Healthy relationships with Christ are formed at an early age. The more ways children enjoy their time at church, the more opportunity they have to learn about God and the stronger that relationship can be. This means special planning is in order to ensure that your church building or renovation project includes effective children’s spaces in its design.
Let’s take a closer look at options and factors you should consider when designing indoor play areas for your church.
Choosing the Right Equipment for Effective Church Children’s Spaces
A well-designed indoor play area is essential. The first question to consider is whether you want the play equipment to be fixed or movable. Movable equipment allows you to easily reconfigure your church children’s spaces to meet multiple needs. It also means you can put the play equipment in storage at certain times. This option is particularly useful with younger children’s play areas, which are smaller and easier to store.
More permanent play areas, like the one pictured above, allow you to install fixed play equipment similar to those found at fast food restaurant chains. In addition to creating single-use church’s children’s spaces, this fixed equipment will require more maintenance since it needs to be regularly cleaned, inside more than out. You also should decide how many children will be using each play area at a time, because the space needed and equipment cost can vary greatly, depending on that number.
Thinking Beyond Play
In addition to play equipment, you need to think about a handful of other important elements in your indoor church children’s spaces. First are restrooms, which if included within the play area itself, can keep children safe by eliminating the need for them to go to the foyer or another building.
The second important element can be seen in the front of this picture. Smaller children will almost always want to join the older ones on the play equipment, but if that happens there’s a risk that they’ll get hurt by the older children. This toddler play area is surrounded by a half-wall that prevents toddlers from wandering into danger, while still giving them their own play territory within your indoor church children’s spaces.
Another important element is providing a sitting space for adults while children are using the play area. In the back of this picture, you can see some tables with chairs. This allows adults to remain comfortably nearby and discourages the children’s play area from being treated as a daycare, where parents bring their children to play while they leave for a meeting.
Effective Church Children’s Spaces Work for Everyone
These tables and chairs can also be useful if the play area is to be opened to the community for birthday parties or other events. As we’ve said before, this is a great way to bring people into your church. If you have a specified space adjacent to the indoor play area, like a multi-use Sunday school room, children can open gifts and have cake there, then come into the play area—in any weather—to burn off some of that sugar and excitement.
A great way to attract older children is to install games, such as Nintendo and foosball. A play area that appeals to children of many ages is a good way to keep all children safely in the church.
All of these indoor play area ideas are discussed in our free i3 webinar series. To learn more about planning effective church buildings that meet the needs of all ages, click the link on our home page and sign up today.