Incorporating play areas into a church design is a powerful way to serve the needs of families with kids. Whether indoors or outdoors, play areas help make a church building a vibrant, welcoming space. Play areas not only serve the church community, but they also encourage visits from new families. Here’s an exploration of what to consider when including an indoor play area in your church design.

Indoor Children’s Play Area Essentials

Here are several key considerations to ensure an indoor play area is safe, functional, and enjoyable for children of all ages:

Equipment Choices: Decide between fixed equipment, which is permanently installed, and portable equipment that can be moved and stored as needed. Fixed equipment often includes larger installations, like slides, tunnels, and climbing structures, while portable equipment can consist of toys and smaller play stations that can be reconfigured based on the activity or event.

Restroom Accessibility: It’s a good idea to have restrooms located nearby or directly accessible from the play area. This convenience prevents children from having to wander far from the play space, which ensures safety and ease of supervision.

Maintenance Considerations: Regular maintenance is essential to keep the play area clean and safe. This includes routine cleaning of equipment, especially in areas like ball pits and slides, where dirt and germs can accumulate.

Use Play Areas for Community Engagement

Indoor play areas in a church building should not primarily be for use during worship services or Sunday school. They should be used for outreach such as venues for community activities, such as birthday parties or group meetings. Not only does this bring new people to the church, but it can also be a source of rental revenue.

Designing for Different Age Groups

One important characteristic to keep in mind for a well-designed play area: it should cater to a range of ages. For instance, toddlers (ages 3 and under) need separate, safer areas where they can play without the risk of injury from older children. These toddler zones might include softer play mats, small slides, and safe climbing structures.

For older children (ages 4-12), more complex equipment can be provided, such as larger climbing structures, tube slides, and interactive play stations. It’s also beneficial to include spaces where older siblings or teenagers can engage, perhaps with games or activities suited to their interests. The photo on the right shows such a multi-aged space.

Visibility Equals Marketing

Another important aspect of play area church design is visibility. Having the play area visible from the street can attract the attention of passing families, making them curious and interested in visiting. Large windows or glass walls not only allow for this external visibility, but also enable parents to keep an eye on their children from outside the play area. On the left is one such space, which is not only seen from outside the church, but is also directly off the entrance foyer.

To learn more about effective church design of children’s spaces and other elements of the church building process, join one or all our i3 webinars. Visit our website to see upcoming topics and to sign up.