School’s out, summer has arrived, and all the children are ready to get outside and play! And one of the best places for a child to enjoy the many benefits of outdoor play is on a playground at your facility. Whether you’re a school, preschool, childcare center, church, park, or other organization, there are many documented benefits that come along with having the right commercial playground equipment in place.
Playgrounds allow children to experience nature, grow their physical, mental, & social skills, make new friends, and much more. Need to create a new playground or expand your existing site? The friendly experts at Carolina Recreation & Design are here to help!
One of the things that make for a better all-around playground experience is having some prescribed etiquette for children to follow. It’s not just about having a space to play; it’s also about playing the right way. Here’s why playground etiquette matters:
Many organizations choose to post some agreed-upon guidelines about how play should be conducted on their playgrounds? Having posted guidelines is helpful from the standpoint of personal liability, but beyond that, it just helps to create a safer, more enjoyable environment for children, families, and caregivers.
Another key benefit of creating a list of expectations when it comes to playground etiquette is that it also helps you to promote the development of specific positive behaviors in children. These behaviors can include communication, positive conflict resolution, sharing, not excluding others, respecting personal space, and more.
Different people (including well-intentioned parents and teachers) can define what “good manners” look like differently. For this reason, it’s important for your organization to help define which behaviors are and aren’t acceptable on your outdoor playground. Here are some good tips and suggestions:
Learning to share appropriately can be a difficult principle for young children to internalize; for that matter, it’s not always easy for some parents, either! And when it comes to sharing, there are specific guidelines which apply to playgrounds in particular:
1. Toys – What to do with an unattended toy? If it belongs to the playground, then it’s there for everyone to share and take turns enjoying. But if you’re not sure who it belongs to, probably better to set it aside until the owner returns for it.
2. Play equipment & features – Be respectful of those who may also want to use the same play feature you’re currently using. Find some good ways to share the experience with others.
3. Food – Children and their families are often happy to share their snacks with other children. But this could end up posing a real safety hazard, as you really don’t know what allergies or dietary restrictions a particular child may have. Better to err on the side of caution in this case.
Like sharing, taking turns can be a tough lesson for kids to learn. It’s easy for young children to become impatient if another child is already on the play feature they’re ready to experience! But taking turns is an important life skill to gain, and the playground presents a great opportunity to put that principle into action.
Not all playground equipment is designed for children of all ages. Kids under the age of 2 really shouldn’t be on any sort of playground without constant personal supervision. Children aged 2 to 5 should stick to play elements like short slides, small swings, and crawl tubes. And kids over 5 can handle most taller equipment, but adult supervision is still required.
Speaking of adult supervision, there really should be an adult present with every child or group of children at all times. Many playground injuries can be linked to inadequate supervision. Having adults present helps to keep everyone safer, and it also helps to encourage more of the desired playground behaviors detailed here!
This isn’t something many people like to think about, but strangulation is the top cause of playground-related fatalities. One good preventative measure you can take is to encourage children not to wear jackets with cords, hoodies, anything with drawstrings or capes, or any type of particularly loose or oversized clothing. Appropriate shoes should be worn at all times, though.
Treat a playground as if you were at the pool – no running! Kids running or chasing each other around the play features can trip, fall, and potentially hurt themselves on the equipment or by colliding into one another. It’s simply not worth the risk; better to have everyone navigate around the playground in an orderly fashion.
Neither verbal nor physical abuse should be tolerated in any form. A zero-tolerance policy is really the best policy if you want to create a truly inclusive playground environment where kids can feel safe, comfortable, and valued. Having a rule like this in place will help prevent both physical and emotional injuries, and will make your playground more enjoyable for all.
Whenever a child is ready to slide, swing, etc., they should always check to make sure there’s no one within the range of impact. This is something that parents and adult caregivers can help with, as well. Following this simple guideline will not only help to prevent accidentals, but will also serve to prevent overcrowding on designated play elements.
This is another guideline where adult supervision is particularly helpful. Parents or caregivers should always check the ambient conditions before releasing children to the playground. If the equipment is too hot or too cold to the touch – or if it’s particularly wet – it might be better to choose an indoor activity for the children within your care to enjoy.
As a parent, you should also be conscientious of what you pack when taking a trip to the playground. Be mindful of the fact that any toys you bring could get shared and possibly even become lost. Do make sure to have plenty of water on hand to keep kids hydrated. Having a small first aid kit handy is a smart move, too.
If you’re an organization or commercial property owner looking for the perfect themed playground, musical playground, swing sets, or other custom playground solution, look no further than the pros at Carolina Recreation & Design! We offer an amazing selection of commercial playground structures and features, and we can also help you to create the perfect playground design for your particular site. And on top of that, we install everything we offer, and we can provide everything from safety surfacing to sun shades, to outdoor seating, to essential site amenities, and more.
Ready to make your community playground vision come true? Just give us a call at (704) 664-1833! You can also choose to connect with us online by simply filling out this short form. Carolina Recreation & Design has all your playground and site prep 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.