Playgrounds and outdoor learning activities provide a wealth of benefits to children. They learn to socialize, enhance their hand and motor skills, practice sharing and learn other positive benefits. Recess time also keeps children engaged in an active lifestyle, as this activity promotes both good physical and mental wellbeing.
However, the global pandemic has drastically changed our communities, businesses and schools. Practicing social distancing in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19 has become paramount. Yet how can this be accomplished in outdoor play areas? May Recreation offers the following resources on how to set up outdoor learning environments and playgrounds so kids and adults can be safe now and into the future.
When evaluating the current setup for playgrounds and outdoor spaces, most of the playground equipment may be grouped in the same area with open grassy spaces for kids to enjoy free play. There may also be benches either scattered around the park, near the equipment, or sitting side by side.
Due to the playground equipment grouped in one area, more children will congregate together. The setup creates more contact between children that could possibly spread the viruses. Investing in more open playground setups is more ideal. The playground equipment should also be periodically inspected and repaired to ensure all equipment is safe to be played on by children.
Smaller Learning Groups
In addition to creating more space between playground equipment, you should also consider changing how the children engage in group play. Consider going to playgrounds and outdoor learning places in smaller groups. Have fewer children go to the same equipment at once, as children can learn about taking turns and being patient to allow others to play first during a set amount of time.
In addition, set up schedules to ensure that there are fewer people around when the smaller learning group goes out to play. With fewer outsiders present, children will have more space to be outside to play. Also, teach children about the 6 feet social distancing rule by turning it into a fun game. When children learn lessons through play, they are more inclined to remember what they are taught and to put the teachings into daily practice.
Keeping Surfaces and Hands Clean
The best way to prevent the spread of all viruses is to remove the bacteria from play surfaces. Hand washing is essential in all environments where children are present, including playground areas and outdoor recreational spaces. When designing a playground setup, consider investing in hand sanitizer stations.
These stations can be used by children to keep their hands clean after touching equipment or after eating snacks before engaging in outdoor play. Parents, educators, and other guardians should also make it a habit to clean off all outdoor equipment with the hand sanitizer products. If you own the playground area or oversee the maintenance of the outdoor space, consider hiring a playground cleaning and sanitizing service company to routinely inspect and sanitize equipment during the pandemic and beyond.
Let May Recreation Redesign Your Outdoor Play Area
As the pandemic grips much of the country, everyone will want to keep their children safe from the health effects of COVID-19. Redesigning playground setups, practicing social distancing, and sanitizing equipment surfaces are some of the tactics that people can take. Here at May Recreation, we are helping owners of playgrounds and outdoor spaces with their playground planning. We offer a range of pandemic resources such as hand sanitizing stations, cleaning services, safety inspections and more. Contact us today to learn more.