Designing School-Age Playground Equipment
Designing a playground is a big undertaking, but one that can help you build a safe play area designed to encourage development and fun. A little thinking about your site, budget and playground use ahead of time can reap big rewards.
School Playground Design Considerations
Before you start actively buying school-age playground equipment, you need to consider a few things ahead of time:
Age-Appropriate Equipment & Activities
Playgrounds for schools need to have equipment and activities designed for school-aged children, and if you have children from kindergarten through teenage years, you may need separate play areas for each to ensure safety and adequate challenges. Activities and school play equipment that is safe and fun for older kids may not be appropriate for younger children.
Surfacing and Shade
Consider pour-in-place, loose-fill, and other surfacing options. All have their advantages when it comes to safety and budget, and all can prevent injuries caused by impact and falls from playground equipment.
Another consideration is shade. Shade can protect children from burns and can also keep your school-age playground equipment from getting too hot, which can help protect your investment.
Safety is a top consideration for school-age playgrounds, so you will want to make sure the equipment you buy meets or exceeds standards established by organizations that set standards and create regulations for commercial playground equipment. These organizations may include the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), Canadian Standards Association (CSA), American Society for Testing & Materials (ASTM), and many others.
Even the safest school playgrounds need careful supervision to ensure safety. You can help by considering playground design elements to make caregivers’ jobs easier. Make sure each piece of playground equipment can be clearly seen and is visible to someone standing outside the playground. Also, provide site furnishings such as benches so teachers and other adults can supervise children comfortably.
An inclusive playground is one that is accessible to children of all mobility levels and engaging for children with varying abilities. Building inclusiveness into your playground means creating enough space around playground equipment so caregivers can help children who need it. It can also mean creating quiet and cozy spaces for children who may need quiet time to decompress. When considering design, you will want to ensure children of different abilities can use the equipment.
Resources for School Playground Design
Building school-age playgrounds is a big task, which is why Playworld has created different resources to help you further. Our Inclusive Design Guide was developed by childhood development and playground experts and takes you in-depth into practical ways you can engage the senses, creativity and intellect of children of all abilities on your school-age playground. Our Playground 101 Guide breaks down the complexities of creating a playground into 10 comprehensive steps, giving you a clear roadmap to follow. Of course, if at any point you have questions, you can also contact Playworld for assistance or design help.
How to Fund New School Playground Equipment
Buying playground equipment for schools is an important investment, but many schools and school boards are concerned about cost. Luckily, Playworld has a number of resources to help you pay for your playground without cutting corners.
Fundraising is one of the time-tested ways to raise money for outdoor playground equipment for schools. Fundraising means you don’t have to pay loans back and gets the whole community involved in your project. Beyond ideas such as bake sales, you can sell advertising space or host talent shows and fairs to raise money. Playworld has a whole guide full of fundraising ideas to get you inspired and get everyone involved.
Financing is another option for building your play area, and Playworld has a phasing program as well as leasing options. The leasing program lets you build the playground you want now and pay for it over time. The phasing program lets you build your play area in stages, paying for each stage as you go.
To find out more about how Playworld can help you, contact us to get a quote today!