Childhood is the time when fantasy takes you to fabulous destinations. Your imagination draws amazing stories! You can watch how your kids instantly turn into beautiful princesses, dangerous dragons, brave heroes, funny pirates, wizards, and noble kings while playing in a great playground.
Positive emotions that they receive from games and communication with peers are priceless. We mustn’t forget how much this emotional experience enriches the child’s inner world and how it develops it. Your child is learning how to understand the laws of life.
The playground’s main purpose is to give positive emotions and develop the child’s potential: physical, creative, spiritual, and social. The playgrounds, even the newest ones, are places of increased danger, so parents should be extremely careful and monitor their child during the game. Knowledge of safety rules is the best prevention of childhood injuries in playgrounds. How should a safe and good playground look like?
Design and constructions
The design of the playground should be strong, stable, rigid, and able to withstand loads. It should also be protected from corrosion and aging. Accumulation of water on the surface of the equipment is not allowed. Therefore, it must be possible to clean it from dust, dirt, and debris.
It should be regularly checked and maintained by authorized services.
The equipment must be designed so that it cannot be dismantled without specialized tools.
In addition, the child should be able to recognize a possible risk during the game, and adults should be able to get inside if necessary.
Another important point in the design of the modern playground is its accessibility for children with disabilities. If they can spend quality time in the same space with their peers, they will socialize better and not feel excluded.
Everything on the playground must be safe for health, and the materials from which they are made should not have a harmful effect on human health and the environment. Therefore, manufacturers are advised to avoid flammable or toxic materials. The new generation of playgrounds from natural, environmentally friendly materials in many ways (safety, aesthetics, durability) surpass gaming complexes made of metal or other old-fashioned material.
The corners and edges should be rounded and smooth or have proper protection. There should be no sharp, cutting surfaces between the movable and fixed structural elements. In addition, protruding elements with sharp ends or edges, rough surfaces that could injure a child or create a risk for him to get stuck between elements of playground equipment are not allowed.
Every playground should have an information board which indicates:
- rules for the use of equipment,
- information about age groups,
- restrictions on height and weight,
- telephone numbers of the rescue service, ambulance, and operator, which should be contacted in case of equipment malfunction or breakdown.
Playgrounds for different age groups
Children from 1 to 4 years old
Playgrounds for children from one to four years old should be designed based on the load from the maximum number of children on the equipment, the dynamic coefficient due to the loads caused by the active movements of children, and temporary effects (wind, snow, temperature, etc.). The height of the slides cannot be higher than 1.8 m. And there also must be fences on all structures (railings, slides, swings).
Children from 4 to 8 years old
Game complexes for children from 4 to 8 years old are not much different from playgrounds for the smallest kids. When calculating the load, the average weight of the child is estimated at 27.9 kg. For installation, higher slides and stairs are allowed. They are often placed within one large complex. This is because preschool children, in most cases, play together.
Children at this age are extremely mobile. In addition, parents often make a mistake, considering kids from 4 to 8 years old independent enough to play on their own. As a result, you get falls, injuries, bruises, and fractures.
Primary school children
In the playgrounds intended for children of primary school age, you can include entertainment elements (slides, swings) and sports-related equipment. Swedish walls, horizontal bars, rings, climbing slides will be a great choice.
If it is planned that children of all ages can spend their time on the playground, the universal zone for playing would be an ideal option.
The peculiarity of this complex is that all elements, descents, and climbs should be designed for the total weight of the number of children per item of equipment and the average child weight of 41.5 kg (including clothing). It is very important to know that each playing field element is designed for a certain load.
Therefore, when choosing a combined playground for different ages, each game element must have a certain safety margin.
Universal game complexes should be equipped with rails, fences, slides. The play areas for children of different ages should be somehow separated. This can be done using flooring colors, materials, and even thematically. The distance between game elements for children of different age groups should be more than 3 meters. The swing must be positioned so that children running past are not affected by the swinging seat or chain.
The surface on which the playground is installed should meet certain requirements: ideally, it should be covered with a special coating to soften possible falls and prevent injuries. Such coating can be made of wood chips, sand, or mulch, with a layer thickness of 15 to 30 cm, or it can be a special rubber coating. A rubber coating for playgrounds is made from crumbs obtained as a result of the processing of tires. It has no carcinogenic effects and can be used to create a soft coating for children’s complexes. It has a long service life and practically does not deteriorate under the influence of environmental conditions. It has been proven that many polymers used in households with which adults and children come in contact much more often and longer (laminate floors in houses, plastic window frames, vinyl curtains, and tablecloths) have more toxicity than rubber tiles.
For active children’s games, only a coating layer 30-40 mm thick is considered safe.
Compared to other options (asphalt, sand, sawdust), rubber flooring is safer and more hygienic.
The safety cover from a rubber tile is perfectly suitable for public playgrounds.
And if you are considering making a playground in your backyard, most parents allocate a place for it on the lawn, and we all know that a good lawn costs a lot, and it needs constant care. The good news is that you can use good quality artificial grass for that purpose. It will save you a lot of money and time.
How should a playground look
As for the appearance of the playgrounds — try putting yourself in the place of a child: you should want to immediately start playing in the playground! This is not a simulator for jumps and pull-ups, and your children are not robots. Children’s playgrounds should be admired and give joy. They should give inspiration! The playground should attract the children as a best friend, as a holiday!
Now, when you choose the right playground for your child or make it yourself, you need to think about:
Clothing of your kid
For games on the playground, you should not dress your child in clothes with ties, loops, or other objects that could catch on something.
Rules of behavior
When playing on the playground, never leave children unattended. Explain to the child that it cannot play dangerous games, use force, push and walk close to the swing when other children are on them.
Kids are too sincere, and you can’t deceive them. They like what they like. Unfortunately, adults are rarely interested in the opinions of the little guys who will play on the playground. Therefore, we urge all parents to prioritize correctly and be guided primarily by their child’s interests and safety.
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