If your school is thinking about updating its play equipment, you may well ask what is the best play equipment for a school to have? There is no single answer to this question as every school has different needs and what might be great for one, won’t necessarily suit another. However, this article is intended to help you look at the various options early in the playground buying process so you can get the best possible result for your school.
What are most schools looking for when buying playground equipment?
- A solution to the problem of the children not having enough to do in their lunch breaks and ending up with other problems like bullying as a result
- To encourage more voluntary physical exercise and to help build strength, wellness and stamina
- Students need to exercise to increase circulation which results in better classroom concentration
- Children need to improve their gross motor skills (eg: hand and foot co-ordination) & teaching staff have identified this as a problem
- The children need opportunities to develop social skills and playing together develops this
- Children are not interacting with nature and natural play elements enough
Apart from the play experience needs of the children, there are other factors to consider as well:
- What kind of budget is available – are funds already set aside for the project or are they still being raised?
- What will the maintenance requirements consist of – what will be required to keep the play area in good condition?
- What kind of space is available – is the play area in a large open space or in a tight corner between buildings?
- What will the likely number of users be – how many children could be using the equipment at the same time?
- What age is it for? This will be a big factor in the design of the playground
- Will children with special needs be using it? Whether it will need an inclusive design is a very important factor.
What types of play equipment are available to schools and which ones will satisfy the most needs?
- Traditional playground equipment
- Individual play elements
- Natural play – or a combination of any of the above
Traditional – this is the most common play equipment found in parks and schools across the land. It is very popular as it is the most cost effective, fits the most play value into a small space and challenges the physical abilities of a broad age range of children. It can also hold large numbers of children at one time. For Children’s Climbing Frames, visit http://www.niclimbingframes.com/climbing-frames.
Individual Play – this is a play area made up of separate play units like climbing nets, rockwalls and spinning items. They do take up more space as a result and require bigger soft-fall areas than traditional equipment.
Natural Play – otherwise known as natural playscapes, these are becoming more and more popular with a growing need for children to be engaging with natural elements. These areas require careful planning and design for the best results but encouraging play using natural elements like logs, rocks and plants is really exciting.