“Play is the child’s work.” So says Joe Frost, PhD., noted childhood development expert and professor emeritus at the University of Texas. Play has many benefits to the creative, social, physical and intellectual development of children, as well as helping to establish a healthy, fun set of exercise habits. But first there is "work" to be done, and choosing the right playground equipment is no easy task. To help you make this task easier we have a list of some of the things you should consider as you decide, and at the bottom of the page you will find links to several resources.
There are several factors to consider when it comes to site selection, some of these are:
• Slope and drainage - the area should be fairly level with good drainage
• Sun exposure - will the playground equipment become too hot, with all playground equipment, parents and supervisors must monitor the children in care always check playground surfaces for excessive heat before allowing children to play.
•Travel patterns to and from the play area - are there hazards in the way or nearby, a stream close by or even tree roots across the path.
•Amount of space in the play area - room to run is necessary for fun and safety. Not only does the equipment need to fit but you need space for children to move safely between activities, and fall. That is right fall because children will fall.
Determine your user groups
• Age appropriateness -Children at different ages and stages of development have different needs and abilities. Playground equipment should have activities, deck heights, and access that encourages development and new skills but should be appropriate to the size and abilities of the age group.
• Occupancy - how many people will be using the area at one time and how frequently will they be using the area.
• Accessibility. Does the play area and equipment need to be accessible to children or adults with disabilities? New and altered play ground areas that are public or commercially owned now have to comply with the 2010 ADA standards. With our modular design, the design possibilities are only limited by your imagination! If you need to meet the 2010 ADA standards or are not sure please contact your local sales representative, for assistance.
Some factors to consider when planning your budget are:
• Playground equipment - Our playgrounds are affordably priced (shhh typically we are thousands less than comparable units)
• Cost of shipping or delivery - Unless indicated is not included in the price of the equipment, please contact your local sales representative for a quote.
• Installation - Our playgrounds are designed to allow you to install them yourself saving your budget in some cases thousands of dollars, all without voiding your warranty.
• Surfacing - there are multiple types of surfacing, and each have specific requirements so that they function to cushion the inevitable fall. When choosing this remember that the surfacing you choose must not only be at a minimum depth but must be maintained at that depth for safety, and should extend a minimum of 6ft (more for some equipment) from the external perimeter of the structure. It is the only thing cushioning a fall!!
• Cost of grading, landscaping - this is leveling the area, adding shade, benches, borders, fencing, signs, and anything else to beautify the play area and make it safe.
• Maintenance - each piece of equipment has its own maintenance requirements, our play structures are design to have minimal maintenance reducing the cost to keep it safe, clean and attractive.
IMPORTANT: Pleaseread for important information. In this material we have tried to provide some of the requirements stated in the CPSC Handbooks, ADA Handbook, ASTM F2373-11, F1487-11 and F1148-12. In the above mentioned publications you will find more specifics on the topics above as well as additional topics we in no way intend for this to be a complete list of requirements and suggest that each buyer should review these as well as any other publications available pertaining to their intended use and/or area. Also these publications are updated frequently with changes therefore, you should read these publications yourself to determine if any part or installation could prove a danger to a child, you will find links below.
Consumer Product Safety Commission
ASTM International, formerly known as the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM)
ASTM F1487-07a - Standard Consumer Safety Performance Specification for Playground Equipment for Public use.
ASTM F1148-12 - Standard Consumer Safety Performance Specification for Home Playground Equipment.
ASTM F1292-09 - Standard Specification for Impact Attenuation of Surface Materials within the Use Zone of the Playground Equipment.
ASTM F2373 - 11- Standard Consumer Safety Performance Specification for Public Use Play Equipment for Children 6 Months through 23 Months
ADA - American Access Board
Accessible Play area Guidelines - Section 240 of the 2010 Standards provides scoping for play areas, and section 1008 provides technical requirements for play areas. Section 240.1 of the 2010 Standards sets requirements for play areas for children ages 2 and over and covers separate play areas within a site for specific age groups, Section 1008.2.6 of the 2010 Standards provides technical requirements for accessible ground surfaces for play areas on accessible routes, clear floor or ground spaces, and turning spaces.
Because Future Play, Inc. cannot anticipate or control the many different conditions under which this information and/or products may be used, it does not guarantee the applicability or the accuracy of this information or the suitability of its products in any given situation. Users of Future Play, Inc. products should make their own tests to determine the suitability of each such product for their particular purposes. It is the responsibility of the purchaser to know if the product complies with the codes and guidelines recommended for their use, CC&Rs, city, state, county etc.