A playground brings more than just fun to children. Among the benefits of playgrounds for children include enhancing motor skills, providing sensory experience, promoting healthy social interaction, and more.
According to a study, children who live near parks with a playground report better mental health than those who don’t.
Bring the joy and myriad of perks of playgrounds right to your backyard. Here’s a brief guide on how to plan for it, what you need to prepare, and tips you should know.
The Planning Stage
A proper plan gives your project direction, helps ensure you finish everything within the timeline and your budget, and minimizes the risk of mistakes or accidents.
Assess Your Space
Before turning your backyard into a play area, take a critical look at the available space. A recommended playground area size is around 20 x 30 feet, ensuring ample room for various play structures. A great spot has good visibility and proximity to the house.
Consider spaces with natural shade, so your kids won’t play under the direct sunlight all day long. It should also have good drainage to avoid flooding. These criteria set the stage for a safe and enjoyable play zone.
Over 200,000 children visit emergency rooms for injuries caused by playground falls. Without proper safety measures, playgrounds can be hazardous for kids.
Start by looking into playground equipment with built-in safety features. Look for rounded edges, secure fastenings, and sturdy materials. Choose age-appropriate designs and follow guidelines for spacing between structures.
The Playground Equipment Selection
Build a dynamic playground space with these essential equipment structures:
From classic single swings to elaborate multiseat designs, there are various types of swing sets catering to different age groups and spaces. For younger children, bucket-style swings provide a secure seat, while older kids may prefer adventurous options like tire swings or gliders.
Elevate your backyard playground with engaging climbing structures like play towers or climbing walls. This option emphasizes choosing materials that are durable and weather-proof. Wooden structures exude a natural aesthetic, while durable plastic or metal options offer longevity. Your climbing feature should not only challenge but also endure the test of time.
When it comes to slides, the choice revolves around either a traditional straight slide or a twisty, spiraled one. For home playgrounds, a twisty slide adds an extra layer of fun, flair, and excitement, but the straight slide can be just as thrilling.
Other Play Features
Enhance the play experience by adding features such as sandboxes, monkey bars, and seesaws. These elements contribute to a well-rounded playground, encouraging a variety of physical activities and social interactions. Consider combinations that cater to different interests, providing a diverse and enjoyable play environment for all.
Essential Materials and Tools
Your materials and tools will depend on your plan’s details. But here are the basic things that will most likely make it to your list.
Here are the materials that you might need to prepare or keep in mind when choosing the type of play structures to install:
- Sturdy wooden beams
- Weather-resistant screws and nails
- Outdoor-grade plywood
- UV-resistant plastic for slides and swings
- Ground cover materials (mulch, rubber matting)
- Galvanized or stainless-steel hardware
Your backyard playground is exposed to elements all year round. Active play subjects playground installations to constant hit, scratch, pull, and other external hits that might speed up their wear and tear. Selecting weather-resistant materials ensures the longevity of your playground. Invest in quality to create a safe and durable space for your little ones to explore.
You may need more depending on what you plan to do and your installations, but here are the basic tools you might need:
- Handy benchtop drill press
- Screwdriver set
- Measuring tape
- Adjustable wrench
- Rubber mallet
Make sure to follow safety protocols when using these tools. Ensure proper storage and keep it out of your children’s reach.
4 Best Practices When Building a Fun, Safe Backyard Playground
Here are expert tips to keep in mind when putting together a comfortable and safe backyard playground for your kids:
1. Follow an Appropriate Layout
Layout matters. Ensure structures are appropriately spaced, considering the minimum distance between swings and the height of swinging items above the ground. Plan separate bays for installations to avoid crowding. A well-thought-out layout maximizes safety and enhances the overall play experience.
2. Make Activities Age-Appropriate
Tailor activities to the age group using the playground. Integrate structures suitable for older kids, like a climbing wall or more complex monkey bars. For younger ones, simple structures like a portable Gaga ball pit will surely be a hit.
3. Mind Ground Safety
A grassy surface alone won’t guarantee injury-free play. Prioritize safety with shock-absorbent, slip-proof ground surfaces. Materials like rubber mulch or safety tiles provide durability, reducing the risk of cuts and injuries. Ensuring a safe ground surface is as crucial as the equipment itself.
4. Ensure Longevity and Adaptability
Craft your playground to withstand the test of time. Opt for durable materials and structures that can endure changing weather conditions. Additionally, design the space with adaptability in mind, allowing for modifications as your children grow. This approach ensures that your backyard remains a vibrant play haven for years to come.
A Space for Fun and Growth
Design a space that lets your children create the happiest memories and thrive. Backyard playgrounds may cost you time and resources, but it’s a worthy investment. It fosters physical, cognitive, and social growth. If you’re unsure how to plan such a considerable project, start here. This guide will help you take the right first steps towards transforming your backyard into the happiest place for your kids.