With school letting out for the summer, it's a great time to upgrade your school's playground to get it ready for next year's students. Playground equipment, no matter how durable, undergoes extreme wear and tear every school year. With a few months' break before the next school cycle begins, this is a good time to take a look at your playground for signs of wear.
What are the Signs of Playground Wear & Tear?
Playground equipment is built to withstand harsh weather exposure and vigorous use during recess and after school. However, it will eventually degrade from wear and tear. To find out if your playground equipment and surfaces need replacement, here are a few things to look for.
1. Uneven Surfaces
Playground surfaces are often taken for granted, but uneven surfaces can contribute to potential injuries for your staff and students. This safety risk is most problematic with loose-fill playground surfacing, like engineered wood fiber. Engineered wood fiber gets shifted around the playground due to wind and kids playing.
2. Frequent Repairs
As playground equipment ages, it requires periodic repairs. This is especially true on favorite components used by kids every day. If you find yourself making repairs on equipment more frequently during the school year, it's time to replace it.
Playground equipment is designed to be safe for children to play on, but if staff or parents start logging complaints, it's time to take a second look. If equipment is damaged or missing pieces, replacing it with new playground components will remove the unsafe equipment and replace it with new equipment designed and built with new safety standards. It's important to take complaints seriously before they develop into more serious issues.
4. Old Playground Equipment
Playground equipment is hardy and it lasts for 10 to 20 years. But, a good practice is to evaluate it every 10 years. This gives you a chance to perform preventative maintenance to lengthen the life of the equipment, and helps you stay updated on the general condition of your playground. Another factor is that new playground equipment is often built to a higher safety standard due to updates in materials and technology.
5. Broken & Defective Equipment
Playgrounds should be fun to use, and it's no fun when equipment is broken. Broken equipment isn't always caused by children playing, it can also be caused by severe weather or an accident during construction or special events. Regardless, if you have any broken or damaged playground equipment, replacing it may be your best option.
Benefits From a Playground Upgrade
There are numerous other benefits your school will receive when you upgrade your playground equipment and materials. Some of these are:
- Improving Playground Inclusivity - Significant changes to playground designs and features offer inclusive play spaces for kids of all abilities and ages. Upgraded equipment adds access for kids of different physical and mental capabilities, like mobility issues, sensory processing disorders, or other special needs.
- Opportunity to Add Amenities - You may note missing things in your playground that kids and caregivers would enjoy. One example is space or benches for adults accompanying playing children. Added shaded structures is another possibility.
- Improved Experience for Guests - If guests like their experiences at the playground, they will spend more time there. This is one way to grow the community feeling in your neighborhood year round.
Would you like to improve your playground this year? Contact May Recreation for more information.