Thursday, March 29, 2018


Doug Knotts, President of Premier Park & Play, a playground equipment supplier for schools, towns, campgrounds, apartments, daycare centers and other community spaces in New England, celebrates his 25th Anniversary in the playground equipment industry.
25 year anniversary of playground equipment veteran Doug KnottsDoug earned a Master’s Degree in Recreation, Sports and Leisure Management from Northeastern University and has been an NPSI certified playground safety inspector since 1995.
Doug has a natural understanding of the things that would excite a child, and applies it toward the design of playgrounds. He takes a collaborative approach to playground design, engaging the community, staff and school kids. He even advises and supports schools and non-profits in fundraising.
A supporter of the environment, Doug has made a wide selection of eco-friendly playground equipment and playground surfacing options available to his customers. These include products made from recycled milk jugs and playground surfaces made from recycled rubber or wood fiber. He also made sure that his company’s products meets all the safety and accessibility by complying with ASTM, CPSC and ADAAG regulations.
Over the years, Doug has received many kudos from his customers, from City Parks and Recreations, Schools and Daycare Centers to Apartment Complexes and various Non-Profits.
“Mr. Knotts is always approachable and provides excellent service throughout the sometimes long and arduous process of planning, budgeting and actually installing new play equipment. He willingly meets with City personnel, elected officials and community members, and answers questions while providing helpful insight based on his many years of industry experience.”
“Doug Knotts was simply amazing to us and our cause. He even played in our poker tournament even though he had never played before just because he wanted to help us out!!! Which that RIGHT there speaks volumes to his dedication to the project.”
“Mr. Knotts has been a pleasure to work with, reliable, thorough, creative and understanding of the difficulties of fundraising for such a process.  He has a wonderful knowledge of his product, a creative type and a natural understanding of the things that excite a preschooler.”
“Doug’s considerate manner, attention to details on behalf of the customer and overall work ethic exceed the norm.  He is honest, patient and very dedicated to his customer and stands behind his product.”
For his part, Doug enjoys his work tremendously and looks forward to many more years providing fun and educational playgrounds for children all over New England!
About Premier Park & Play:
Premier Park & Play is a family owned and operated playground equipment supplier for schools, parks, child care centers, campgrounds and non-profits in New England. The Company is a state contractor for Connecticut and Massachusetts.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Designing Early Childhood Playgrounds

Designing a playground for early age kids involves more than choosing age-appropriate equipment. It’s important to design a whole play environment that helps them develop the skills they need and enjoy their playtime.  Whether you are designing for daycare centers or preschools, keeping a few key developmental needs in mind can help ensure that your playground design provides both skills development and fun.


Simple interactions with both equipment and environment can give kids experience with how the physical world works. Provide opportunities to push, pull, dig, build, roll, collect, or spill things. Try to include items that have multiple uses and/or settings that the children can alter by themselves to encourage hands-on discovery.

Sensory Engagement

Appeal to children’s senses.  Think beyond brightly colored equipment.  Engage touch, hearing and smell in addition to sight. Textured surfaces and natural materials can provide a range of different tactile experiences. Incorporating trees, gardens, and other natural features adds sensory appeal and encourages movement as well.


Consider the importance of risk and challenge. Children are built for adventure. They test their limits through play and repeat skills in order to master them. Provide graduated levels of developmentally appropriate challenges that nurture children’s natural curiosity and taste for adventure, allow them to try out their problem-solving and creative thinking skills, and build confidence.


Encourage imagination. Young children have an active imagination and naturally engage in creative play. Playgrounds that include structures like forts, tunnels, and other components that facilitate storytelling and dramatic play allow children to express their creativity, invent scenarios, and act out their imaginary worlds.


Support individual exploration and discovery.  Playground structures designed to allow opportunities for children to control the environment and select their level of risk without sacrificing safety build confidence and encourage independence.

If you need help designing a playground for your school or daycare center, contact Premier Park & Play at 617-244-3317 or email

Monday, January 1, 2018

The Power of Play

What are your favorite memories of childhood play? Chances are those memories happened outdoors and included a lot of nature-based activities like digging holes, chasing fireflies, building stick forts or sand castles, jumping in big piles of leaves, or just fooling around with dirt or water. Mud pies, anyone?

nature themed preschool playground equipment

Is it possible to form those kinds of memories today? Childhood has changed. With all the screen time, the lack of access to green space, and the emphasis on direct instruction and increased academic focus  in early childhood programs and preschools, it can be hard to squeeze in unstructured outdoor play.  We need to remember the importance of play in the child’s physical, emotional, and intellectual development.

Play is how children understand each other and make sense of their world.  They learn so much from play that it’s often called the “work” of childhood. Studies show that children learn best in an environment that allows them to explore, discover, and play.

Outdoor play in nature has a powerful impact on a child’s development. Research shows that school playgrounds with trees, fields, shrubs, and vegetated edges encourage creative play and build skills that will be valuable in academic learning too.  

There are entire preschools centered on nature play. One of the first in New England was established in 2006 at the Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center in Connecticut.  Several Massachusetts Audubon sanctuaries offer preschool programs.  However, nature play can be designed into the playground of your preschool using equipment designed specifically for early childhood outdoor play.  Nature of Early Play products, available through Premier Park & Play, reconnect children with the natural world through interactions with dirt, sand, water, animals, music, and plants.  Products like the Outdoor Classroom, Nature Bowl, and Garden Roof House provide hands-on opportunities for exploration.  For more information about preschool playground products, please contact Doug Knotts at 617-244-3317 or email

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Building a Playground for your Community

Building a community playground is a big project and can seem a bit overwhelming on first thought. Does it seem too big for your group to take on? As with any large and complex task, it helps to break it down into the essential steps.
Playground at Community Field, Holyoke

  • Set goals. Decide up-front what you want to accomplish. That includes creating a mission statement and a financial framework that includes both the build out costs and the ongoing maintenance costs for your playground project.  Things to consider when setting your goals are:
    • Any special requirements for accessibility
    • Environmental friendliness
    • Theme
  • Create a timeline. Schedule the activities you’ll need to accomplish from the start of planning until installation.
  • Assess the location. Gather information about the location you have in mind. Take into consideration physical things like drainage, type of soil, slope, and natural or man-made features of the site.  Assess how much space you need for safety margins around the equipment. Scope out the traffic patterns. Knowing the specifics of your site before you build and install will make for a smooth project.
  • Gather design input. Visit other playgrounds for inspiration. Solicit input from the community, especially the kids, on play structure themes and colors, site landscaping and layout, and desired amenities.
  • Obtain a professional plan. Chose a playground installer or landscape architect to turn the design input you have gathered into a professional plan that will meet your goals.
  • Identify funding sources. Consider a mix of traditional fundraisers, partnerships with local businesses, and local parks departments to fund your project.
  • Build it. Assemble your resources, both professional and community, and get that playground built.
  • Celebrate your success. Have a grand opening ceremony. Acknowledge your supporters. Start playing!
Are you planning to build a new playground for your school or community?  Premier Park & Play has an excellent track record of building playgrounds in New England.  Give Doug Knotts a call at 617-244-3317 or email

Monday, November 13, 2017


Are you planning to build a new playground for your school and wondering how you will pay for it? Fundraising may seem like the most daunting part of your playground project but it doesn’t have to be. These days there are many options from the time-honored bake sale to affiliate programs.  Consider a mix of traditional fundraisers, partnerships with businesses and parks departments, as well as grants.

Outdoor musical instruments at Angel Montessori School Playground
Outdoor musical instruments at Angel Montessori School Playground

Here are a few ideas:
  • Events. Go beyond the bake sale! Try something different:  a dog wash instead of a car wash, a silent auction plus picnic on your proposed playground site, a play-themed walk-a-thon.
  • Buy a brick. Invite people to buy a piece of the playground – a sandbox, swing, trail, brick, or bench — to honor a loved one.
  • Grants. Learn where to find grant money. There are catalogs of grant sources available online and even at the library.
  • Partner with local businesses. Give your local car dealer, hair salon, or coffee shop a chance to show how community-minded they are. Display their names on a permanent sign.
  • Affiliate programs. Programs like the popular Amazon Smile let shoppers select a charity to receive a small percentage of the purchase price of eligible items.
  • Grocery store loyalty programs. Many grocery chains, such as the New England based Stop & Shop, let you assign the points from your loyalty cards to a school rewards program.
Premier Park & Play has built elementary school and Montessori school playgrounds in the New England region, especially Massachusetts, Maine, and Connecticut. We have lots of experience helping schools with fundraising for playground construction. We offer free consulting to help you find the right funding sources for your project and to help you develop your fundraising campaign. Contact us at 617-244-3317 or email

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Choose Eco-friendly Playground Equipment for Your Park or School

Saving the planet and going green is what we aspire to do, and as parents, we want our children to learn to be environmentally friendly as well. What better way to do that than to build an eco-friendly playground for our kids?

Many playground equipment manufacturers such as Playmart, one of Premier Park & Play’s manufacturing partners, build play structures with recycled plastic materials such as milk jugs. A small park bench uses close to 500 milk jugs and a larger play set can use more than 70,000 milk jugs. See how much we can contribute to sustainability by using eco-friendly play structures in our school playgrounds and municipal parks. In addition to benefits to the environment, recycled plastic does not rust, peel or produce splinters, thus providing a safe and beautiful surface for children to play.

Besides play equipment and playground benches, we can also use recycled rubber mulch, which is produced by recycling tires, for playground surfacing. Rubber mulch playground surfaces are not only eco-friendly, they provide the most shock absorption keeping children safe from fall injuries. A more affordable but still eco-friendly alternative is wood fiber mulch, which is free of paint, chemicals and additives.

Nature themed playground in Riverfront Park, Erving, MA

Lastly, consider a nature-themed playground to teach your child to love nature and motivate them to become environmentally-friendly citizens, while having great fun with climbers, enclosures, panels, roofs, rocks and stumps in the form of natural elements like mushrooms and tree trunks. Above is a nature-theme playground in Riverfront Park, Erving, MA.

Premier Park & Play provides eco-friendly playground equipment and constructs eco-friendly playgrounds for schools, parks, child care centers and other organizations in Massachusetts, Connecticut and other parts of New England. For more information, please call 617-244-3317 or visit our website at

Why Recycled Rubber is a Good Choice for Playground Surfacing

When you design and build a playground, choosing the right surfacing is an important consideration. Are you looking for a playground surface that is ecofriendly and protects your children in case of a fall while also making a space that’s attractive to children? Consider recycled rubber.
eco-friendly, safe, recycled rubber mulch playground surface in blue

It is estimated that Americans throw away about 290 million rubber tires per year. Twelve states, such as Connecticut, ban all scrap tires from landfills. Using mulch from recycled rubber keeps discarded tires out of the landfill.  It takes about 80 tires to make one cubic yard of mulch so using it for playground surfaces definitely makes a dent in the stockpile of discarded tires.  Recycled rubber requires less energy to produce than new rubber so it saves energy too.
Rubber has a springy quality that provides cushioning in the event of a fall.  It absorbs shock better than any other loose fill playground surfacing option. Unlike sand, rubber remains loose no matter what the temperature is or what the weather conditions are, a definite plus in New England states like Maine or Massachusetts.  Unlike wood chips, rubber mulch doesn’t harbor fungus or mold so you can install it in damp areas.  Like any loose fill material, shredded rubber may need some maintenance to keep the surface level, but because it does not absorb or retain water (it therefore does not rot) you do not need to top it up as frequently.
great playground design invites play. Recycled rubber playground surfacing comes in different colors so you can coordinate the surface color with the overall color theme of your playground design for an attractive and inviting look. For more information, please contact Doug Knotts at or call 617-244-3317.