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School Playgrounds: How to Plan, Install, and Maintain

playing together

Tap the power of your school playground as you hone child development in a fun and safe manner.

In the face of rediscovering the importance of allowing children to play more, school playgrounds come back in the picture of honing early childhood learning alongside all levels of child development. Playground equipment is no longer seen as a waste of time, space, and efforts that are taken by schools, as they are spaces where real-life children's social interaction and skills are first tapped and tested. However, school administrators need help figuring out how to make the most of these fun educational play sets with the budget and other resources that accompany planning, building, and maintaining their playgrounds. What must school stakeholders look for if they want to get the best for their school playground budget? How will learning institutions be able to plan and execute their play spaces without having to worry about these long-term facilities?

Begin Your Plan With the End in Mind


Assess the goal of building your school's playground. Look into the profile of the students as far as their ages and abilities are concerned. Since issues of obesity and autism are facing the children of America today, plan your play space in such a way that they address these challenges. Well-planned play systems also pave the way to turn these alarming statistics into opportunities for every child's more holistic growth and development. Pinning down your institution's population along with the available area for the playground is also a good and logical starting point since every playground equipment could only house several kids at once.


Plan Around Your School Playground's Area


To ensure that you have all your bases covered, plan your play space with the area you have in your school. Working with your available spot entails checking on the climate in your region, the soil, the area's existing trees and other vegetation, the drainage, and other vital factors that will affect your school playground project. Setting the foundation of a play space not only determines the number of kids it will be able to serve. This also determines the lifetime of the playground equipment with minimal cost of ownership.


The Power of Planning with Parents


To increase your school's rapport and synergy with parents, involve them in the planning stage. You may even rouse them to contribute their resources to this project. Getting parents to volunteer on school playgrounds lifts some load off your back and builds a parent-teacher relationship beyond structured meetings. Parents, after all, are always yearning for ways to give their children the best education they can access. Involving parents also morphs a school playground project into a community-building opportunity.


Get Set with a School Playground Budget


After you have pinned down the goals and other major and minor considerations, the most crucial element for installing a school playground lies mainly in the budget. A rule of thumb in play systems is to allocate $1,000 to every child playing in it. Suppose you have 30 students. The budget that you should look into is $30,000. This may be overwhelming initially, but you can break down the cost and spread it over three years. While it might seem practical to cut down the price due to the other budget allocations, distributing the fee will bring in more value for students who have a good time while playing and learning during their downtime.


Suppose your school caters to toddlers and older kids; set aside a budget that will enable your school to provide separate play systems for kids to accommodate their capacity as far as their ages are concerned. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) highly recommends that educational institutions have playgrounds for infants and toddlers ages 6 to 2 years old, preschools from 2 to 5 years old, and finally, school-age kids in the age range of 5 to 12 years. Since budget is usually a constraint among starting and established schools, look at playgrounds that cater to a wider age range of school kids.


Play sets like the jungle treehouse-inspired Un Be Leaf Able play set allow children from 2 to 12 years old to have a productive and enjoyable playtime. It is also an ADA-accessible play structure. For a little over $22,000.00, a school could already cut its playground cost without sacrificing accessibility to a playground for kids of all ages and abilities. It is big enough yet still compact; hence, incorporating it with the school's available space will be fine.


For schools catering to preschool kids, the Child Center Play System line gives you play spaces that are not only budget-friendly but are built to match your school population and size. Six different sizes are carried by the Child Center Play System, which ranges from $1,999.00 to $7,499.00. Preschools with steady or growing demands can benefit from the Child Center Play System 6, the most extensive and all-in-one preschool play space. Apart from the usual slides and climber, this preschool playground equipment also comes with a tic-tac-toe panel for play-infused math lessons and a kid roof that protects kids from the harsh sun or sudden drizzles.

climbing fun

The size and available space for preschool playgrounds must be  a top priority.

During the budget phase, look at the amount that is incurred in a playground's lifetime. Do the materials of your chosen playground equipment come with a reliable and worry-free warranty? Do play equipment associations reputable and professionally recognize the installers? What are the costs of inspection, maintenance, and repair? Is it something that your school can manage? School playground equipment is a long-term asset that is supposed to turn into something other than your institution's liability. Remember, schools must always keep fun and safe play on one page. Reducing unnecessary and avoidable playground-related inconveniences must also be part of plotting your cost estimate in your budget.


Creative Meets Critical: School Play Set Design


Since kids of all ages generally choose screen time over active playtime, educators must put time and effort into making play sets on school playgrounds look appealing and welcoming. 


Presently, themed play has been proven to stir the minds of schoolchildren as they gain access to a world far beyond their structured academic schedule. Parents and educators see the detriment of disallowing kids to go outdoors and get busy while letting kids explore the world without rules or boundaries. More so, spending time outside without getting a high score or giving the best answer calms both parents and their children at no cost on the pocket. Themed play inspires school children to think beyond the box and outside the walls of their comfortable homes and classrooms.


Your themed school playground design must marry function and form. Themed playgrounds give schoolchildren the key to a new, exciting voyage. The Adventure Galley can be customized according to your school colors and morphs kids into storytellers, explorers, and history makers during recess or after school. While themed playgrounds are priced higher than conventional play systems, an hour of free-themed play gives kids of all ages a much-deserved break from their stressful academic lives. More importantly, such school playground equipment holds many kids at once due to its enormity, so it gives your $41,028.00 school playground budget its much-deserved justice.


Practical Saving Tips for DIY School Playground Equipment Installation


To achieve the perfect and reliable look of playgrounds with more creative designs like that of the Adventure Galley, professional playground equipment installers must be on call to ensure that each bolt and nut can deliver fun, accessible, and safe play for every school kid. Installing your school playground must come with all checks coupled with double checks to ensure that kids of all ages and abilities will not be part of the growing number of playground injuries. Installation is also the time for rounding up parent volunteers again, as this is one of the highlights of a playground project.


For schools leaning toward budget-friendly playgrounds, installation costs can be your bargain. To meet the needs of these schools, the complete Play Simple Digamma set could be easily installed by parents, school personnel, and even school administrators. Installing a school playground with volunteers from the school instead of professionals gives more savings on top of its $17,855.00 cost. You get to build a child's dream with your bare hands, and with all the care, you and parent volunteers experience a sense of pride and joy in the process. While getting the hang of installing your school playground, getting consultations and supervision is still very much needed from a professional installer, followed by a safety check and professional inspection.


Day Care Playground Installation for Indoors and Outdoors


Daycare centers have been gaining momentum in recent years. For starting child centers, flexible playground learning equipment is highly recommended. Early childhood education begins with allowing infants and toddlers to play while encountering their many firsts. Infant and toddler playgrounds encourage this age group to crawl their way as they interact and react to their surroundings.

Big Outdoors System

Installing this flexible indoor and outdoor playground for infants and toddlers is easy as 1, 2, 3.

The Big Outdoors play set is not only meant to stay outdoors as this $2,690.00 play equipment is collapsible and could be taken inside your center, too. No need to worry about getting extra hands to make a playground installation possible. Installing this easy-to-assemble and compact play set gives young kids a multi-sensory experience as they inch their way to a path resembling a backyard. While infants and toddlers work their way on their first playground, they can fine-tune their motor skills without them knowing it.


Maintaining School Playgrounds: Life-Long Learning Equipment


Part of the cost of owning space for kids to play in is maintaining it and keeping it clean, safe, and free of breakage. Supposing you have gotten the best playground supplier, you no longer have to be troubled as you are guaranteed a worry-free after-sale service. Reputable playground equipment bet on their offerings and go to the length of giving a 100-year warranty on certain parts of their playground installations. Since play sets are subject to serious work as school children indulge in free, unstructured playground fun time, damage due to artificial and natural deterioration are strong possibilities. You must take time to read the fine lines in every playground equipment quotation that you request.


Remember that warranties are forfeited when damage is due to misuse, vandalism, modified parts, or damage such as dents, scratches, weathering, and normal wear and tear, which are all part of maintenance. You could hire parent volunteers to (maintain the school playground) to ensure that the playground is well-kept and maximized for the benefit of kids who want to learn while having fun. You want your playground to instill discipline despite freely roaming and indulging in your play space. Parent volunteers could even take time to overlook the playground as they For the best solution for your every budget and every need, get in touch with our representatives and see how one well-planned, well-installed, well-maintained play space can make a difference in the lives of your school's children in every aspect of their development.

Learn about the author: Jennifer Holmes