Inclusive Playground Equipment

inclusive playground equipment by KOMPAN

All children are different. They each have their personality, their strengths, their individuality. But universally they share an urge to play. According to KOMPAN Play Institute research, children, including children with disabilities, share common wishes for playgrounds to be thrilling, with varied play activities and being with friends.

Since the establishment of the KOMPAN Play Institute in the Eighties, inclusive play and universal design have been part of KOMPAN DNA. Universal design welcomes all users, regardless of their abilities. It means an inclusive approach: all people cannot necessarily play on everything, but all should be able to play on something. We call it play for all. Equity in playground access and use is a fundamental responsibility of our communities. The KOMPAN Play Institute is there to make sure that the right, documented solutions are provided.

The mission of inclusive play is to unite everyone, regardless their abilities, through play.


This publication showcases KOMPAN Play Institute’s recommendations for universal and inclusive playgrounds, based on inspirational cases of universal playgrounds, design points for universal play equipment, and the Institute’s most recent research and user observation on inclusive play.

Universal design and inclusive playgrounds are fundamental to KOMPAN’s DNA.

The KOMPAN Play Institute has engaged in testing and developing play activities for all children including children with disabilities, since the early 1990s.

An inclusive playground can be accessed and enjoyed by all children – with and without disabilities.

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KOMPAN research on special needs playground equipment
KOMPAN truly inclusive playground research

Children with disabilities also want thrilling play activities with friends


This study examines the degree to which non-specialized, age appropriate play equipment and playgrounds can be usable to children with mobility and learning disabilities, as well as to typically developing children. Good inclusive playgrounds aren’t more complicated, more time or space consuming than other playgrounds. Read the white paper to make well-informed decisions about what kind of playgrounds are truly inclusive and highly thrilling for all their users. Cooperative play between children with disabilities and typically developing children is beneficial to all. It improves self-efficiency, tolerance, and empathy in both groups.

Therefore, KOMPAN’s aim is to make playgrounds more inclusive, by drawing upon universal play formulas. Simply stated: to unite children in play.

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Children with disabilities have less than half the chance of accessing playgrounds 

Play between children with disabilities and typically developing children support the areas of self-efficiency, tolerance, and empathy in both user groups.

This survey from the KOMPAN Play Institute shows that 71% of the wheelchair users found their nearest playground to be inaccessible. It further points out what activities the children prefer.

Playgrounds are well-known motivators for effectively getting children to be physically active, in a fun way.

However, in order for this to truly apply for children with or without disabilities, playgrounds need to be equally accessible and interesting to both groups.

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KOMPAN research, equality in play

Commonly asked questions


All children are different. They each have their own personality, strengths, and individuality. But universally, they share an urge to play. An inclusive playground is designed to develop the physical, cognitive, sensory and social skills in children of all ages and abilities. I

Inclusive playgrounds have numerous benefits for communities. In Australia, they are destination gathering spots for visitors from all over. They help kids learn to be sensitive and empathetic. But best of all, these spaces help reduce the social stigma around disability by removing physical and social barriers that Australians may face by bringing communities together in a playful way. 


Why should inclusive playgrounds be build?


Everyone benefits from playing together – across ages, genders, nationalities and abilities. Studies show that children with disabilities who play with typically developing children grow and develop their understanding of their own abilities and strengths and gain a positive self-image. For typically developing children, direct contact with peers with disabilities positively affects their empathy and tolerance. Play solutions for all make it possible for all children to interact. This decreases loneliness and fear of contact.



What is the key design considerations for inclusive playgrounds?


KOMPAN's key design principles for inclusive playground design includes: 

  • Offer accessible, inclusive passages and infrastructure pathways and signage
  • The site needs to include accessible, relevant ground-level activities
  • Consider access and egress motivations and the possibility of relevant elevated-level activities
  • Support thrilling, challenging, sensory and tactile play experiences 
  • Support social interaction with group or parallel play activities 
  • Include variation in play activities such as quiet, physical, social, cognitive and creative activities 

What can KOMPAN offer?


KOMPAN works with schools, landscape architects and developers to design inclusive play spaces throughout Australia. Solutions can be anywhere from creating a custom play structure to offering standard catalogue items such as the Wheelchair CarouselPlay PanelsSensory and Tactile unitsRamped Structures and Inclusive Net Climbers

To learn more, read KOMPAN's Play for All Whitepaper.