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Thornton Primary's New Child-Led EYFS Playground

A Wonderful EYFS Playground For Imaginative Play And Outdoor Learning.


Thornton Primary School is a fantastic school that we’ve thoroughly enjoyed working with this past year. Recently, Paul Bayliss worked closely with the school to further develop their EYFS Outdoor Area and the end result, is a dream come true for their children.

Before our development, the EYFS area at Thornton Primary wasn’t inviting and lacked inspiration due to the plain tarmac flooring and its grey appearance. It actually used to be a carpark before they decided to turn the area into a playground for their ‘early years’ children.

The school wanted us to bring the playground to life and for it to become a hub for imaginative play. They wanted a colourful and inclusive area that would inspire their children to get creative and create imaginative worlds together. From viewing the playground, it needed more structure and better zoning for different types of play and learning.  

As the Tarmac flooring wasn’t sparking much creativity, we decided to revamp the surfacing to add colour and help better zone the playground. We created a zone surfaced with our natural-looking Playturf that would be a hub for some den-making, relaxing and imaginative play. The artificial grass surface offers great texture and children will feel comfortable when crawling and sitting on the grass… a great sensory experience.

For the rest of the playground, we decided to get creative with our Wetpour safety surfacing. Within the Wetpour, we created a Blue Roadway which can be interpreted as a river during children’s imaginative games. Roadways are brilliant for children when using their bikes and scooters and can give them a better understanding of the world through road safety. We surrounded the roadway with Green Wetpour to give the area a natural and bright looking field… who dares cross the river in the middle of the Shire.

Thornton Primary School's EYFS Playground

Within the Green Wetpour there is the designs of a '0-10 Number Line' and an 'a-z Snake' which will help the children learn about counting and the alphabet during playtime. To create zones for messy play, we used a splash of our Earth Brown Wetpour which is the perfect theme for a Mud Kitchen.

The zones were marked out, it was time to add our innovative playground range to their designated zone. In the artificial grass zone, we installed our WIgWam to provide a sheltered den area for role play activities and a Covered Sand Box for inclusive sensory play. The artificial grass is ideal here because children will be able to kneel, crawl and roll comfortably.

In the corner, we created a Story Telling Area to provide the children with a quieter and more tranquil place to reflect. The excellent trellis fencing helps zone the area away from the main action of the playground and children will love sitting on their mushroom seats during story time.

Pentagon Play WigWam for eyfs school playgrounds

Messy Play Zones 


Messy Play Zones promote the exploration of sensory experiences and fundamentals for social interactions, language and communication.

To bring the Messy Play Zone to life, we installed our trusted Mud Kitchen which is ideal for role play and developing fine motor skills. Children will work together to mix scrumptious muddy ingredients for them all important mud pies and cakes. By having a preparation area and serving hatch, children's imagination will run wild, pretending they own an Ice Cream Parlor or a Cafe.

We also included our Rope and Pulley System in-between our Quad Planter and the Mud Kitchen so that the children can transfer their supplies across when the kitchen runs low… Quick we need more leaves for my new mud cake recipe! Messy play Zones allow children to explore and work together in groups, further providing the essential fundamentals for social interactions, language and communication.

Pentagon Play Mud Kitchen for school playgrounds

Mark-Making truly comes to life in the great outdoors, so we created an area specifically for this. We mounted two chalkboards onto the existing fencing at the ideal height for the children to draw pictures or write down their feelings at the time.

Within the Roadway design, we installed pieces of our Trim Trail Equipment for physical development. The Balance Beam and Clatter Bridge provide the children with a great way to develop balancing and coordination through play… you can see by looking at the smiling faces how much the children have been enjoying it.

The area wouldn’t be complete without an opportunity for investigative learning through water play which is why included our innovative Water Wall. Our Water Wall teaches children about the water flow and science-based topics such as source to mouth.

Children can work together to pump the water to the top of the system which is also a great way for them to learn about the effects of gravity.

EYFS Playground Equipment

Plenty of smiling faces at Thornton Primary School


This was a truly fantastic project to be a part of and from going back to the school and seeing the children’s smiling faces, was worthwhile and the main reason why we do this job.

The children were full of energy when we visited and you could see that they had embraced their new playground with open arms. The playground is now better zoned, bright and a wondrous place for play and outdoor learning.

If you would like to find out how we could help transform your Early Years playground into an inspirational outdoor learning environment, feel free to Contact Us  through the website or speak to us live through our chat between 8am-5pm.

Thornton Road Primary School's new EYFS playground