Skip to content

Top 10 Playground Trends of 2023

Wallaroo Park, Montgomery TX

Playgrounds are not just places for children to have fun, but also spaces for learning, socializing, and developing skills. As playground technology and design evolve, new trends emerge that reflect the needs and preferences of children and communities. Here are some of the top 10 playground trends in 2023, featuring playground equipment installed by Kraftsman Commercial Playgrounds & Water Parks and manufactured by several of our partners, Superior Recreational Products, Greenfields Outdoor Fitness, and Yalp Interactive.

1. Inclusive Play

Inclusive play creates playgrounds that are accessible and engaging for all children, regardless of their abilities, backgrounds, or cultures. It features equipment that is designed to accommodate a range of physical and cognitive abilities, such as ramps, swings, slides, sensory panels, musical instruments, and more. Inclusive playgrounds also promote social interaction and diversity among children, fostering a sense of belonging and acceptance. Kraftsman offers a variety of inclusive play equipment such as the Inclusive Orbit, Half Maze Activity Panel, Serenade Musical Instrument, and the Inclusive Swing Seat.

2. Active and Challenging Play

Active and challenging play encourages children to push themselves physically and mentally, building strength, agility, confidence, and resilience. Play equipment includes obstacle courses, climbing structures, balance beams, monkey bars, zip lines, and more. These types of equipment challenge children to overcome obstacles, test their limits, and compete with themselves or others. Kraftsman provides a range of active and challenging play equipment, such as the X-Treme Ninja Course, the Adventure Series, and Ascend Rope Climbers.

3. Natural Play

Natural play refers to playgrounds that incorporate natural elements or mimic natural environments, such as trees, rocks, water, sand, grass, and more. This type of play stimulates children’s curiosity and imagination, as well as their connection to nature and the environment. Natural play also offers sensory experiences that enhance children’s development and well-being. Kraftsman offers natural play equipment that blends seamlessly with nature, such as Grounds for Play playgrounds series, Tree Stump climbers, and the Faux Log Tunnel.

4. Intergenerational Play

Intergenerational play means creating playgrounds that are enjoyable for both children and adults, encouraging family bonding and community involvement. Intergenerational playgrounds feature equipment that is suitable for different ages and abilities, such as walking paths, fitness stations, game tables, benches, picnic areas, and more. They also foster social interaction and communication among different generations, creating opportunities for learning and sharing. Play equipment that appeals to all ages includes the See Me Swing, Interactive Sona Arch, Sutu Soccer Wall, or outdoor fitness equipment.

5. Sensory Play

Sensory play refers to playgrounds that stimulate children’s senses of sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste through various features and activities. Sensory play enhances children’s brain development, cognitive skills, creativity, and emotional regulation. It also supports children with special needs, such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and sensory processing disorder (SPD). Kraftsman offers sensory play equipment from that engages children’s senses, such as the Contrabass Chimes, Tenor Tree, or Texture Panel.

6. Themed Play

Themed play means creating playgrounds that have a specific theme or story, such as animals, space, pirates, fairy tales, and more. It sparks children’s imagination and creativity, as well as their interest in learning about different topics. Themed play also adds aesthetic appeal and uniqueness to playgrounds, making them stand out from others. Kraftsman offers themed play equipment that transports children to different worlds, such as the Train Fueling Station Themed Recycled Playground, Inclusive Barn, or Pirate Ship Themed Recycled Playground.

7. Educational Play

Educational play means creating playgrounds that incorporate learning opportunities and educational content, such as math, science, history, art, and more. This type of play enhances children’s academic skills and knowledge, as well as their curiosity and motivation to learn. It also supports children’s social and emotional development, as they interact with others and express their ideas and feelings. Play equipment that teaches children various subjects and skills includes the Alphabet Panel, the Solar System Panel, the Clock Panel, and the USA Map Panel.

8. Multifunctional Play

Multifunctional play means creating playgrounds that offer multiple functions and uses for different purposes and occasions. Play equipment is used for different activities such as climbing, sliding, swinging, spinning, and more. Multifunctional playgrounds also provide flexibility and adaptability to suit different needs and preferences of children and communities. Sample play equipment that provides endless possibilities for fun and play incudes the Expedition Series playgrounds and Ascend Rope Climbers

9. Sustainable Play

Sustainable play means creating playgrounds that are environmentally friendly and socially responsible. This may include equipment that is made from recycled or renewable materials, such as steel, plastic, wood, and rubber. Sustainable playgrounds also reduce environmental impact and promote environmental awareness and stewardship among children and communities. Play equipment that is durable, safe, and eco-friendly includes the Grounds for Play series and Shredded Rubber Mulch.

10. Customized Play

Customized play refers to playgrounds that are tailored to the specific needs, wants, and visions of children and communities. Equipment is designed and built according to the preferences and specifications of the clients, such as colors, shapes, sizes, themes, features, and more. Customized playgrounds also reflect the identity and character of the communities they serve, making them unique and memorable. Kraftsman offers customized play equipment that is personalized and customized to meet the clients’ expectations and goals.

To learn more about the latest trends in commercial playgrounds and how we can design and install a play environment that meets your community’s vision and goals, contact Kraftsman today at 800-451-4869 or visit

Kraftsman - The Fun Builders!

Kraftsman - The Fun Builders!