Tips and Guides

Outdoor Exercise Equipment For Schools: A Buyer’s Guide

The team at Red Monkey Play have prepared this buyer’s guide to assist education professionals with the selection of the most appropriate outdoor exercise equipment for their desired age group.

There is an increase in the number of schools that want to focus on developing the fitness of their pupils and outdoor exercise equipment is becoming more popular as a solution. This is also driven by the fact that this equipment is very effective in engaging children and making PE sessions more interactive and fun. Another benefit of installing this equipment is that it is eligible for purchase with the help of the government’s sports premium.

At Red Monkey Play we are dedicated to supporting our customers in making the best decisions for their schools and so we have pulled together some key areas to be considered when making the decision to purchase outdoor exercise equipment.

Purchasing The Right Equipment

As with any purchase, it is important to first consider what you are looking to achieve and then ensure that you select the right equipment to meet your objectives and requirements. There is a wide range of outdoor exercise and fitness equipment available on the market, which can be very overwhelming to sift through. The phrase “buy cheap buy twice” is more appropriate than ever when it comes to educational purchases. Therefore, it is crucial to consider what equipment you are looking to invest in, how long you expect it to last, how suitable is it for the age group of the children and most importantly, will it be engaging in the long run? This will also help you to determine how often this equipment will need to be replaced. 

When investing in outdoor exercise equipment, we would suggest that the type of equipment you find in local parks and leisure facilities are considered first, above the other options available. 

There are a number of reasons for this including:

  • This equipment is a proven solution to encouraging exercise and activity.
  • This equipment comes with a good guarantee. 
  • This equipment is also very familiar to children and therefore they are more likely to engage with it, especially if adults and teachers are actively getting involved. 

Who Is Going To Be Using The Equipment?

When purchasing this equipment, consider the age group that will be using it. Outdoor exercise equipment is available for all key stage levels. It should be noted that if you are purchasing for key stage 1 pupils, you should ensure that you purchase the appropriate equipment, suitable for children smaller than 1.4 m tall as the vast majority of equipment on the market is built for older children and adults.

If you are purchasing equipment for children in key stage 2, this is normally appropriate for children of an older age and in some cases, even adults, allowing teachers, parents or the wider community to also get involved.

Cardio Exercise

When implementing outdoor gym equipment into your curriculum, the focus of the session should be on cardio fitness which raises the heartbeat and gets the blood pumping around the body. This helps to increase our level of fitness in a safe manner. Trying to incorporate exercise that builds strength into the regimes of children of a younger age may not necessarily be appropriate due to their bodies not being fully developed, causing issues both now and in later life. Therefore, equipment that facilitates cardiovascular fitness should be considered as the main type of equipment for any school’s outdoor gym. Red Monkey Play prioritises cardio equipment within all of our packages.

Where Will The Equipment Be Situated?

Outdoor exercise equipment for schools can be situated on any viable surface including grass, tarmac and concrete. Most equipment packages available on the market include installation, however, this is normally only available for a grass or tarmac setting. Installing the equipment onto a concrete surface is possible, but it is a more difficult and lengthy process, likely incurring additional costs. Therefore, if possible, we would recommend installing your equipment on either a suitable grassed area or tarmac.

Do I Need Surfacing Around The Equipment?

There is no specific need for a safer surface to be installed underneath the equipment. If your exercise equipment meets appropriate safety standards, you do not need to go to the lengths of installing surfacing, and the additional cost attached, unless this is your preference. You may however wish to consider installing grass mats around the equipment, as this will help to extend the wear of the soil and stop it from becoming particularly muddy or worn.

How Is The Equipment Used?

When purchasing outdoor exercise equipment, many packages include lesson plans which can be very helpful in maximising the use of the equipment. If you are looking to get creative with your lesson plans, there will be many resources available on the internet such as articles and videos that will help explain how to incorporate them effectively into your PE sessions.

Maintenance And Servicing

As standard, most exercise equipment will come with a comprehensive guarantee ensuring that your purchase is protected. Through the implementation of regular maintenance and servicing, many of these guarantees can be extended. In some instances, this has resulted in the guarantee being extended from five years to up to twenty-five years. 

Before making your purchase, consider whether this is appropriate for your installation and the cost of doing so. You may feel that you can achieve this through your own premises officer, for example, and then reduce the ongoing costs of the equipment. However, taking out a maintenance and servicing plan can prove a valuable investment for the continued use and longevity of your equipment.

How Can Red Monkey Play Help You?

At Red Monkey Play we provide several packages for outdoor exercise equipment for schools, and we are more than happy to discuss how we can help, advise and support you in your purchase. Please don’t hesitate to contact us. You can either email us at hello@redmonkeyplay.co.uk or call our Leicester office on 0116 366 9922 or our London office on 020 38445 525 to book a free consultation.

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