A playground is an asset to a school, offering a beautiful outdoor space in nature for children to run around in and play. Playground equipment is also highly beneficial when it comes to the development and education of the kids using it, helping them to work and grow their minds and bodies in a safe, engaging environment.
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If you are currently planning to have a playground installed in your school’s outdoor space, you might be feeling a bit overwhelmed with all the different options available to you. It’s a big decision, not only because the cost of a playground is so high and funding isn’t exactly easy to achieve, but because the pieces will have such a big influence over the fun, learning and development experience of the kids who use them every day.
To help you get more of an idea of which pieces the experts recommend, here’s some advice on how to choose the right outdoor play equipment for your school from the professionals:
Don’t Fund it Alone
Your process of getting a playground installed might be as simple as an application, but for most, it’s a mixture of school funding, grant applications and fundraising. There is expert advice available on the funding process that should be checked out before you even start to get a quote. Certain rules and guidelines have to be followed to give you the best possible chance of getting funding, and that starts from the company you choose to give you a quote. Experienced, trusted playground equipment companies like Sovereign Play have extensive guides on funding based on years of experience. Reading through a free guide like that can give you a great insight into how to choose the right playground equipment in adherence to different funding guidelines you may have to stick to.
Around 40,000 injuries happen to kids on playgrounds annually which leave them needing to go to hospital. Many more occur that are more minor, including cuts, scrapes and ground level falls. By following expert guidance on guidelines for safety, you can be sure the playground is compliant and as safe as possible for the children who use it. It is also a good idea to choose a trusted and experienced company to supply your equipment, rather than trying to choose the cheapest. It is tempting to cut costs this way, but the equipment will be more durable, safe, and well-designed if you choose a company offering great value for money. This isn’t an area where you want to be cutting corners.
A Multitude Of Benefits
There are many different science based studies, and opinions from paediatric experts recommending different playground equipment for different benefits. With a great design, you can have a playground that mixes a range of equipment so that the children playing can benefit from using the equipment in lots of different ways.
You will need to speak to the playground equipment company to get an idea of what is suitable for your specific outdoor space, however, as a general guideline, the following are popular pieces of equipment that offer different benefits to the children in a playground, and so a combination of them could mean you get the best possible overall design for the children in your care:
Imaginative & Sensory Play
Imaginative and sensory play equipment is equipment such as; mud kitchens, outdoor drums, imaginary play shelters and sand pits. This kind of equipment is incredibly important for a child’s development, helping them to safely explore emotions, gain more of an understanding of language, improve general classroom skills, improve social skills, gain better focus and concentration, and learn emotional regulation. It can also help children to cope with mental health challenges, too.
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Large Central Pieces
A large central playground piece like a climbing frame, or a play tower will offer a multitude of different benefits to the children using the equipment. They get mental stimulation as they problem solve, socialize, invent games around the equipment, and let their imagination run wild. Additionally, their bodies are growing strong and gross and fine motor skills are being challenged as they grip, run, crouch, pull, push, scramble and climb. Some schools will only install one large central piece and no other equipment because it is a multi-centre design that offers a huge range of benefits.
Swings have long been the most popular piece of equipment on a playground, and they have a huge range of benefits too. Experts say that swinging helps boost spatial awareness, develop fine and gross motor skills, and helps a child develop core strength. Swings can also be therapeutic for children as they help to balance any vestibular imbalances. The soothing motion of a swing can be particularly helpful for children with sensory needs, such as children with ADHD. The best playground equipment companies will have DDA swings and basket swings to make your swings even more inclusive and accessible by all students.
Experts agree that children who spend time in nature can benefit from improved confidence levels, better ability to explore creativity and imaginative play, better understanding of the world around them, and better mental health. An outdoor play area is already lending itself to providing those benefits just by being outside. However, with the addition of insect hotels and planters, kids can be surrounded by even more natural stimuli, and those items can also be utilised in outdoor lessons, too.
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Why Not Speak To The Experts For Direct Advice From The Professionals?
For individualised advice from experts who know how to help you choose the right equipment for your school’s outdoor space, why not speak to Sovereign Play today? They can give you guidance on funding, installation and equipment, as well as extra considerations like maintenance, playground flooring and markings. With the right advice from those who are truly in the know when it comes to playground equipment, the kids in your care can benefit from a beautiful, safe playground that gives them lots of developmental benefits for body and mind, and of course, hours and hours of fun in any weather.