What are the best playground equipment for schools?

If you are in the process of upgrading your school playground, it is essential to know which ones are out there and which are the best that will fit your space, budget and type of play you are looking for. In this article, we will cover some of the best playground equipment you can add to your school.

Types of Equipment

The Staples: Swings, slides, and carousels remain the heart of playground fun. They exist in many playgrounds, and your school can only benefit from them. It would be best to remember that some of this equipment only caters to one user at a time.

Nature Play: A significant 2024 trend involves returning to nature by creating circular spaces for natural play. Think of changing your plastic material equipment to more natural-looking ones made out of robinia and other wood.

Big Structures: These add significant play value and can accommodate many users simultaneously, offering a cost-effective solution for creating inclusive spaces. They can cost more upfront, but if well-designed, they can maximise the play value of your area.

Unprescribed Play: Beyond traditional staples, integrating features that encourage children to invent new ways to play enhances overall play value. These elements foster skill development, such as creativity and problem-solving, through play.

Learning-Focused Areas: Making play educational yet fun is crucial. Children often resist the idea of blending learning with play. Utilizing equipment like sensory panels and educational elements can effectively encourage children’s developmental skills.

What’s Best for You?

Every playground is unique, so determining the best equipment for your space can be challenging. Below, we provide examples to navigate the vast array of equipment options tailored to your design preferences and space requirements.

Small Spaces: Maximizing play value is essential in urban areas or schools with limited space. Vertical play structures, like high slides with sensory play panels, are ideal. Additionally, floor drawings and creative surface uses can enhance the play experience.

Large Spaces: With more room, the equipment options are virtually limitless. However, maintenance considerations are vital. Opt for equipment that concentrates play in specific, age-appropriate areas. Features like 3-bay swings, towers, and slides effectively confine play to designated zones. Adding obstacle courses and relaxation areas can further enrich the environment if space allows.

Difficult Terrain: For uneven landscapes, flying foxes are excellent. Utilising the terrain’s natural contours maximises your budget and the play’s value. Incorporating water play and other sensory elements can also enhance these areas.

Inclusive: Catering to all abilities is crucial, especially in schools with diverse student needs. Basket swings, ramps, and towers with varying access heights allow children of all abilities to play together. Inclusive seesaws and trampolines are also valuable additions. Choose equipment that is universally accessible, ensuring no child is excluded.

Ultimately, the best playground equipment for your school depends on your specific needs, available space, and budget. High structures, for example, will necessitate safety surfacing.

For more information on selecting the ideal playground equipment for your school, contact our specialist team at 0800 000 334 or email us at info@creospace.co.nz.

The Difference Between DIY and Full-Service Playground Company

Building a new playground is an exciting venture. Many jump into this project with a DIY spirit, armed with enthusiasm and essential tools. However, constructing a playground involves more than assembling platforms, swings, and slides. In this article, we’ll delve into the key differences between crafting a playground on your own and hiring a full-service playground company.

Understanding DIY Playground Projects

The Appeal of DIY

Embarking on a DIY playground project can be a thrilling endeavour. It allows you complete control over the design and aesthetic of your space. Being cost-effective only requires sourcing the equipment and dedicating time to build. DIY projects offer the freedom to blend various styles and cater to your children’s or community’s unique preferences.

Challenges of DIY

However, DIY projects come with their fair share of challenges:

  • Time and Effort: DIY projects demand significant time investment and physical effort. If you are not prepared to spare time doing research and doing the work, your project might never come off the paper.
  • Safety Concerns: Without professional knowledge, ensuring the safety of the playground can be tricky. Playgrounds should be somewhat risky but not life-threatening. Knowing that limit is extremely important, and that could be overlooked when you make your playground.
  • Sourcing Materials: Finding suitable materials and tools can be daunting. There are building supply companies, but having material that can last a long time and the correct type of material can be difficult if you don’t know.

Full-Service Playground Company - A Comprehensive Solution

What Full-Service Means

Full-service playground companies offer a holistic approach:

  • Professional Design: Expert planning and design ensure a functional and aesthetically pleasing playground. On top of that, they will work with you on a wish list, catering to your needs and budget.
  • Quality Construction: Using premium materials, these companies guarantee durability and safety. As a full-service guide working with you throughout the whole process, from concept to installation, they ensure consistent quality.

Benefits of Full-Service

Opting for a full-service company brings several advantages:

  • Safety: Expert installation ensures a safe play environment. They will ensure that your space is safe for play from day one to after installation.
  • Convenience: Saves time and eliminates the hassle of doing it yourself. They also offer a seamless journey, where you only have to deal with one contractor, and the full-service company will take care of the rest.
Full Service Design and Build companies work with you from concept.

Cost Comparison between DIY and a Full-Service Playground Company

DIY Costs

  • Materials: Purchasing raw materials and tools.
  • Unseen Expenses: Time investment and potential errors can add hidden costs. It will be cheaper, but you are taking a considerable risk and may end up with a playground that cannot be used.

Full-Service Playground Company Costs

  • Initial Investment: Generally higher but covers comprehensive services. All you have to do is share your vision and trust the process, and the space will be built to your needs.
  • Long-Term Value: Ensures durability and safety, offering better value over time.

Safety and Compliance

DIY Safety Risks

  • Lack of Expertise: This can lead to safety hazards, such as corners and bolts that could injure users.
  • Non-Compliance: Potential risk of not meeting safety standards. You can spend time and money and end up with equipment that will not be used.

Safety Assurance with a Full-Service Playground Company

  • Regulatory Compliance: Adheres to safety regulations. All designs are pre-approved by an inspector to ensure that every piece of equipment that goes out of the warehouse is compliant.
  • Professional Assessment: Risk assessments are done by experts. Safety surfacing for different heights ensures it complies with the latest standards.

Time Investment and Convenience

Time Commitment for DIY

  • Duration: DIY projects can be lengthy and susceptible to delays. Life happens, and you could end up with a longer lead time, or if you contract someone to help you, it could also increase your costs.

Convenience of a Full-Service Playground Company

  • Efficiency: Quick, professional installation. Expertise brings in efficient work, ensuring your lead times are respected, and you get a playground in no time.
  • Stress-Free: A hassle-free experience for clients. You only have to deal with one contractor who will guide and work with you through the process.

When choosing between DIY and full-service playground companies, it’s crucial to weigh personal needs, safety, and value.

Both options have their merits, but the right choice depends on your specific circumstances and goals. We encourage readers to explore their options further and reach out for more information or to discuss specific playground needs.

 

Learn more about our services calling us on 0800 000 334 or send us an email to info@creospace.co.nz

When Less is More: Rethinking Playground Design

If you are looking to build a new playground, you might be struggling to organise or add equipment or design features to your plan. However, sometimes less is more, and in this blog post, we will cover all you need to know about designing a space with fewer features but great play value.

The Essence of Traditional Playground Design

Classic Features and Their Limitations

Traditional playgrounds, familiar to many, typically feature slides, swings, and climbing structures. These elements have been playground staples for generations, offering classic fun and physical activity. However, the effectiveness of these elements is not just about quantity. More equipment doesn’t always equate to more play value.

In fact, in specific environments, these standard features might not be the best fit. Overcrowding a playground with too many structures can actually steer away from the quality of play, leading to a cluttered and less engaging space.

Broadening the Playground Horizon

Playground design is an imagination-rich space with a range of philosophies that go beyond traditional layouts. For instance, natural playgrounds incorporate rocks, water, and landscaping to create a play environment that harmonises with nature.

On the other hand, inclusive playgrounds are meticulously designed to be accessible and enjoyable for children of all abilities, including those with physical or sensory challenges.

Unique Designs and Their Impact

Let’s consider some innovative playground designs:

  • Adventure playgrounds, which foster unstructured play using materials like tires, wood, and ropes, encourage creativity and problem-solving. They are challenging, in essence, helping users grow different skill sets.
  • Sensory gardens, designed to stimulate the senses with features like scented plants and tactile surfaces, offer a unique play experience that engages different sensory pathways.

Each type of playground design has its own advantages and challenges.

Natural playgrounds, for example, can foster a deeper connection with the environment but may require more maintenance. Inclusive playgrounds, while promoting accessibility, might involve higher initial costs.

Small design items can be great in thematic playground design, such as this native bird.

Embracing "Simplicity": When Less is Ideal

Tailoring Design to Space and Community Needs

In certain areas, a “simpler” playground design is more appropriate and effective. A minimalist approach can greatly benefit small spaces or communities with specific needs.

A less cluttered playground can enhance creativity and foster better social interaction among children. It’s not just about the number of play structures but about creating a space that encourages imagination and free play.

The surrounding environment plays a crucial role in playground design, and a well-integrated space can significantly improve the play experience.

Intentional Design: Quality Over Quantity

Maximising Potential with Fewer Elements

The key to a successful minimalist playground is the focus on quality over quantity.

This approach involves selecting fewer elements but ensuring that each one is of high quality and serves a specific purpose.

Strategies for maximising playground potential with minimal elements include choosing versatile equipment that can be used in many ways, focusing on natural elements that provide a range of play experiences, and incorporating open spaces that allow for free play and imagination.

A few examples are working with your landscape to create different play patterns and encouraging exploration. Choose equipment that has more than one type of play feature in it.

The secret of a great design is creating a story, ensuring that your playspace resonates with what you and the community need. In that way, your space won’t be cluttered and will cater specifically to your user demographic.

The Value of Thoughtful Design

In conclusion, adopting a ‘less is more’ philosophy in playground design is about more than just a trend. It’s a commitment to creating spaces that foster imagination, inclusivity, and community engagement.

Do you want to know more on how you can have a space that will fit your needs? Call us on 0800 000 334 or send us an email to info@creospace.co.nz