For many of us, the summer is by far the best period of the year. The bright sunshine and warm weather afford the room to catch up on all the outdoor we’ve missed during the winter. And it’s also the period when children clamor to play outside. For administrators, the summer heralds an upward spike in patronage. This makes it even more important to maintain the play environment and playground equipment in general.
The situation could be slightly different for school designs. Schools are usually on break for a good part of the summer and invariably, the area is on break too. Still, the holidays present a good opportunity to carry out a thorough maintenance of the area. This would ensure all equipment is in top shape by the time school resumes and kids can enjoy their play in a safe environment.
Whether you’re running a community space or school-based design, here are some tips to prepare for the anticipated increase in demand:
Check the state of playground equipment
Although you are expected to carry out routine playground maintenance, this check should be more thorough to ensure you haven’t missed anything. You should inspect your playfield amenities thoroughly in a bid to ensure they are safe for children. Check for loose bolts, cracks, missing cap, loose anchoring, and anything that can wrong with the amenities in your playground. If there’s any fault you cannot address immediately, set up warning signs to prevent children from making use of the equipment while you await an expert.
Check for surfacing problems
The surface goes a long way in preventing injuries or preventing the severity of injuries when they happen. Depending on the nature of your playground surface, the wet and harsh weather that’s characteristic of winter months. You should check for any kind of damage and repair immediately. Sandbeds and other packed surfaces may have become loose over time. This would reduce the ability of such surface to cushion falls. It’s important to refill these portions, especially in extra busy areas such as slide exits.
Check area fencing
The fencing in your space contributes greatly to the safety of the kids. Broken fences give children the freedom to wander out of the play area and this could be dangerous especially in urban centers. Timber fences are highly susceptible to insect damage and you should check thoroughly to ensure there are no weak portions. Steel fences or fences made from other construction materials may also wear and tear over time. It’s important to reinforce weak or broken portions and confirm the fencing is still able to do the job for which it was installed.
Check play area signs
Playgrounds should a wide variety of signs that direct, guide, caution, or warn children and adults alike. These signs play a vital role in making play fund and safe on the playground. The winter months may have been harsh on the signposts in your construction. Thus, you should check to see that they are still visible and appropriately placed. The warning signs and age restriction signs on equipment may also erode and become less visible over time. As an administrator, you should check for all these and ensure you fix all the signs that need fixing.
Check for insect damage
If your playground equipment has wooden structures, they are prone to insect manage. You should scan the entire area for insect infestation and damage. Playgrounds with a history of such infestations may schedule periodic fumigation exercises as part of routine maintenance. However, it is important to ensure that the pesticides used for the exercise are safe for the environment, and especially the kids.
Clean the play area thoroughly
While the regular cleaning of your playground is a must, organizing a special cleaning exercise this summer won’t be a bad idea. The cleaning team should ensure every area of the area is thoroughly inspected and debris, broken glass, and other potentially harmful objects should be removed. This is especially important for major play areas. Also, the walls of the buildings should be checked for unwanted graffiti and inscriptions on areas such as toilets should be cleaned. Remember, safety goes beyond preventing injuries. The emotional health of the kids should also be protected.
Add new play equipment
If your design has been equipped with the same set of amenities since inception, you are probably way behind other facilities. Adventure play elements such as wall climbers and creative play and adventure hybrids such as clay modeling are particularly becoming more popular. You should consider adding such equipment if you do not have them already.
Update the playground’s activity schedule
Sometimes, the amenities on the playground are not enough to keep children entertained. Research has shown that older children do not like going to parks because they do not find existing park activities fun or entertaining. Playground administrators need to get creative in this regard. By organizing special sports and entertainment programs, you can make your design distinct and keep the children coming. Remember, all the programs should be inclusive, catering for the need of different genders, races, and ethnicities. Children with disabilities and learning challenges should also be able to participate in these activities.