Published On: 15 January 2024787 words3.9 min read

Creating a playground where children of all abilities can play and learn together is vital for schools that want to be inclusive. When looking to make improvements to your outdoor spaces, it’s important to choose SEND playground equipment that caters for a range of different pupils’ needs, so that every child is able to take part in play and reap the many benefits it offers. In this article, we look at some of the best SEND playground equipment now available for schools.

Nest Swings

Swings have been a regular feature of playgrounds for generations. Nest swings are a more recent development, frequently seen in public parks, and are extremely popular for both those with and without SEND.

Unlike traditional swings, nest swings have a large, flat base, which can accommodate children with varying physical abilities. They provide vital sensory feedback, particularly for those with vestibular needs, helping with balance and spatial orientation. They also encourage social interaction and cooperative play, making them a fantastic addition to any playground.

Wheelchair-Accessible Picnic Tables

While traditional picnic tables are a regular feature of schools’ outdoor seating areas, the benches at either side and support structures at the ends mean wheelchair users struggle to use them. They can sit near to, but not at the table, and this can make them feel excluded from conversations and makes eating difficult.

Wheelchair-accessible picnic tables are designed with ample space for a wheelchair to fit comfortably, allowing children with mobility devices to fully join in with their friends. It also means they can put their food and drink directly on the table in front of them. Aside from eating and socialising, these tables can also be used for outdoor learning, ensuring all children can take part in those activities too.

Sensory Forest Huts and Sensory Tunnels

For children with sensory processing challenges, a sensory forest hut or sensory tunnel can be a sanctuary of learning and exploration. Fitted with features like coloured polycarbonate windows, chalkboards and various tactile surfaces, these huts and tunnels offer your pupils a multisensory experience that can be both calming and educational. At the same time, the y also provide a quiet space for children who might feel overwhelmed by the hustle and bustle of a busy playground.

Wheelchair-Accessible Mud Kitchens

Kids love playing in mud kitchens and they are great for encouraging imaginative and sensory play. A wheelchair-accessible mud kitchen is designed for children who may use wheelchairs or walkers, ensuring that they can join in the messy, creative fun as well. Mud kitchens also support social skills, with children working together to cook and serve their creations. For this reason, a triple-bowl wheelchair-accessible mud kitchen is ideal, as it lets children of all abilities play together.

Braille Alphabet Boards

Visual impairments should not be a barrier to play and learning and our Braille alphabet boards provide an opportunity for visually impaired children to engage with tactile learning. Featuring the Braille alphabet, basic punctuation and numbers, these interchangeable boards can help develop literacy and language skills while also enabling sighted children to learn about Braille.

Integration Swing Units

These special swings feature high backs and rigid hand grips that give essential physical support for children with limited upper body strength or balance issues, enabling them to enjoy the sensation of swinging. Aside from those with physical limitations, integration swing units can be soothing for those with autism, as the gentle rhythm of swinging can help them relax and focus.

Wheelchair Accessible Swings

For pupils who use wheelchairs, these swings can be a real boon as they accommodate wheelchairs directly onto the platform. This allows children to swing without having to leave their chairs.

With safety features like ramps and secure locking mechanisms, wheelchair-accessible swings offer a fun experience while ensuring safety. Besides giving the joy of swinging, they also enhance sensory integration, balance and spatial awareness.

Outdoor Percussion Instruments

Outdoor percussion instruments, such as drainpipe drums, chimes, washboards and rain wheels, provide SEND pupils with the opportunity to take part in interactive sensory play. These all-weather instruments help with the development of fine motor skills and auditory processing. Additionally, they encourage collaborative play as children can create music together in groups. Music making also has therapeutic benefits, providing stress relief and sensory stimulation.


A playground that features specialised SEND playground equipment can be invaluable for ensuring all pupils can benefit from play. Equipment like nest swings, wheelchair-accessible picnic tables, sensory forest huts, wheelchair-accessible mud kitchens, Braille alphabet boards, integration and wheelchair-accessible swings and outdoor percussion instruments ensure that children with special educational needs and disabilities have the same opportunities to play, learn and grow as their peers.

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