How much physical activity do children actually need each day? Some of that depends on their age. According to the CDC, children between the ages of 3 and 5 pretty much need to be active all day long, while children between the ages of 6 and 17 should be physically active for at least 60 minutes per day.
So, what’s one of the best ways to help children experience moderate-to-vigorous physical activity every day? Take them to the playground, of course!
To that end, most states have passed laws that require elementary schools, preschools, and childcare facilities to provide children with daily outdoor play opportunities, weather permitting. So yes, the right playground environment can play a crucial role in terms of physical exercise, growth, and development for young children. There are lots of benefits associated with the use of outdoor playground equipment for improving the physical, mental, & social health of America’s children.
Modern commercial playground equipment is designed for withstanding many years of play and use. Even so, any outdoor equipment will experience wear and tear over time. Is it time to plan for a refresh of your current playground environment? Here are a few good tips for helping you to answer that important question.
Obviously, it’s good to start by considering the condition of your playground equipment itself. Are you finding that you’re now needing to invest more in terms of equipment repair? Once you get to the point that you have to repair or replace certain pieces of equipment within shorter time spans, then that’s a good sign that playground equipment replacement may be a better solution than simply opting for more repairs.
If you’re starting to hear more regular complaints from students, parents, and concerned caregivers, then it’s probably time to take action. If your regular playground users are flagging damaged pieces of equipment or other issues, you should absolutely take their feedback seriously and conduct your own inspection of any flagged playground elements.
If you happen to find any playground equipment that’s broken or defective, you really can’t put off a necessary upgrade. Minor issues can often be addressed by repairs or part replacements, but larger issues typically call for a full replacement. Making a point to inspect your playground more regularly can help you to avoid any troublesome problem issues or potential injuries.
While many modern pieces of commercial playground equipment are designed to last for 15-20 years or more, that doesn’t mean you should do nothing in the meantime. A better, more proactive plan of maintenance includes making needed playground updates every 10 years or so. But in any case, the more often you perform preventative maintenance, the longer your playground equipment will last.
Playground safety surfacing is one of those things which tends to get overlooked by many commercial playground owners, but it’s incredibly important. If your playground surfacing should become uneven or fall below prescribed levels, it can pose a real safety hazard for the children you use your play equipment. This is of particular concern if you happen to use loose-fill playground surfacing like wood mulch or engineered wood fiber. The more your playground gets used, the more your playground surfacing can get moved around, displaced, and degraded. Make a proactive plan for redistributing and replacing any missing safety surfacing.
So, now that you’ve thought through the current state of your playground and flagged some opportunities for improvement, what to do next? It may be as simple as reaching out to a professional playground contractor like Carolina Recreation & Design to provide you with some new playground equipment and some more safety surfacing.
There are also some other creative things you can do to help maximize your outdoor playground area, including some that require very little capital. Here are a few good tips and suggestions:
So yes, if you have aging or damaged equipment, then it really is time to plan for some replacements and possibly some new playground additions as well. To that end, there are solutions for every budget. You can also opt to add some new recreational features that don’t have to be particularly expensive. For example, basketball goals and tetherball games are always a hit.
Take all the play space you have available, and divide it up into some specific play zones for dedicated activities. This is a great way to help maximize your space, make it more purposeful (and safe), and also make things easier for adult monitors. Outside the main central playground structure, you can also create separate swing and slide zones, field sports zones, sand and water play areas, etc.
Here’s an easy way to create some more purposeful play space – use a little hardtop paint! You can draw in permanent outlines for popular outdoor games, including hopscotch, four square, tic tac toe, or whatever else your playground users prefer.
Keep in mind that not all “empty” space needs to be programmed. Kids really appreciate enjoying some unstructured, open-ended free play, too. Just as a child might play with the large cardboard box as much as they enjoy playing with the gift inside, the same applies when it comes to open free play space!
If your playground doesn’t benefit from nearby trees or other natural shade sources, it’s smart to add some artificial shade. There are several said shade structures and other shade solutions which are perfect for covering playground areas. And don’t forget about your teachers, parents, and adult playground monitors, either. Don’t make them stand the entire time they’re serving as playground monitors; give them a comfortable place to sit! At a minimum, plan to add some benches around your playground. Even better, you can add some covered outdoor structures with built-in seating to make folks more comfortable as they monitor the playground. These also give children a place to go and cool off if they get too hot or experience too much sun exposure.
Looking for a trusted local commercial playground provider in NC, SC, VA, or TN? You’ve found one in Carolina Recreation & Design! We deliver and install an amazing selection of commercial playground equipment, but we do much more than just that. We provide everything from safety surfacing to sunshades, seating, outdoor structures, and other essential site amenities. We’re also general contractors, which means we can also take care of site design, site preparation, fencing, landscaping, and whatever else may be needed!
Ready to upgrade your playground into a true destination for children and families? You can connect with us online through this simple form, or for a faster response, just give us a call today at (704) 664-1833!
Carolina Recreation & Design has all your commercial playground and recreational site 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.
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