Playgrounds are an important feature of any community park, providing children with a safe and fun environment to play, release energy and socialize with others. However, choosing the right playground equipment for your local park can be a challenging task, as there is a lot of equipment available and a lot of factors to consider.
After designing and building thousands of parks, Cunningham Recreation has discovered a few tips on how to pick the best commercial playground equipment. Let’s explore what these are in more detail!
Consider the Age Group
First, consider the age group of the children who will be using your local park. Younger children require equipment that is safe and easy to use, with lower platforms, shorter slides and lower swings. Older children require more challenging equipment with higher platforms, taller slides and more complex climbers.
If you’ll be accommodating a range of age groups, you can separate the playground equipment into two different areas: a 2-5 age group and a 5-12 age group. You can also incorporate inclusive equipment like sensory play components, obstacle course equipment and other multigenerational freestanding components that can be used by all ages, as well as interactive equipment like the Sutu Ball Wall or Sona Dance and Play Arch.
Think About Accessibility and Beyond
Another important consideration is accessibility. In the United States, three million children have a disability. Therefore, you want to make sure that children with disabilities can also enjoy the playground with their peers. Choose equipment that is wheelchair accessible and has features such as ramps, transfer stations and adaptive swings.
Fortunately, building an inclusive playground is easier than ever before. Inclusivity moves your playground beyond accessibility. Most of the equipment offered through Cunningham Recreation is accessible to all children, regardless of age or ability. We also recommend smooth safety surfacing, such as poured-in-place rubber or rubber tiles.
Pick Safe, Durable Materials
Playground equipment is exposed to the elements and everyday wear and tear, so you don’t want to sacrifice quality just to save a few dollars. Choose equipment that is made from durable materials like metal, double walled rotationally molded plastics, and backed by a good warranty. If you choose wood, Finnish Pine is less likely to rot or corrode and require less maintenance than traditional wood.
Safety is another consideration - and a top priority when it comes to playground equipment. The equipment you select for your local park should have non-slip surfaces, rounded edges and adequate spacing between components. They should also comply with the safety standards from organizations like the CPSC and the ASTM.
Complete the Park with the Right Amenities
Finally, don’t forget to complete your park with the right amenities. Playground equipment is crucial - but it’s not the only thing a playground needs. Also think about benches, picnic tables, shade structures, safety surfacing, adult outdoor fitness equipment, garbage cans and bike parking. While kids are playing on the equipment, parents and guardians should have comfortable places to sit and relax or even places to exercise themselves.
Choosing the best playground equipment for your local park requires careful consideration of many factors. By following these tips, you can ensure that the equipment you select is safe, durable and age appropriate. To discuss your needs for new playground equipment, contact Cunningham Recreation.