Spring will be here before we know it! Students get restless from spending so much time indoors during the Winter season and are ready to run around outside. They can’t wait to jump on swings, cruise down swirling slides, and sway like monkeys on the monkey bars.
Is your school playground ready for kids bursting with energy? When was the last time you made modifications or assessed the state of your playground equipment?
There are many reasons why it’s important to know when it’s time to renovate the playground – with safety number one on the list. The Larson Equipment & Furniture Company is sharing a helpful guide for you to know when your school playground is in need of a makeover…
Children’s safety is at the top of the priority list! According to the National Safety Council, “playground injuries send more than 200,000 American children to the emergency room each year.” Majority of playground injuries can easily be prevented by simply replacing old equipment.
We want to ensure that your park is as safe as possible, take a look at this quick checklist of signs to determine if your park may be a safety hazard to children:
- Make sure surfaces and fixtures have no exposed bolts, “S” hooks, wood splinters, or sharp edges.
- Merry-go-rounds should be flat and equipped with solid handles. They should also have enough ground clearance to make it impossible for kids to get pinned underneath.
- Slides should be smooth, and there should be no gap between the slide and the platform. Keep in mind that metal slides can burn on a hot day.
- Toddlers and preschoolers should have their own play area with age-appropriate equipment.
- Make sure there are no strings, belts, or straps hanging from your child’s clothing.
- If a playground is outdated or dangerous, ask your local government to fix it. Having other parents sign a petition or contacting the local paper will help move things along.
If your park doesn’t meet these requirements, it’s a good idea to have the environment inspected and renovated as soon as possible! It’s worth the investment to be proactive in preventing injuries.
Weather Damage and Regular Wear & Tear
Weather plays a huge role in the durability of your playground. The amount of maintenance and repair work needed ultimately depends on the amount of traffic and materials used. Begin evaluating your playground from the ground up – what surfacing is your playground using? Making sure children have a soft place to land or a surface to prevent slips is important. Is the rubber surface or artificial turf getting worn out? Is your park built to withstand all four seasons of Illinois weather? It’s important to opt for quality material that will last in all types of weather to ensure a durable environment for many years to come.
Hundreds of children will play on your equipment monthly. Basic wear and tear is inevitable. This is not a bad thing, all parks require maintenance over time. A few examples of how you can determine a playground’s wear and tear:
- Tighten bolts and screws to ensure stability.
- Look at hooks and connections that hold swings and other detachable components.
- Check on ropes, chains and similar items.
- Inspect plastic parts to look for cracks or buckling.
- Check for rust on metal components.
- Lubricate moving metal parts for smooth motion.
- Look for splinters, cracks and rotting on wooden parts.
- Replace rotten or damaged boards.
- Ensure all protective coverings are still in place without any cracks or other damage.
Imagine a swing set that doesn’t squeak with every swing, fun wall climbing features, sturdier monkey bars, and a brand new rubber tile surface!
Recess is no longer just a break from learning. With the right playground design & stimuli in place, this outdoor time can actually become an extension of their studies. In a study published in the American Journal of Psychology, researched concluded that different colors can physically and mentally affect children at a young age. “Through play structures, interactions with themselves, and interactions with others, children cultivate cognitive and social skills imperative to proper development.” Children respond well to bright and inviting colors. Including a variety of fun colors in your playground encourages the mind to explore and learn. The bright colors are also mood boosters, they can actually help kids feel safe or happy!
On the other hand, showcasing dull colors or worn out equipment can have the opposite effect on children’s minds. The lack of color can leave a child feeling bored or somber. Kids may not be able to tell something is unsafe as easily as adults but they can sense when something is cared for. The attention to detail we give their surroundings will be beneficial to their comfort. Turn browns & greys into vibrant blues, greens, purples, and oranges!
We know that playgrounds are an integral part of childhood development. We’ve partnered with the best suppliers to provide high quality products that inspire children’s imaginations and creativity through innovation and superior product design. Our design team continually advances the concept of play through unique designs, including traditional post and platform playgrounds, deckless, continuous-play structures, as well as nature inspired playgrounds.
Your playground layout can do more than serve as a place for students to burn off some extra energy and laugh with their friends. The layout of a playground can actually expand children’s imagination, improve their problem solving skills, and be a place for them to practice socializing with peers.
The Larson Equipment & Furniture Company team recently attended the IAPD/IPRA Soaring to New Heights Conference. This exciting event highlighted innovative ways to boost cognitive development with innovative playground design and creative equipment.
Here are a few new trending features we are excited about from our friends at Play & Park Structures…
- The Selfie Swing: A whole new way to swing with your child or friends! Be in the moment while capturing the memories. This swing allows for face-to-face interaction and features a recessed phone pocket for hands-free pictures, video, or live video chat!
- The Selfie Swizzler: Creatively unites the swiveling action of a spinner with a circular rocking motion that is unlike any other playground component.
- The Selfie Swirl with Me: There is no greater thrill for a child than spinning on a merry-go-round! This spinner includes cell phone slots that invite users to capture precious moments, hands-free with their mobile phones!
- The Inclusive Orbit: This ground level whirl sits flush with playground surfacing, allowing smooth and easy access for mobility devices.
- The Air Glider: Kids feel weightless as they fly through the air!
- Interactive Panels: These panels use motion, visual, and sound elements for sensory stimulation, engaging children socially and emotionally. A few examples include Tic-Tac-Toe, Flower Maze, A-Maze 4 Panel Fun, & A-Maze 10 Panel Fun!
- Denali Tower: A 12-foot high tower that takes active & challenging play to another level of fun!
- National Demonstration Site Program: Your community has the opportunity to gain national recognition for going above and beyond minimal accessibility to provide truly inclusive play spaces, promoting physical activity, and integrating nature into the everyday spaces of childhood!
- New Tri Faceted and Parasol Canopy Roofs: These new canopy roofs add a whimsical aesthetic while also providing shade.
Introducing the magical sounds of Harmony Music from Freenotes Harmony Park Musical Instruments…
Freenotes Harmony Park is the industry leader in outdoor musical instruments. Invented by Grammy Award-Winning musician Richard Cooke more than 20 years ago these innovatively designed instruments are durable, sustainable, and perfectly tuned sound sculptures that enhance any outdoor space. View their collection of instruments here!
Making music brings a new element into outdoor play! “Music is a global, artistic language that creates community, connection and a sense of belonging. The primal power of music evokes emotions, memories and images, taking the participant on a magical journey.”
A few of the benefits children will experience from playing with Harmony Music include:
- Cognitive Function: Music helps to build reasoning skills and cognitive development.
- Emotional: It builds confidence, encourages creativity and self-expression. It can reduce anxiety, relieve symptoms of depression, and elevate your mood
- Physical: Playing and listening to music can reduce stress, ease pain, lower your blood pressure, increase workout endurance, improve sleep, enhance blood vessel function and help you eat less!
- Community: Playing music with others fosters deep listening, respect, a sense of belonging and builds community.
Accessibility for Everyone
Does your playground serve the needs for individuals of all abilities? Have parents or teachers reported children feeling left out because the park wasn’t accommodating? Fact: Nearly one in five people have a disability in the U.S., yet most playgrounds aren’t built to accommodate them. “13 percent of kids enrolled in public school (about 6.7 million children) receive extra services for needs ranging from autism to hearing impairment. Whether a child has cognitive issues, mobility challenges, or both, the design of most urban play areas inadvertently excludes a significant portion of the population playgrounds were built to serve.”
It’s time to invest in inclusive playgrounds! Imagine equipment that all children can enjoy. Ramp fun for wheelchairs, wider structures for walkers/mobility aids. The benefits of creating an all inclusive playground are an opportunity for children to make friends with kids they may have been able to play with otherwise. These types of environments will help break through social stigmas that can later be the cause of bullying and depression.
Understanding The True Value of a High Quality Playground Makeover
Playgrounds are a great asset for any community that provide countless benefits for years to come. A playground remodel or renovation is an investment in your school, the health of the students, and the community as a whole. They provide a gathering place where kids and parents alike can get some much-needed fresh air. These environments have been shown to improve strength, increase cardiovascular health, and have positive effects on mental health. As childhood obesity rates continue to rise, anything that encourages kids to stay active is invaluable.
Playgrounds are an integral part of childhood development. We’ve partnered with the best suppliers to provide high quality products that inspire children’s imaginations and creativity through innovation and superior product design.
Is your school playground equipment outdated and possibly unsafe? Does the overall park design need a remodel to better serve the needs of your students? Are you interested in learning how we can turn your playground into an innovative, colorful environment that encourages fun and stimulates the brain?
The Larson Equipment & Furniture Company is here to guide your playground renovation in 2020! Let us bring back color, joy, and curiosity to your environment. We have an appropriate play solution for a full spectrum of needs and aesthetics, including parks, schools, early childhood centers, churches, and community centers. Whether your project calls for a traditional playground or creatively themed play, the variety of styles and materials offered allows you to choose the perfect playground to complement your vision. Visit Play & Park Structures blog to view case studies or check out the Playgrounds section of our website gallery for ideas.