Every child enjoys playing on a great playground. It is a place where they can hop, jump, relax, destress and just spend time being a child. A playground is a place that allows them to play with their peers and explore their imagination. By having an outdoor playground, the child will learn more social skills and will become more confident in their everyday tasks. As children grow, however, their playground needs change significantly. Here are a few things to consider in order to ensure the equipment is age-appropriate for the child.
When choosing any kind of playground equipment, it is important to ensure the equipment is safe for the age of the child or children. If the wrong equipment is chosen, it can cause children to have more frequent injuries. Before purchasing the equipment, it is important to note the age ranges. Most equipment will state what age range the equipment is meant for. Some people will think that if an older child uses equipment that is not meant for their age group it will be fine. This can cause an issue because, if the equipment is boring to the child, this may result in them doing something that is unsafe on the equipment.
Ages 6 Months to 24 Months
Social skills, the ability to be creative, and becoming a problem solver are some of the benefits of having a play area. Even infants can have fun on a playground. For this age group, it is important for them to have a place to walk, crawl, stand, and even fall without injuring themselves. They will need to have learning walls, tunnel mazes, and toddler slides. It is highly important for this equipment to be properly sanitized because this age group is known for placing everything in their mouths. Also, they are more likely to touch surfaces and then place their hands into their mouth.
Ages 2–5 Years
This age group has a wide range of capabilities. It is important to keep in mind that this age group is still learning a great deal about balance, so having a surface that is steady is very beneficial. Some things this age group enjoys are climbing, going through tunnels, sliding, and playhouses.
This age group is fine-tuning their balance, gross motor skills, fine motor skills, and strength. They would like to have bigger challenges in their play area. Some things this age group enjoys are having higher platforms, rope climbers, sliding, and monkey bars.
Considerations for All Age Groups
Paying close attention to the edges of the equipment is a top tip. The playground equipment should not have sharp edges. When equipment has sharp surfaces, the chances of a child becoming injured significantly rise. No one wants a child to become injured, so noting the surfaces and stability of the playground equipment is recommended.
The playground should not include a non-impact absorbing surface. Avoid surfaces like gravel, asphalt, grass, dirt, or concrete. Recommended surfaces include wood chips, mulch, sand, pea gravel, and shredded rubber. Rubber mats and other artificial materials can also be used. Any surface should be at least twelve inches deep and six feet wide under stationary equipment. This will help to cushion a child’s fall.
All of these things should be taken into consideration before choosing playground equipment.