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Group 15: Outdoor Climbing Gym


Our group is working on an outdoor climbing gym for a 2 year-old. The purpose is for him to release energy while having educational elements.

Top: Elizabeth McCormick & Katelyn Lepley Bottom: Jakeiry Morales & Michael Stoltz

Problem Statement

Our climbing gym is being built for an extremely active child with sensory issues. After speaking with the family, our team has strived to design a climbing gym that will not only be beneficial for physical exertion, but educational as well.

Design Specifications

In our design, we are including many different areas for the child to interact with and climb on. These areas include ladders, monkey bars, and a slide. We also want to utilize bright colors to appeal to the child’s senses. Because the child likes John Deer, we are building a bright green and yellow tractor. On the educational side, we are including an abacus, and rotating shapes.

Background Research

To find details we researched different types of activities that help improve a child’s gross motor skills such Gym hanging door, swings, slides, monkey bars, a counter, and even a climbing wall.  Then we would think of when we went to playground and what equipment we remembered to be the most fun. We then did more research from what we thought was the most fun and started looking into each design from there. We also found unstable bridges, monkey bars, and rock walls to be great at gross motor skill development. We also did research on material and what would be our best option. Even with covid and the price of wood, it would still be cheaper than to get plastic or metal for the installation of our tractor playground.

Concept Design 1

In this design, the octogon idea was the main inspiration. Having the monkey bars span across the interior of the hexagon allows us to save space and allow an extra way to get to the slide.

Concept Design 2

The child that will be using the playset really likes John Deer tractors. So in my design, I anticipate the tractor being green and yellow with a space to go through the tractor to access the slide and monkey bars.

Concept Design 3

The traditional playground concept mixed with a tractor design. The ideas came from the first meeting with the family. We learned his favorite color, toy, and that he is very energetic. With the knowledge we learned from the family, we were able to come up with a playground mixed with a tractor. Our ideas even came from our childhood when we would go to the playground. We also found more details or information from research while constructing our final design.

Selected Concept Design

The selected concept design has elements from the other concept designs. This was done to create a better design that was efficient and provide what the needs were. The Decision Matrix has the PDF file of the selected concept design.

Decision Matrix

Overview of Selected Design

Our design has a tractor shape in the front and a half octagon as the last part of the climbing gym. The front tractor combines different obstacles into one.  We chose to incorporate some of the swing/slide combination concept into our design since most of the responses we got from asking others what a playground really needs. For obstacles, we chose a climbing wall, gymnastic swing and monkey bars for improvement of gross motor skills.  We also chose to incorporate a shape game and a math counter game to satisfy the request of being able to use mental skills just as much as physical skills. If you look at the AutoCad drawing, we have built the structure of the design, we did not include the activities such as swing, monkey bars, etc but will update as the project continues.

Engineering Analysis 1

Our goal for this static’s analysis of the swing was to determine the max amount of tension that could be held in the ropes without being a danger to the child swinging. This has helped in our process of selecting materials for our design. The child weighs thirty pounds.


2021 Fall