Why Providing Commercial Playground Equipment at Your Facility Matters
What’s good about offering some commercial playground equipment for children to enjoy on your outdoor property? Plenty! For starters, if you operate a school, preschool, or licensed childcare facility, you’re legally required to offer daily physical activity opportunities, and many states actually require daily outdoor play activities, weather permitting.
But beyond any applicable governmental requirements, having an outdoor playground onsite is simply good for children, period. Regular use of playground equipment serves to improve children’s physical, mental, & social skills, inspires their inner creativity, and also presents enhanced learning opportunities for all sorts of educational and institutional settings.
But what happens once your playground has seen several seasons of service, and some of the initial shine and luster begin to wear off? If that describes your current situation, it really may be time to make plans for an upgrade. But what should that entail, exactly?
How does your current playground facility measure up as far as its ability to continue meeting the needs of your child patrons, your families, and your organization? Here are some good questions to ask in assessing your playground situation and deciding about the next steps to take:
The obvious answer here is “children.” But which children, exactly? Do you have a sizeable number of kids who tend to shy away from using your playground equipment? That could be indicative of a problem with your equipment itself, or of the playground environment. In addition to examining the current state of your playground equipment, you might also ask whom this particular set of equipment is really designed for – and who may be left out.
While you’re asking questions, it could be helpful to go a little deeper with your playground examination. Are there any particular ages or other categories of children who don’t seem to be as engaged by your existing playground offerings? Perhaps your monkey bars are too high for kindergartners to be able to access and use, or maybe they’re too low for older elementary children to enjoy properly. Take an objective look at each play feature on your property in a similar manner.
Don’t limit yourself just to considering the age categories of children who might use your playground. Take a closer look at differing ability levels, too. Do you have any special needs children under your care? Is your current playground equipment wheelchair-friendly? Can children with other physical or developmental limitations take full advantage of your playground? Every child likes to be able to enjoy a playground, and it can be both frustrating and even damaging for children who are forced to sit on the sidelines and merely watch other children having fun.
Clearly, you’ll want to check the condition of your current play equipment, but you shouldn’t stop there. Be sure to consider the safety surfacing around your play features, too. If you’re using a loose-fill material like wood mulch, EWF, or shredded rubber, you’ll need to ensure it reaches the proper recommended depth for safety. But even so, one downside of loose materials like these is that they aren’t very friendly to wheelchairs or walkers. To that end, it would be better to upgrade to a more ADA-accessible safety surface like rubber tiles, bonded rubber, or PIP rubber.
When it comes to playground features, there’s always a place for the classics, like swingsets and slides. But some older playgrounds tend to include equipment that may have simply become simply old or worn-out, or really isn’t made to engage modern children. A greater number of children may be better engaged by your playground if you’ll decide to install some modern play features with advanced engineering and design aspects.
This is obviously an important question. How much money or budget do you have set aside for your playground improvement project? And if you don’t yet have an organization-approved budget for playground upgrades, it’s time to make that happen. A professional commercial playground contractor like Carolina Recreation & Design can help you to get the most playground impact for your buck while being careful not to go over your budget line.
Apart from planning for needed upgrades to your playground equipment and safety surfacing, there are also some other things you can do that don’t have to cost very much. All it takes is a little creativity and innovation on your part! Here are a few good tips:
Try grouping like play features and dividing areas into separate “play zones” for specific activities. This is a smart way to maximize your space, make it more fun for children, and help make it safer, too. In addition to your central playground area, you can try creating a field sports zone, a sand play area, a water play zone, etc.
You can also decide to add some new recreational elements that aren’t terribly expensive, like a basketball goal or two, a tetherball goal, or other similar outdoor sports features that multiple children can use at once.
Got some hardtop area you’d like to make better use of? With a little paint, you can create some templates for all sorts of fun outdoor games like hopscotch, four square, tic tac toe, and more!
It’s also a good idea not to fill up every inch of your space with designated play features. Build in a little open space for unstructured play, too. Kids love playing on installed playground elements, but they love creating their own free play, too. To illustrate the point, think of a child who receives a nice, big birthday gift or Christmas present. In many cases, that child will enjoy playing with the big box the gift came in as much as with the gift itself! This same principle applies when it comes to leaving some open space for children to be able to play creatively in your playground area, too.
It’s also a good idea to put in some seating for your teachers and parents while they monitor the playground. And if your playground area doesn’t benefit from much natural shade, you can also choose to install a sail shade structure or some integrated fabric shades to prevent harmful UV rays and to keep your play area cooler on a sunny day.
If you’re looking for a trusted local commercial playground installer, look no further than Carolina Recreation & Design! We install a great selection of customizable commercial playground equipment, and we can help you with everything from safety surfacing, to sun shades, to seating, to outdoor structures, to essential site amenities. We’re general contractors too, so we can also take care of site design, site preparation, fencing, landscaping, and whatever else you might need!
Ready to upgrade your playground into a true destination for children? Just give us a call today at (704) 664-1833! You can also connect with us online. Carolina Recreation & Design has all your commercial playground needs covered!
Carolina Recreation & Design is a full-service general contracting company offering turnkey installation of recreational products for parks, schools, churches, clubs, daycares and amusement parks. We offer premium-quality commercial products that are safe, fun, and built to last.