You need new playground equipment. Whether it’s because your old equipment needs replacing or you’re lacking equipment that meets a certain criteria. Children may be missing out on developing key skills. Whatever the reason may be, a fresh outdoor playground design is needed. So what should you do next?
The best place to start is to write down what you want. This means specifying what ages the equipment is for. Determining budget too is key- there is no point asking for quotes on a huge budget when the finances just aren’t there. Similarly, you want to get as much as you can to avoid missed opportunities. List what type of equipment you want, such as sensory equipment, fitness or climbing.
The next stage can involve your children. Get them to measure the area then come up with the designs. This is a great of making the children feel included and important. Work with them to research play equipment either by using computers and the internet or company brochures. By looking at children’s designs you can spot trends on what equipment they find exciting, and therefore make maximum use of.
Once you have a rough design and a “wish list” of new playground equipment, start to contact companies for a site meeting. A good playground manufacturing firm will offer a free site consultation and design. Speak to other schools to see which companies have a good reputation and offer good value for money. You want to work with a firm that listens to what you want, not what they think you should have. When they come back to you with a quote, look to see if the products meet all your needs. It can be hard but you want good quality equipment that doesn’t cost the earth. You don’t want cheap equipment that won’t last, but at the same time you don’t want massively expensive equipment meaning you get very little for your money. Ask the play companies for references near you- try and visit a project they completed nearby so you can get an idea on quality. Check things such as guarantees, after sales services, staff checks etc. Inform them of any access issues, when you would hope to start installing the play equipment or any other details of importance.
Once you’ve weighed everything up and chosen your preferred playground company they should support you and inform you every step of the way. Installing a playground with children around is never easy, so they should work alongside you to minimise disruption. Children will always find this stage fascinating so don’t be afraid to talk to them about what’s going on and teaching them key issues such as health and safety. They will be eager to start playing on the equipment!
Once the new area has been installed it is vital to keep on top of maintenance. Keeping timber treated every year may be a laborious job but it means your play equipment will stay in a good condition. Check fixings regularly.
7 Point Guide For a New Playground
Below is a simple 7 point guide to a successful new playground project.
If you want to arrange your free design consultation or just require some advice, please contact us here or call us on 01695 717229.