Whether it's a private home or public park, a safe but simultaneously fun playground design is the key to a successful project.
This all-important balance marks a successful project from one that falls short of what quality playgrounds are supposed to be all about. Developing a cohesive playground that not only makes kids excited and happy to be there but also places a high priority on keeping them safe should be a playground designer's guiding philosophy.
It is sometimes easy to fall into the trap of favoring one side over the other with the result either being a play area that may be for the most part completely safe and accident-proof or on the other side, a playground where kids can't wait to go and hate to leave, but is inordinately prone to injury-causing accidents because of unsafe equipment.
Research and planning are essential to mitigating these design challenges. A playground designer who knows his or her stuff will be sure to keep up on the latest and greatest innovations in playground equipment and surfacing. Currently, there are many companies that manufacture playground equipment, so it's easy to get lost in the fray.
It's advisable to find a handful of reputed, trusted brands and stick with them. Also, avoid overzealous bargain hunting. As is the case with most consumer products, the old ethos holds true -- you get what you pay for.
This leads to the importance of properly budgeting for a playground project. Top-notch equipment can be acquired through a number of means such as fundraising efforts and recycling programs in which existing playgrounds donate gear.
Again, the point here is quality equipment that combines a high level of safety features with creative, fun design concepts which children will find irresistible. This all-important conceptual combination is what draws kids to healthy outdoor physical activity as opposed to TV-driven couch potato pastimes.
Here are a few notable tips on how to judge:
- Tamper resistant screws
- Thicker gauge metal and plastic pieces
- Increased number of paint coats on equipment
- Secure placement of steel posts to ensure stable platforms, panels