Ahh, September—the beginning of fall, the smell of pumpkin spice lattes, and the time when kids head back to school. September is a season of changes, and there's been a lot of changes we've all had to go through lately. Preparing for back to school has been anything but regular for our school boards, teachers, and staff. That's why we're writing this blog—to provide a list of resources that can assist our schools on a wide array of topics:
- Planning a new playground
- Performing maintenance inspections on your existing playground
- Finding and applying for playground grants and funding
- Effectively sanitizing park and playground equipment
- Options for adding outdoor hand sanitizer stations
- Three upgrades to add for an easy to clean playground
- How we design playgrounds for inclusivity
- Some of our favorite playgrounds we've done (to serve as inspiration!)
Planning your new playground
Upgrading or installing a new playground is such an exciting endeavor! We've learned a lot about building playgrounds over the last 19 years, and we've packaged all of that learning into this handy dandy guide for you. It's meant to guide you along your playground planning journey so you end up with a playground you love.
- The 5 step process for planning a playground
- Key factors when determining your budget (no one likes going over budget!!)
- Notes on accessible and inclusive design
Playground maintenance inspections
Upkeep and maintenance are a natural part of playground development and management. The more play your park sees, the more wear and tear will naturally occur. Stay on top of it with this handy printable checklist.
- 10 elements you should be monitoring to ensure a safe playground
- A checklist you can print out
Playground grant and funding resources
Getting the funds for a new playground can be a daunting task, which is why we track all of the available playground grants and fundraising opportunities across Canada.
We're here to help turn your playground dreams into reality. - Michelle Poffenroth, Park N Play Design President
Park N Play is here to assist you with your application. We have a team of grant writers on staff that can work with you to craft the best possible application. We can also provide you with pricing and designs depending on the requirements of the grant.
What you get when you work with us:
- A list of the available grants and fundraising opportunities tailored for your specific geographical location
- Grant writing assistance (if you want it!)
- Pricing and designs included for your grant application
- An experienced team guiding and supporting you along your playground journey
Effectively sanitize your playground equipment
We initially wrote this back in March of 2020, but the information is (unfortunately) still relevant today.
In short, there are two stages to effectively sanitizing your equipment:
- Cleaning - removing dirt and impurities
- Disinfecting - removing hard to get germs
Adding outdoor sanitizer stations
These stations come in three different formats: pump, lever, or automated touchless. Each has an option to add a waste receptible to the station as well. All of the formats include a hefty locking enclosure to reduce tampering and vandalism, and can be easily installed in-ground, surface-mounted, or on the wall.
Three upgrades to make for an easy-to-clean playground
Making sure a playground stays clean and safe to use is an important part of building a playground. Cleaning and disinfecting your park is a critical part of safe playground maintenance. All of our playground equipment is made from easy to clean surfaces like plastic, metal and steel. But cleanliness extends beyond the playground equipment itself, so here are 3 easy upgrades you can add to your playground to help make cleaning easier and safer:
Easier-to-Clean Surfacing: playground surfacing options like Pour-in-Place or Recycled Rubber are known for being highly durable, low-maintenance foundations for playgrounds. With longer lasting strength and smooth surfaces, these choices are easier to clean the entire area. Because these are smoother surfaces, these options also improve accessibility to the playground for children of all abilities to be able to play.
Waste Receptacles: adding (more) waste and recycling bins to your park helps encourage those who participate in the space to help maintain the cleanliness of the area as well. Making sure these receptacles are clearly marked and easy to access can help limit the litter and garbage debris on the playground itself.
Recycled Plastic Seating: An easier-to-clean alternative to wooden seating, benches made of recycled plastic helps reduce the environmental footprint of your park while also ensuring seating is safe and clean.
How we design playgrounds for inclusivity and accessibility
Planning more ‘inclusive’ spaces, which we believe holds a different from planning ‘accessible’ spaces, means we are intentionally designing and selecting equipment that is more usable by more people, of all ages and abilities.
As we help plan and build these spaces, we ground our efforts in the 7 Principles of Inclusive Play, a guiding set of principles defined by PlayCore and developed to help structure a standardized approach to building more truly inclusive play opportunities.
The 7 Principles center on creating a playground that encourages play that should be…
- Fair. This means ensuring equitable opportunities for all abilities and all ages, considering the play needs of all users within the playgrounds community.
- Included. Design with flexibility in how users can interact with the structure with a variety of levels, movements, and needs.
- Smart. The playground should facilitate intuitive play and fun challenges through clear, simple design that encourages longer play interactions.
- Independent. Creating a space that encourages users to be able to play either independently or as a group and with a variety of access points to engage with the space and enter, exit or observe play with ease.
- Safe. A playground must meet the required safety standards, including rest and observation points
- Active. This means facilitating play with equipment and design that meets a diverse set of physical needs to encourage cooperative play and socialization.
- Comfortable. Incorporating complementary structures, like shade and seating, into an easy to access, simple design creates a comfortable space for users to stay for longer periods.
If your playground is fully inclusive, that means it would also be fully accessible. Thing that affect accessibility are: surfacing, transfer platforms, mobility-device accessible ramps, and including multiple play elements on those ramps.
Want some inspiration for your next playground project?
Over the 19+ years we've been designing and installing playgrounds, we've been able to build some pretty incredible play spaces (not to brag too much!)
Check out some of our favorites below:
- Guardian Angel School Playground
- Cy Becker Playground
- Commons Park Inclusive Playground
- Fireside School Inclusive Playground
- Lendrum Park "Honey Bee" Theme
Those are just a few of the many projects we've been apart of. You can see more of our work on our projects page.
Have questions about any of the resources we've put together, or have an upcoming project you'd like assistance with? Contact us today.