Swing High, Swing Low: Choosing Playground Equipment
Two kids, same place, side by side, dreaming two completely different dreams. One is an airline pilot, another, a self-propelled super hero. Children imagining and dreaming, pushing the limits of their boundaries, where? On the playground, of course!
With the arrival of spring,children are begging to go outside to play; to swing, slide, climb, crawl… you name it. Whether you are a parent or a city planner, you understand the importance of a safe playground. The kids themselves just want to play, but YOU have many issues to consider. Even though fun and imagination are the most important considerations for the kids, for the adults stability and safety take priority. With a bit of research and careful selection everyone will be satisfied.
Before looking any further into features of playground equipment and swings, keep this important point first in your mind. Nothing beats adult supervision when it comes to ensuring safety. Second only to that is teaching children to be alert, courteous, and careful. With these two most important issues consistently foremost, you can then move on to the playground equipment itself.
Playground equipment and swing sets are generally constructed from wood, plastic or metal. While each different material has merit, construction should take into consideration the final product. For instance, it makes sense that a slide would be better constructed of plastic. It will not heat up in the summer sun, nor will it splinter into little behinds sliding down. On the other hand, monkey bars would be best constructed of metal because it can withstand the weight of little bodies swinging, again without splintering into little hands. A clubhouse or fort constructed of wood will be able to withstand the pounding of climbing feet while providing traction that might be missing from smooth plastic or metal. Swing sets are generally constructed of a combination of these materials.
When buying swing sets, safety comes first. Be sure the swing is suspended from strong metal chain that has been encased in a rubberized tube. This prevents pinching that can occur with unprotected cables or chains. A rope can fray and become unsafe. The construction of the swing set frame should be sturdy and heavy, with a wide base for stability. The seats should be flexible and comfortable, allowing the child to seat firmly and securely.
As with swing sets, stability and strength are important factors in slides. The frame should be strong and durable and able to withstand the weight of several children at once. The steps should be close enough together to be easy for kids to climb with strong, sturdy handrails. The actual slide should be smooth yet strong and more curved than flat.
Forts and play centers should be built so that climbing is safe. There should be adequate protection from falls, and safety ladders for access. Extra features make a play fort fun and imaginative. The wood should be smooth to prevent splinters.
Besides the actual playground equipment, there are other considerations to factor into your decision. What kind of warranty is provided? Does the warranty match the product? For instance plastic playground equipment will probably not have as long a warranty as wood because of is vulnerability to the elements. Is delivery and installation included in the price of the equipment? Often safety is the main factor here. If you choose to do the setup yourself, you may lack the experience of the experts.
Choosing a swing set or playground equipment is a very personal matter. If you are a parent wanting a backyard swing set, or a recreational specialist setting up a community playground, it is important to find a company that will work with you and help you design exactly what you need. Customer service is second only to safety when choosing playground equipment. Finding a company that puts safety first, lets you customize your playground, and provides a sound warranty will be the first step to unleashing your child’s imagination.