simple way to set your business and its playground apart. Also consider how you can connect the play area to your business by using your company’s colors or logos. Remember the power of advertising your new play area. Build anticipation during the planning stages by using ads that describe the themed playground as a coming attraction.

2. Budget for the Project

Establish a budget for your indoor themed playground. This budget should include everything needed for:

  • Preparation: The preparation for the play area includes startup costs for preparing the site with utilities.
  • Installation: Installation fees include the costs of the playground equipment and professional construction or setup of them.
  • Maintenance: For the maintenance of the play area, consider the costs of keeping the space clean and encouraging kids to use it.
  • Advertising: Advertising as part of the budget can ensure your indoor play area provides a boost in business to financially justify the decision. Estimate profits from the project after completion to help you see the return on your investment.
  • Licensing: You must factor in the costs of acquiring licenses and insurance to protect your business, thinking about extras like consulting fees, as well.

Paying for the entire project upfront

Even small spaces and tiny budgets can include the installation of indoor themed play areas. Financing with a lease-to-own program can help to pay for the playground. Instead of paying for the entire project upfront, you lease the equipment over time until you finish paying for it. This option makes it possible for businesses with tight budgets to still integrate themed indoor playgrounds into their spaces.

As with space, use your budget as a guiding factor for the type of playground you can install in your business rather than whether you can have one. There are indoor playground options available for all budgets.

3. Design the Indoor Themed Playground

The design stage includes choosing the playground equipment and laying out the space around it. You should have seating available for parents to watch their kids, restrooms nearby to accommodate children and adults and tables if you have food served.

When selecting a themed indoor playground, your design choices are easier because all elements in the playground fit the established theme. The theme should pair well with your business. Food service sites may want to create food-themed play spaces, such as the Candyland theme. Matching the theme to your company makes the playground feel more organic to your business and like more of a service to your customers.

While the playground will draw most kids, you can supplement the play space with toys and other elements, too. These should match the color and theme of the main play area. Musical instruments designed for kids are perfect as standalone features to augment a playground.

4. Acquire Licenses and Insurance for Indoor Play Areas

Check with your local regulations for licenses to ensure you can legally operate an indoor play area. In the United States, if you want your playground to operate separately with a different name from your business, you may need a Doing Business As (DBA) license. If you will use the play area as an amenity of your business, it may fall under your existing business license. Always check with a business attorney to see which licenses you need.

Liability insurance protects your business

You will likely need additional insurance, too, for the play area. Liability insurance protects your business in the event of unexpected incidents in the play space. As with any type of legal question, talk to an attorney for specific information for your business type and regional laws you must follow.

5. Prepare the Site

Get the site ready for the playground installation. If you have a designated spot already chosen, rope it off to prevent foot traffic from passing through. Place signs alerting your visitors of the coming play area and to return when it is ready for use.

Train any employees who will offer assistance at the site as guides. Parents should be responsible for supervising their kids in the play area. The guides will not be like lifeguards. Instead, they will work to promote the play area and encourage kids to try out the new equipment. They can also be on hand to clean up spills quickly to reduce downtime for the play area.

6. Install the Playground

If you select a turnkey company for your indoor themed playground, you don’t have to worry about hiring contractors to install the play elements. Trained, certified and approved professionals piece together the indoor themed playground components to ensure proper installation and stability. Once they finish, you can open your play area for kids at your facility.

7. Promote Your Indoor Themed Playground

Promoting your playground is critical

Promoting your new indoor themed playground is critical. Kids won’t come to the play area if they and their parents don’t know about it.

Let the public know about the new playground online through your website and social media pages. Remember the effectiveness of multimedia and use video of kids enjoying the play space to further advertise the playground.

Use signs throughout your facility to also get kids to try the play space. Put signs with kids in mind at their eye level while promoting the benefits for their parents in signage placed at the height of adults.

During your advertising, make sure you emphasize the benefits of the indoor themed play area and how it sets your business apart from your competitors.

8. Maintain the Play Area

Keep up with the maintenance of the indoor playground. Because you have it under a covering, you don’t need to worry about snow, ice, rain or mud getting on it from overhead. However, you will still need to clean it because kids can bring in dirt from outside on their clothes. If you serve food nearby, spills may occur.

Keep cleaning supplies handy and a trained employee ready to respond as soon as an incident occurs. Check the playground before opening and at the end of each day to look for any parts that may show wear or need replacement.

Generally, indoor playgrounds require minimal maintenance, letting you focus more on how the addition can benefit your customers and your business.

Explore Indoor Themed Options With Soft Play®

Create customized indoor themed play areas to fit any space or budget with our experts at Soft Play. For more than 30 years, we’ve served as a turnkey solution for play. Our options meet the needs of kids, their parents and the businesses that use our products. Browse through our line of indoor playground options to find what you want for your play place. Then contact us at Soft Play with questions or request a quote!

Explore indoor themed options with Soft Play

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