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Classrooms banner showing a wonderful Gazebo !

Summer 2020 for Outdoor Play

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Summer 2020 for Outdoor Play

What a start to the year we keep on saying. It seems like our world has been turned upside down but there are now some positive signs of things returning to some sort of ‘normal’. Many folk are talking of the new normal because we’re unlikely to see all things quite as they were for a few months to come with social distancing playing a key part in the recovery of our nation. So our outdoor shelters are proving popular to take the strain away and prevent crowded classrooms.

Here at Outdoor Play UK we’re making the most of things and our play equipment designers continue to work coming up with new designs for play equipment for children of all ages and there are some fun looking pieces taking shape. With schools mainly closed and play areas empty it is in many ways a good time to consider installing new outdoor play equipment. With most children at home the playing fields and playgrounds are empty. This means that our installation teams can make real progress installing anything form our popular play towers and climbing frames as well as swing sets and safety surfacing.

One group of outdoor play products that is getting a lot of attraction is the range of outdoor classrooms and shelters which come in various sizes and allow children to study in well ventilated spacious wooden areas while promoting social distancing.

Outdoor shelters and classrooms

The Dartmouth gazebo is a large octagonal building with open sides. This allows lots of natural light to flood while the providing a full dose of fresh air. Built entirely from sustainable timber, the Dartmouth Gazebo can be made to fit the space you have available and with having 8 sides there is a lot of scope for seating while keeping safe distancing in place. Wooden bench seating is used along the walls and when larger units are designed additional seats can be included in the centre while still observing the 2 meter rule. There are a few options with this outdoor classroom which include waterproof blinds, so if you did encounter the odd rain shower then the blind can provide some protection to keep the place dry.

Other bespoke outdoor class room designs are on offer and they all promote large open spaces with plenty of ventilation. Ideal for field studies and nature play centres these wooden units are made to measure but can be used as extensions to the traditional class rooms to allow more school children to be taught without compromising distancing rules.

So why not consider new forms of outdoor shelter to ease things when your school, academy or nursery returns allowing you to cater for more children without imposing any risks. All of our outdoor shelters and classrooms are built using sustainable materials including FSC pressure treated redwood timber this shelter is guaranteed for 20 years.

With our workshop back in production we’re ready to make and install outdoor play equipment for your school, nursery or academy. Why not get in touch so that we can help you plan your new outdoor play facilities.

A young girl on s play swing outdoors

Spring time and Outdoor Play

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As Spring marches on and the weather improves we all want to be spending more time outside especially children. For obvious reasons this year is the exception in that we are restricted in where we can go and what we can do. However this will pass and we will soon be free to enjoy the benefits of outdoor play.

So what are the key benefits of outdoor play for children ?

Ipads, tablets, television and gaming are the norm for children these days so they can end up spending far more time indoors than previous generations. There are many studies that show that this shift of behavior has some fairly negative impacts on children’s health and development. The same research also pointed out the benefits of outdoor play:


Playing outside brings numerous health benefits which are associated with having more space in which to play which in turn means that they are more active which helps with the building of fitness levels and strengthening of bones and muscles. This more active outdoor play also allows kids to burn off more calories which helps to stave off obesity. Sunshine also has major health benefits providing our bodies with essential vitamin D which we all need.

Social Skills

The increase in available space when playing outdoors generally means a less crowded environment. This makes it less intimidating for a child and allows them to come out of their shells and be more social. When children play together they benefit in so many ways including making new friends and talking more which develops interactive skills away from adults.


Outdoor play helps children to develop their learning abilities. Give them some play equipment and they realise that learning is not simply a classroom thing and can be fun.

Our range of activity panels is a good example of how this can work.

Well being

Outdoor play comes with freedom which in turn helps them to feel happier and calmer. It is known that vitamin D improves moods and happiness which in turn assists with having a positive mental attitude. Outdoor play combined with exercise also helps kids to burn built up energy especially for those children who can get fidgety when they’re sitting in a class environment for long periods. When these children get to burn up some of this excess energy then they can return to a classroom environment with better focus and concentration.


Being outside helps to stimulate imagination as the array of play objects provide inspiration and creativity. Our range of outdoor play products are made predominantly from wood to provide more of a natural experience for children offering them a more natural environment that is beneficial in many ways.

In the UK we have a reasonable climate that allows a good deal of scope for outdoor play. So encouraging a young child to try the slide for the first time or move on to some more challenging adventure trails brings a wealth of benefit as you can see. Outdoor play equipment helps kids to develop confidence and stretch their boundaries making them stronger both mentally and physically. Playing outside helps them to develop skills without adult interference by trying new things and gaining confidence as they go.

Trail time

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If you are looking for some trail adventure for your school, holiday park or play park then our selection of 29 wood built outdoor play pieces in unbeatable.

From bridges to beams, web walks to wobble boards we have it all here at Outdoor Play UK.

Our design, build and install team are working hard producing new equipment for adventure trails. Children of all ages enjoy the challenge these trail trials  bring and can’t get enough of climbing, swinging and balancing their way around the course.

Images of adventure trail equipment for play areasIf you are looking for a new piece for your trail or even looking for an entire adventure trail and you want advice or a quote then please don’t hesitate to call and we can visit your school or play park and see what space you have and how it could be used to its’ best potential.

These are a great addition to any playground and great for multi-children use. If you are interested, give us a call on 01803 814523 or message us on our social media.


Wooden outdoor play equipment in the making

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The majority of the play equipment that we supply and install is made from good old fashioned wood. Wooden play equipment is ideal as it is easy to work with, it is durable, it’s forgiving and it looks great.

Whether its a swing set, a climbing frame or a shelter, wood is the ideal material to make things from. At our workshop here in Devon we can make anything that you might want for your school playground or holiday park.

Wooden play equipment for schools & parksThe timber that we use is all quality pressure treated play grade redwood timber from FSC certified forests. This means that it will remain in good condition for a long time and is sustainable. So whenever a tree is felled for timber it is replaced with many more to ensure that we continue to have ample wood supplies for the future.

Wooden play equipment for schools and parks

Each piece of play equipment that we make is fully erected in our workshop. Once we are happy with the finish we dismantle it and send it away to be pressure treated. This process ensures that all the wood is treated with a friendly preservative which helps the wood to retain its condition for many years. This allows us to offer you the 20 year guarantee on all play equipment.

Making each piece of play equipment by hand means that we are able to make bespoke items to fit the space you have available at your school, park or holiday village. We offer a free design and quote service that allows us to give you some ideas on how to make the best use of the space that you have available.

By manufacturing in house we can provide the best of quality and value. So if you are looking for new play equipment for your play area then look no further and call us on 01803 814523 for a chat.

Children playing on a traversing wall

Five benefits of outdoor play for children

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The trend over the past decade has been for children’s play to become predominantly indoors and less active than previous years. iPads and television seem to dominate children’s play time and we are already seeing the disadvantages of this change of habit.

There are many in depth studies carried out in the UK that highlight the negative impact this change is having on children’s health and personal development. In the same period there have also been many studies that show the benefits of outdoor play for children so we decided to present the top five reasons for outdoor play below:


Top of the list is overall health. Children benefit massively when playing outside. Firstly fresh air is important to the development of healthy respiratory systems. With more space to play when outdoors children tend to be more active and their play more adventurous thus burning more energy and using more muscles to help develop both physical strength and other skills such as coordination. Playing outside can also expose kids to more sunshine providing them with much needed Vitamin D even in the winter months when there is less light.

Social development

Playing outside is less intimidating than indoor play for children partly because they are less crowded. This helps them to come out of their shells and express more of the emotion towards their play with others. In turn this makes them more likely to join in play with other kids which helps to develop their social skills. Outside play also encourages children to make new friends that they may not meet in indoor environments where there is less chance for interaction. Often outdoor play is also less supervised so kids can let their hair down and burn off some of that energy.


Learning through play is an important part of any child’s development and is often more agreeable for young children than learning in indoor environments. By adding educational equipment outdoors children are able to learn new skills and information in a calm environment. Musical play, puzzles and activity panels are very popular with young children and provide a great way to learn outside. It also helps kids to disassociate learning with the classroom and allows them to soak up information in new environments.


Often referred to as imaginative play, creativity flows outside where the constraints of indoor play are lifted. Children’s imagination tends to flourish when outside in the fresh air and this helps them to deepen their creative talents often inspired by the objects around them.


Playing inside tends to centre around screens these days whereas outdoor play equipment involves more risk and more excitement. Whether it’s a challenging rope walk or a scary slide children love challenges and it helps to boost their confidence as they push their boundaries and accomplish new and bigger tasks. This in turn often leads to children exploring more so they can get their teeth in to the next challenge. Often this exploration comes with an added bonus of not being guided by elders or adults, making the end result all together more rewarding.

If you are looking for new outdoor play equipment in the coming months why not look at our range and give us a call. We are happy to visit sites and advise on the best use of the space available whether it’s a park, a school playground or a holiday camp or caravan site we install outdoor play equipment all over the UK.

We also supply and install a range of outdoor buildings including classrooms and other shelters which allow children to be outside but also have a space they can group up in to learn and share their experiences providing all weather learning and play.

Outdoor learning in dens and shelters

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With outside classrooms, learning centers and other structures becoming more popular for schools, playgroups and nurseries our range of outdoor shelters and dens offers something for every purpose.

All weather learning and play is proving really popular with children as schools become more environmentally aware. Our range of play dens and shelters includes gazebos, playhouses, playpods, huts, teepees and various dens. All our outdoor play and learning products are produced using FSC pressure treated redwood timber that is guaranteed for 20 years.

Below you can see a before and after of a recently appointed gazebo that we built for a school to replace their old shelter which was looking a little tired. The open sides allow views of their surroundings while some bench seating allows the children to sit while drawing or painting. The weather wasn’t very kind to us but the new wooden gazebo shelter has a feather edge roof which helped us to keep dry ! This school gazebo measured 7meters by 4 meters but we build bespoke sheds, shelters and other outdoor learning buildings to suit your site and dimensions.

A gazeebo for school children learning

A before and after shot showing the old shed and the new gazebo

Brentor school where the above gazebo was installed love thier new shelter and said that they were delighted with the products and they were ‘excellent quality and will transform how we can use the field’ so we’re always pleased to hear that our outdoor play equipment has been a success !

Learning outdoors is a great way for children to feel inspired and learn about nature and conservation. Our larger outdoor classrooms will accommodate many school or nursery aged children allowing them to experience the health and other benefits of being outdoors.  These benefits often include improved moods and happier pupils as they learn to appreciate the outdoors, plus an improved learning experience for tactile and experiential learners particularly younger children who also find it improves their social skills.

Here is a wonderful wooden gazebo that we installed at another Devon school when the weather was slightly better:

Classrooms banner showing a wonderful Gazebo !

A beautiful wooden gazebo installed by Outdoor Play UK

Outdoor play is also important for the younger children and having a den or shelter adds to the fun and provides an ideal place for musical play or arts including drawing and painting. Other outdoor learning activities include wildlife studies where children can monitor the habits of different insects and mammals such as hedgehogs. The seasons can also be monitored with plants and flowers coming and going as the seasons progress.

Play activites such as our mud kitchens can be located in and around outdoor learning shelters allowing children to experience a wonderful array of opportunities including learning to mix, mash and blend materials while their scientific and communication skills improve and they gain understanding of how things work. Some schools and nurseries have also used water play items in their outdoor huts and shelters where making a mess or splashing about isn’t a problem.

If you are looking for an outdoor den, shelter or a gazebo for your school or nursery then please see what we have to offer here and get in touch !



A play circuit and Portesham tower in Plymouth

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Completed a week or two before the new term commences we were asked to install some new play equipment for a primary school here in Devon. The school has a nicely secluded play area with lots of space for playground equipment.

The wooden play tower at the primary school in Plymouth

The wooden Portesham tower provides lots of fun challenges for the children


A nice surprise awaits the children of Eggbuckland Vale Primary School in Plymouth when they return to school in a few days time. The outdoor play equipment consists of a wooden Portesham tower with climbing frame and a figure of eight play track complete with road markings.

The wood built play tower has its own roof, a raised deck area with climbing ramp for access and a rope walk over to a second smaller tower which has a traditional slide to exit back to ground. Built entirely from sustainably sourced timber which comes with a 20 year guarantee, the Portesham play tower is built over rubber safety surfacing.

The wooden play towers are bespoke and can be designed to fit the play space that you have and can include the features that you want. To see more of our bespoke play towers please click here

School playground racetrack with the wooden play tower in the background


The play track is shaped in a figure of eight and has white centre line markings. The track is made using wet pour safety surfacing which provides a nice smooth surface with lots of grip in all weathers. With a pedestrian crossing to the play tower and two artificial grass islands the track will be a great play space for children to ride bikes and scooters.

To see more of the safety surfacing that we offer please click here.

Built during the school holidays at the request of the primary school we hope the play area will benefit from the late warm spell that we are having here in Devon.

A busy summer for Outdoor Play

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It is always nice to hear positive feedback following the installation of play equipment. This summer has been particularly busy with our install teams working at schools and parks across the south west and beyond.

Although we install play equipment nationally, much of our work is relatively local. One such job was the play climber that we built and installed at Newtown Primary school in Exeter here in Devon.
Wooden play climber with climbing wallThe initial enquiry was received by us in the Spring of this year and we duly visited the school to view the play area and to discuss their requirements for new playground equipment. Described as ‘The village school in the heart of the city’ Newtown Primary school is tucked away in central Exeter and has limited outside playground space.

Playground equipment installed at Newtown SchoolOur challenge was therefore to design and install the playground equipment that they opted for in the limited space available and that is exactly what we did ! We designed a bespoke climber that incorporates so many features including a traversing wall, clatter bridge, monkey bars, spider netting, climbing grabs and much more.

Outdoor play equipment for schools

The climber and accessories were then surrounded with liquid pour safety surfacing which provides a soft compound to help avoid injury should a child fall. The safety surfacing is multicoloured to give the play equipment a bright and colourful appearance that it deserves.

Children playing on a traversing wallDuring the tendering process the school made it clear that they were looking for play equipment that ‘provided challenge and excitement’ and so that is what we delivered ! Whereas many schools prefer installation to occur during holidays, Newton Primary were happy for us to work during term time.

Play equipmet installed on coloured safety surfacing

As Sally the headteacher pointed out, they were keen for the children to see the construction of the play area rather than for it to magically appear following a holiday.

Colourful safety surfacing in school play areaFrom quoting to completing the build, this playground equipment project was turned around in just a few weeks and has proven very popular with the children of the school.  We certainly enjoyed the job and are very pleased with the outcome. You can read Sally’s letter here:

Newtown Primary School

Outdoor play UK buys a new truck

All aboard the play truck !

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With the team busy installing play equipment we thought it was time to nip out and buy a new truck to help us transport the play equipment to schools and parks.

The new Outdoor Play truck allows us to carry out more playground installations. It comes with a good-sized flat bed with hinged sides to carry the timber we use to build the play units and climbing frames and a nice lockable tool box to keep our tools dry and secure.

Emblazoned without company logo and themed art work it’s off to work we go to the next job where we’re installing swings and slides at a holiday park in Devon.

Timber play equipment of safety surfacing

Play equipment refurbishment

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We were called by a Devon school to ask if we were able to refurbish some of their outdoor play equipment while recycling as much as possible. In addition to the refurbishment we also made a new climbing trail and laid new bonded rubber mulch safety surface around the play equipment.

The finished product as you can see is a great array of wooden climbing frame, rope walks, climbing ramps and a traditional slide that provide plenty for the children to do at break times.

The best play equipment for children involves a diverse set of physical challenges that allows the kids to practice balancing skills and promote upper body strength while problem solving how to get from A to B without touching the ground.

Impact protection using safety surfacing

To ensure all play areas are safe for children to play we lay a safety surface beneath to protect the kids should they slip of fall. In this case a bonded rubber mulch surface was applied that gives a soft textured feel that promotes grip but also cushions the fall on impact.

Safe and robust safety surface solutions ensure fun can be had while minimising the risk of injury to users of the play equipment. Bonded safety surfacing is also environmentally friendly as it is made using recycled tyres that are shredded to look like wood bark chippings. These rubber shreds are then bonded together using a polyurethane resin that retains a soft feel once it has dried.

If you are looking to replace or install new play equipment please call us for a favourable quote and professional service.