An indoor church playground provides a fun, adventurous place for kids of all ages to interact with their friends. Like any other part of your place of worship, this play area should foster an environment for spiritual growth and personal development. Creating a church playground is easy when you have a well-developed plan in mind before you start.
Below, you’ll find different church playground ideas and learn why your church could benefit from having an indoor playground for families. Discover the options available with Soft Play®, including equipment with custom colors, sizes and styles.
Read the full article or jump to a specific section:
- What Should a Church Playground Achieve?
- How to Design a Church Playground
- Top Considerations Before Building a Playground
- Types of Church Playgrounds to Consider
- Benefits of Church Playgrounds
- Request a Quote From Soft Play
What Should a Church Playground Achieve?
Before you consider the structures in your church play area, think about what it should offer. Your place of worship might be a critical part of your local community, and your playground should be an inviting place to encourage your neighbors to grow spiritually. A church playground should accomplish the following for your congregation:
- Accommodate all age groups: A valuable church playground includes fun, safe activities for all kids to enjoy. Churches usually have families with kids in different age groups. Consider including equipment for both toddlers and teenagers. Since school-age kids like to play together, add elements that foster community and friendship building. You’ll also want to have equipment that suits a diverse group of people to attract families back to church next week.
- Be accessible for people with different abilities: Part of reaching the needs of your church’s community is creating a welcoming, enjoyable play area for kids with varying abilities. Consider how you’ll be able to accommodate the kids in your congregation who use wheelchairs or tend to get overstimulated. Your church playground should follow the American Disabilities Act’s (ADA) guidelines for play areas.
- Include church stories and values: The customizable options available for indoor play areas today allow you to reflect your church’s beliefs. Whether your church has a specific design theme or you want to use stories related to your beliefs, you can help kids learn and develop spiritually as they play. Consider adding musical features and decorative elements to encourage worship at a young age.
- Encourage physical and social development: Your church’s mission includes facilitating a community with a healthy spiritual well-being. Besides improving their spiritual health, an indoor playground creates an environment that encourages learning, growing muscles and building friendships. As the youngest members of your community learn stories and values they’ll carry into adulthood, it’s also helpful to give them a place to grow physically and socially. An indoor playground allows kids to learn negotiation and communication skills they’ll need as they develop.
- Provide comfortable seating for parents: As kids play in the playground, their parents or childcare workers need a comfortable place to sit as they supervise them. Consider putting benches or picnic tables in your indoor play area to make the best use of the space. This seating also allows parents to meet others their own age and build friendships as their kids play together.
How to Design a Church Playground
You want to offer the best possible play area for your congregation. Follow these tips as you create the plans for your church’s indoor playground to design something that suits your place of worship.
1. Determine Your Budget
Building a church playground involves financial considerations before you begin. You might need to get the approval of your congregation first before you spend money on your new playground. Discuss your budget options with your finance committee to discover how much you can spend and keep them involved in the process. Remember to include the following components in your budget plan:
- Design consultation
- Hardware and equipment
- Building materials
- Safety surfacing
- Site preparation
2. Envision Your Indoor Playground
Your church’s play area should blend in with the overall design of your place of worship. When you work with a professional design consultant, they’ll help you figure out how to make your playground accessible and practical for young church members. Before you meet with them, you might come up with your own idea of how you want the play area to look.
Think about what you want to accomplish by setting up a playground in your place of worship. Consider your congregation’s demographics and what specific age groups will use the play area. It’s also helpful to know how many visitors will play at once to determine how large you should make the area. You might want to include some historical characteristics or a particular theme to point to your church’s values, as well.
3. Design the Playground Site
It helps to put your play area near restrooms and other amenities so visitors can conveniently access them when they need them. Installing a play space near a popular area also makes it more attractive to families passing by. Once you know where you want to build your playground inside, you can analyze your budget and figure out how this play area will meet your church’s needs.
The National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Child Care and Early Education (NRC) recommends creating separate playing areas for the following age groups that may use your playground:
- Ages 6 through 23 months
- Ages 2 to 5 years
- Ages 5 to 12 years
You’ll also want to decide your kid-friendly playground’s theme while blending it with your church’s overall design. Consider what equipment you want to include and how challenging you want the equipment to be. Make sure you incorporate inclusive elements, as well, that make your playground accessible for kids of all ages and abilities. The design should be flexible to accommodate any changes you’ll need to make in the coming years.
Top Considerations Before Building a Playground
Before you start developing your church playground design ideas, keep the following factors in mind:
- The size of the space you have: Before you start building and designing a play area, it helps to know where it’ll be going. Find a spot inside your church that has enough space for kids to play in. Measure the dimensions of your desired location to have accurate measurements for your architect and building design consultant. You can find playground equipment that fits in plenty of free spaces you have in your church, but basements and other rec rooms are popular indoor playground locations.
- The location of the playground: You may want to set up your indoor play area away from quiet places in the building, such as the church sanctuary. Consider the flow of traffic and how it’ll affect kids playing. It’s also helpful to have your playground equipment near outlets to give parents a place to charge their phones or your maintenance staff to clean the area.
- The playground’s design: Consider what theme would be the most attractive to the kids in your church’s congregation. The play area can be an artistic addition to the church and a fun, educational place for kids to play and build relationships with their friends. Create an engaging experience to meet kids’ needs while their parents attend church services.
- The age range of your church’s youngest members: Think about the age of your church community’s kids and how they’ll grow over the years. Include playground equipment that appeals to kids of all age groups and encourages them to develop physically, mentally and spiritually. You might add a separate playground just for toddlers so they can play out of the way of the older kids, for instance.
- The number of kids using it at once: Your church’s indoor playground should be large enough for all the kids you think will use it at one time. Consider your congregation’s demographic and which kids attend each service. Remember to plan for events where you expect more kids to come, such as day camp or holiday services.
- The activities you want to include: Each playground structure comes with a unique set of activities that appeal to the kids in your church community. You might want to survey the members of your congregation and find out what equipment they’d like to see in your church play area. Getting everyone involved will promote a sense of belonging and make sure you’re meeting their needs.
- The best materials and surfaces for the area: Think about what materials and indoor surfaces you’ll want to put under your church playground. Your goal is to create a comfortable space for kids to walk on, but it should also withstand the wear it’ll endure over the years. Look for easy-to-clean materials, as well, to save time for your maintenance staff.
- The life span of the playground materials: Even though you may have a limited budget, you’ll need to invest in high-quality, long-lasting materials to get more out of the money you spend. Look for a company that offers durable playground equipment to keep up with the wear kids put on different components as they play.
- The ability for parents or childcare workers to supervise the kids: Your church’s indoor playground should be a place where parents feel comfortable bringing their kids. Configure the seating so that parents or volunteers can clearly view the kids as they play. You may also want to install a fence or barrier so kids don’t wander away from the area.
Types of Church Playgrounds to Consider
At Soft Play, we have a considerable selection of playground equipment for your church. Explore the following kinds of church playgrounds that we offer on our site.
1. Themed Playgrounds
Our design consultants have the flexibility to build playgrounds that accommodate your specific design. Creating a unique theme for your church playground allows you to bring religious stories to life. With your imagination as our inspiration, you’re in control of how we build your church playground. A themed play area also encourages kids to use their imagination, strengthening their creativity. We have the materials and equipment needed to accommodate any idea. Explore some of the designs we’ve already built, such as:
- Medieval Ultimate Adventure
- Train Station
- Candy Land
- Clock Tower
- Kid’s Clubhouse
- Under the Sea
- Ski Resort
- Recreation Center
- Community Center
Our Soft Play designers can customize your themed playground to fit within a designated space in your building. We can also suggest designs that accommodate the ages of the young members of your church. A play area with a theme encourages creativity with decorative elements that give the little ones who visit your church a fun, memorable experience.
2. Elementz Play Areas
Our soft-sculpted foam products are customizable to help you create a unique, interactive place for kids of all ages to play. These durable, modern play forms are ideal for indoor areas with limited space. They encourage healthy development for kids by helping them build confidence and learn necessary motor skills through climbing and interacting with one another. The colors resist fading and other damage from direct sunlight. The smooth surfaces are also easy to clean, keeping your indoor church play space looking new for years to come.
You can space out these soft-sculpted foam play elements so parents and other caregivers can conveniently watch kids play. Our Durasoft Flooring goes along with the appearance of each of our Elementz play pieces. Design your space with a playful blend of brighter shapes and darker colors to attract kids to come to play. Choose from various colors that create a positive environment that resembles natural elements, blue skies and sunshine, which kids will love.
Order products from our Elementz line individually or as a package. Choose from the following soft-sculpted foam products:
- Stepping Pods
- Wonder Dome
- Adventure Arches
- Action Tunnel
Besides these individual pieces, you can also order the following packages:
- The small option includes DuraSoft Safety Flooring, an Action Tunnel and three small Stepping Pods.
- The medium option includes DuraSoft Safety Flooring, a Wonder Dome, an Action Tunnel and two small Stepping Pods.
- The large option includes DuraSoft Safety Flooring, a Wonder Dome, an Action Tunnel, Adventure Arches, one large Stepping Pod cluster and two small Stepping Pods.
3. Pick & Play™
Our Pick & Play™ soft-sculpted foam play elements feature Toonies that help create an imaginative, engaging area for kids to play. Our Freestanding and Corner options both offer crawl tunnels, low-profile climbers and ramps to help kids develop motor skills, build confidence and have fun with their friends. Installing a Pick & Play™ area in your church provides a convenient, age-appropriate space for kids to play.
Since we have all these products on hand, we can quickly ship them to your location, and you can set them up as soon as possible. These options provide a cost-effective alternative to a custom play area so you can stay within your limited budget and timeframe. Our themed soft-sculpted foam products will help you design a fun, memorable play area for the little ones at your church.
We offer five design themes and three different sizes to help accommodate the space you have in your church for a play area:
Benefits of Church Playgrounds
Whether you’re bringing the idea of an indoor church play space to your congregation or you’re curious about the advantages yourself, consider the positives this space will bring. Your church could benefit from having an indoor playground on their property because it:
- Invites kids of all ages to play: If people near your church find out you have a play area for kids, they’ll be more likely to visit. Your playground tells the community that you’re a family-friendly church and you care about your kids’ well-being. When new visitors use the play area, take the opportunity to tell them about your place of worship. Parents can also interact with others their age when they bring their kids to play.
- Attracts younger members: Younger congregation members give your church a fresh perspective, influencing how you operate. If your church has an older congregation, your leaders might wonder how to attract young families. Younger parents and their kids might have busy schedules and find it difficult to attend church services regularly. But when they see a playground for their kids to play with, they might be more willing to visit.
- Promotes a healthy community: Having a play area on-site gives kids a place to release energy before church starts. Playtime also encourages cognitive development, improved attention spans and reduced stress. By providing an inviting place for kids to interact with one another, you show that you care about the little ones in your community. Kids will learn the importance of taking care of their bodies at a young age and continue these healthy habits when they get older.
- Gives kids a break from screens: School-aged kids should get at least one hour of physical activity every day. Even small kids spend too much time in front of screens, watching TV or playing video games on their phones and computers. But when they visit your playground, they have the chance to play and interact with other kids on a face-to-face level.
- Encourages fellowship: One of your church’s purposes is to foster an environment where kids develop friendships with those who share their beliefs and values. When kids interact at a playground, they learn the importance of empathy and teamwork, and they find things about their playmates that they appreciate. Sharing playground equipment and letting other kids go first down the slide can help them develop the interactive skills they’ll need later in life.
- Brings spiritual lessons to life: Kids might not have the attention span to sit through a long church service. Instead, they can learn important religious lessons through play and interactive activities. Kids can play on equipment that draws elements from your religion, creating hands-on worship lessons so they understand the foundations of your church’s faith.
- Creates a safe environment: Churches can become busy between services as people make their way to their cars and other parts of the building for meetings. When kids have a playground to play on, they have a space to stay contained in where adults and volunteers can keep an eye on them.
Request a Quote From Soft Play
Creating an indoor playground for your church gives you the flexibility to meet the specific needs of the little ones in your community. Kids can interact with one another and build friendships they might even carry into adulthood. Their parents and caregivers will visit your church and know you want to promote a fun, memorable environment for their kids while they attend a worship service or another event.
Work with a Soft Play playground design consultant to build your own custom play space for your church. Our goal is to provide a durable, colorful playground for all the kids of your church to enjoy. Browse through our photo gallery to get an idea of what we can design for you and your congregation. When you’re ready to start planning and building your church playground, contact us online to request a quote!