Evaluating your Playground for SEN Play

One of the most important things you can do with a playground is ensure its suitability for children with special educational needs (SEN). Without ensuring that a playground is fully accessible, this runs the risk of alienating children that need extra support or specialised equipment in order to play. Here at PlaySmart, we want every child to enjoy their playground to the fullest. In today’s article, we discuss how to evaluate your playground for SEN play, ensure that you are meeting SEN children’s needs, and suggesting any improvements that can be made.


We might be biased, but playground safety surfaces are a vital part of evaluating a playground! It can make a huge difference in how accessible your playground is, too, as certain surfaces are much more wheelchair-friendly, or easier to navigate on crutches for example. Our top picks are below:

  • Rubber wet pour. Mixed on-site and poured into place on your playground, wet pour is a smooth surface that wheelchairs can easily roll across. This makes the playground experience so much easier for those with disabilities – uneven surfaces mean that wheelchairs can’t navigate across, so it excludes children in wheelchairs from accessing the same equipment and resources as their able-bodied counterparts. Wet pour can also be easily customised with different colours and patterns – see our wet pour solution for examples.
  • Artificial grass. Thanks to its smooth, flat surfacing, artificial grass makes for an easily accessible ground option, as wheelchairs can easily roll across. Additionally, it has a very robust makeup, and can withstand heavy footfall , so you don’t have to worry about how much traffic your turf can take. Our Green Frog Artificial Grass is a perfect example of a robust and smooth safety surfacing option.
clean wetpour
Sensory Activities

SEN children can often benefit from engaging their senses in positive and educational/recreational activities. The play market is overflowing with brilliant and creative ways of engaging children in sensory-centred activities, and there are no end of ways to make your playground as inclusive as possible. Start by asking yourself if your playground has a good range of sensory activities. If the answer is no, you should definitely invest in some sensory equipment. It can help calm down children, improve their focus and concentration, and provide a way of including them in play that takes into account any learning differences they may have. Some examples of sensory activities or equipment for your playground can include:

  • Tangible activities. Focusing on sense of touch can be a great grounding exercise, and provides a fun and involved experience. Sand and water play are popular fixtures in many playgrounds, as they provide a safe but inclusive play activity that engages the senses in positive and creative ways.
  • Music therapy has many proven benefits, and can improve mood and concentration. On a more localised level, incorporating sound play into a playground can have great benefits for SEN children. Whether this is placing some windchimes around your playground or investing in musical play equipment, children are sure to respond positively by having a sensory output to play with.
Play Panels

The sheer volume of play panels on offer means there is something for every child. With indoor and outdoor options available, interactive and sensory options to choose from, and a wide range of activities able to be incorporated onto these panels, they make the perfect addition to any playground. If considering ways to make your playground more SEN-inclusive, play panels can be effective at encouraging role play and imaginative exploration.


SEN children can often struggle with sensory overload, which can make social situations very overwhelming. In instances like this, they will benefit from having a quiet and removed area to retreat to and calm down from their senses being overloaded. There are lots of creative solutions that you can include in your playground; whether you can landscape a secluded garden area, install a hut or have an area underneath a larger play structure for retreat, all of these options will help children take the opportunity to recalibrate and not trigger any emotional bursts caused by sensory overload.

Next Steps?

Whether you’re planning a brand new playground, or your current site could do with some TLC, the team here at PlaySmart are ready to help. Our industry-leading safety surfaces mean that you can rest assured you’re getting a quality job from an experienced team every time. Contact us using the form below today for a speedy response, and we’ll help get your amazing new playground off the ground.

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