Around 150,000 pupils attend nursery schools in the UK every year. Many more also attend private nurseries at least some of the time before they begin official preschool. During their time at nursery, children will start to become aware of basic academic concepts, receive support in basic language skills, and are encouraged to build social skills as they grow and develop. 

“Children cannot bounce off the walls if we take away the walls.” – Erin Kenny

Nurseries will encourage children to enjoy time inside, as well as facilitating time outdoors. Time outside is so important for little learners, who are proven to have increased wellbeing after spending time in nature. Toddlers and preschoolers can also experience an increase in confidence, ability to concentrate and stress reduction from having time outside. 

“Nature is a tool to get children to experience not just the wider world, but themselves.” – Stephen Moss

Amazingly, despite all of those benefits already being present, there is a way to enhance the time nursery school pupils have outside even more, and that is with outdoor equipment.

The right outdoor equipment can help children to get even more educational, physical and emotional benefits from their time in nature. Of course, the tricky part is choosing the right equipment. There are so many amazing choices available, it can be hard to know which equipment makes the most sense for your outdoor space. With the following tips, though, you’ll have a much better idea of how to choose the best outdoor nursery equipment for your needs: 

The Available Space

It is important to consider the space available for the new equipment. It may be one main piece of equipment, like a mud kitchen, that makes sense for your nursery. It may be that there is room for several items to help cater for various groups of children at any one time.

A professional early years play equipment company can discuss different options for the available space, including considerations like recommended surfacing and safety guidelines for space surrounding equipment that involves climbing.

Ultimately, the design comes down to your ideas, wants and needs, but the experience and knowledge of an established expert company will help you to maximise your outdoor nursery space as much as possible. 

Number Of Children

Some pieces of equipment can accommodate several children at a time, and if you have limited staff to supervise, it may be better to have one piece of equipment to accommodate the average playtime group, rather than lots of different equipment in different areas. 

Of course, you can have off-limit pieces of equipment across your outdoor space too, perhaps with fencing to create different ‘zones’ and to help contain different activities with the layout. 

Regardless, it is worth knowing the maximum number of users per piece of equipment so you can get an idea of whether or not it will work for your nursery. 

Different Equipment Options

There are so many different options for outdoor playground equipment including (but not limited to): 

  • Age-appropriate climbing frames
  • Play towers
  • Mud kitchens and other sensory play equipment 
  • Gardening planters
  • Playground activity panels
  • Bridges 
  • Role play stations
  • Shelters
  • Dividers 
  • Swing sets
  • Benches and creative seating

Some nurseries specifically want an item to encourage more physical activity, such as a climbing frame. Other nurseries want to encourage imaginative play, something young children benefit from and love to do, so mud kitchens and dressing up stations take priority. 

If you do have an idea of the kind of benefits you are after, you can start to group equipment types together as you plan, and rule out certain categories presented to you. 

Otherwise, if you’re not looking for a specific equipment benefit, it certainly is worth having a range of equipment types to cover lots of different types of play and activity, so your kids can benefit in as many ways as possible from your new playground pieces. 


There are pieces of equipment to suit all budgets, and with nursery play equipment the priority should always be quality over cost. Of course, there are competitively priced companies that may undercut others, and there’s nothing wrong with finding the best prices, but safety standards and durability has to come first. 

A trusted outdoor equipment company will offer the best prices for the highest quality items, as well as a quote for installation and potential surface preparation needs. 

If you are unsure on pricing overall and feel a little in the dark as to how much playground equipment costs, speaking to an outdoor equipment company can be helpful as they can provide a quote (or several different designs and quotes) which can then be used for approaching grant schemes, or to use otherwise for fundraising efforts. 

Special Requirements

If you have special requirements because you accommodate children with special needs, you’ll want to speak to the equipment company about the accessibility and suitability of the items available. Certain items, like mud kitchens, are highly accessible, appeal to and accommodate children with a wide range of abilities. 


The more equipment you have, the more maintenance is needed to ensure that it remains as safe as possible for the kids in your care. You can have professional safety and maintenance checks done periodically by qualified professionals (at a cost), but everyday you’ll need to do basic checks to keep standards as high as possible. If time and employee numbers are restricted, it could be worth minimising how much equipment you purchase, or keeping it to one multi-functional piece of equipment like a climbing frame or play tower. 


Most high-quality play equipment is stylish and wooden in aesthetic, so it lends itself to a natural environment and goes with any playground design. However, there are bright, interesting colours usually integrated with different outdoor toys to add interest, and to entice children to engage and have fun with the item. 

Your play equipment company can also help with the overall design, so that the playground flows well, makes sense visually, and so that any central pieces like towers are placed in a way that puts them pride of place without overwhelming the space. 


“In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks.” – John Muir

If you would love to have more help choosing the perfect outdoor nursery equipment for the kids in your care, speak to the professionals today. They will be able to get an understanding of your needs, and offer you a range of products, installation options and quotes to help you move forward with your plans. 

Hopefully, whether you invest in a messy fun mud kitchen or an exciting adventure play tower, pupils will soon be able to make even more gains from their time outside at your nursery, day after day, year after year.