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5 Tips to Selecting School Playground Equipment


Spending time outdoors is important for kids, especially when they’re cooped up inside of a classroom most of the day. Fortunately, most schools give kids a 20-30 minute recess break where they can run around and burn off some of extra energy, test their physical skills, engage in imaginative play and socialize with friends. Having the right playground equipment can make this outdoor time even more fun, which is why it’s important to choose wisely.

In this post, we’re going to cover five tips that will help you select the best school playground equipment for your elementary school.

1. Start By Assessing Your Needs

Whether you’re designing a brand new playground or upgrading existing equipment, it’s important to start slow and assess your needs.

What space is available to work with? How many children are expected to play on the playground at once? What ages will the children be? Are there children with special needs or disabilities?

By answering these questions, it will be easier to choose the right equipment.

2. Evaluate the Existing Equipment

If there is equipment already in place, you’ll want to take note of its condition. It’s possible that you can continue using some of the equipment, which will happily save the school money.

However, it’s important to point out that just because a piece of equipment looks like it’s in good condition doesn’t mean you should keep it. You’ll also want to check and make sure that the equipment meets ADA and CPSC/ASTM standards.

Also, do the children still play on this equipment? If they’re no longer using it, it’s probably time to put something else in its place, such as an interactive ball wall or musical instruments.

3. Determine the Budget

Now that you have a better idea of the type of school playground equipment you need, you’ll want to determine your budget. Schools typically get their funding for playground equipment from the PTA/PTO, the district and/or fundraising events.

Depending on the funding, some schools end up having a lot to work with while others don’t. Fortunately, Cunningham Recreation has elementary school playground packages for EVERY budget!

4. Research Playground Equipment

Because your school has a variety of ages, it’s important to appeal to all of them. Choose a wide range of playground equipment that will encourage all types of play, including sensory play, social play and physical play.

For school playgrounds, we also recommend choosing equipment that can accommodate many children at once. Some of our favorite types of equipment for schools that need to accommodate many students are climbers, loop ladders, dual or triple slides and rock climbing walls.

5. Consider All-in-One Playground Packages

If you have some equipment that you’re working with, it makes sense to add onto your playground with a few pieces. But if you’re starting from scratch, consider choosing an all-in-one playground package.

The playground packages from Cunningham Recreation include a play structure that fits your age group, engineered wood fiber (EWF) safety surfacing, play curbs, an ADA ramp, certified installation and free shipping. This allows you to create an engaging outdoor space for students in just weeks!

Start Building Your School Playground Today

School playgrounds are an integral part of going to school - kids can’t wait to master the monkey bars or race their friends down the slides. Taking the time to choose the best school playground equipment will only emphasize the outdoor play experience. To discuss your needs for an elementary school playground, contact Cunningham Recreation today.