Designing a playground structure can be overwhelming. There are so many types of equipment out there, that you may find yourself wondering what you need on your playground and why. If you are in charge of ordering equipment for a new school playground, we invite you to read through our list of must-haves for school playgrounds and learn why each of these five items has made our list.
1. Overhead Climbing Systems
Overhead climbing systems can include things such as monkey bars and horizontal or vertical climbers. Overhead climbing systems allow children to increase their upper body and grip strength, while also developing flexibility, hand-eye coordination, and endurance.
Overhead climbing systems also help children to improve their core strength, which can help their posture. If you are planning on incorporating overhead climbers into your play structure, we encourage you to consider safety surfacing under the structure to keep children safe if they fall.
2. Structures for Balance and Coordination
Another type of equipment that should be incorporated into school playgrounds is equipment that allows for balance and coordination. The most simplistic form of this is some sort of balance beam, but there are many new types of equipment that help with both balance and coordination, including shaky bridges and path pods.
Items that help to improve balance and coordination help children to think fast, allow them to utilize critical thinking skills, help to improve agility, and help children to realize that they can get back up and try again if they fall off, helping to teach them a valuable life lesson.
3. Obstacle Courses
One of the hottest new trends in school playgrounds is obstacle courses. If you are designing a playground for a school, we strongly encourage you to add an obstacle course somewhere to your outdoor space. Obstacle courses can be used in a variety of different ways to help teach a number of different things to children.
Teachers can use the obstacle course to encourage team building, or they can use obstacle courses as a way for kids to race, improving their critical thinking skills and agility. Obstacle courses can also be used at recess, helping children of all ages improve their overall strength, coordination, mobility, and agility.
4. Tactile or Sensory Elements
There are numerous pieces of playground equipment that can add tactile or sensory elements to your playground. We encourage you to look at these pieces and find ways to incorporate them into your playground structure.
Not only is it beneficial for children who may be on the spectrum, but teachers can use these tactile or sensory elements to create lesson plans and teach using this equipment. This is a win-win for the children and for the educators at your school.
5. Quiet or Recovery Spaces
Lastly, we encourage you to create a recovery space or a quiet space within your play area for children. A child may need some space to recover after running through an obstacle course over and over, or a child may just be overwhelmed and may need a quiet space to relax and decompress for a few minutes.
Incorporating quiet spaces, such as tranquility corners, is the perfect space for kids who need a retreat or just want to recover.
If you are looking to design a playground space for your school, you are not alone. Here at May Recreation, our team can work with you to customize the perfect outdoor playground for children at your school.
Contact us today to being the process and let's work together to ensure the kids at your school have all of the equipment they need to stay healthy and develop a wide array of physical, mental, and social skills.