School playgrounds need attention from time to time, just as public playgrounds do. It’s important that school playgrounds are kept safe, fun and engaging so that students have a place to decompress in between classes.
If your school playground equipment could use some attention, there are simple and budget-friendly ways to achieve your goals. Don’t just focus on the aesthetics of your playground but also how students use the space. Do you want to provide more opportunities for physical activity, fitness or social interaction?
Below are five playground makeover tips that your school can follow for the upcoming school year!
1. Zone Your Spaces
One of the best ways to makeover your elementary school playground is by dividing and designating your play areas. This gives you better control over the safety of your outdoor space, while offering equipment that is age appropriate.
Once you zone off certain areas, think about adding new playground equipment to accommodate the different age groups. For example, a space for fourth, fifth and sixth graders might include GT Stadium, Challenge Course obstacle course activities or Memo Play Pillars.
2. Add Traditional Game Markings
Another inexpensive way to update your school playground is by adding traditional game markings. If you did divide your spaces, you might have dedicated spaces for field sports, free play and more. Paint permanent outlines for different games such as hopscotch, tic tac toe, four square and long jump. Kids who prefer to play off the equipment will enjoy these activities!
3. Incorporate Natural Elements
Whether your school is located in a more natural area or not, there are always ways to incorporate more natural elements into your design. Not only will this provide students with more ways to play, but also it can support some of their classroom lessons.
Consider planting trees, shrubs and bushes to offer more shade and create more greenery. You can also add other small features such as:
- Colorful planters
- Rope and net climbers
- Rocks and boulders
- Tree stumps and logs
4. Update the Safety Surfacing
Most school playgrounds have engineered wood fiber, aka “playground mulch,” because it’s an affordable surfacing option. This loose fill safety surfacing requires regular upkeep, such as raking for hazards, maintaining an even surface level and adding new material to meet safety standards for impact attenuation.
Now might be a great time to upgrade your playground surfacing to something like poured-in-place rubber or rubber tiles. These options are more expensive, but they’re easier to maintain and look amazing! You can choose the school color options for your surfacing or add the school mascot in your poured-in-place rubber, add games or mounds etc.
5. Offer Interactive Sports Equipment
Many schools assume that they have to add new playground equipment to keep their play area engaging, but you might want to move in a different direction. Instead of investing in a rock climbing wall or second playground structure, consider adding interactive play and sports equipment instead.
For instance, the Yalp Sutu Interactive Ball Wall allows kids to compete against each other. There are various games with different levels of difficulty. The Sutu is not limited to soccer - kids can also play other sports like tennis and basketball. The Yalp Toro is another great sports court for schools.
These five ideas will help you makeover your school playground without breaking your budget. For more information on expanding your playground and making it safer and more engaging for your elementary school, contact Cunningham Recreation today.