Tips & Guides, Outdoor Playground Equipment

Safely Update Your School Playground Equipment

School Playground Equipment pirate ship

At Red Monkey Play, we understand the importance of safety in school playground equipment. Our experienced playground creators put child stimulation at the heart of every bespoke playground design. It is important to encourage learning and stimulation during a child’s time at school, this extends from the classroom to the playground. It is important to maintain the quality of your school playground equipment and carry out regular maintenance checks and inspections. Red Monkey Play offer full-service playground equipment maintenance and repair services for your school or nursery in the UK.

Nurturing safe playfulness in your school starts with careful design and exciting school playground equipment. Giving your children unique learning experiences through timber furniture, sensory environments and safe outdoor gym equipment is just the start of growing their confidence.

Importance of Playground Design and Safety

On average, 27,000 children a year are treated in emergency departments due to playground slide-related injuries alone, that’s why it is so important to place child safety at the core of design. We consider a range of factors when designing a bespoke playground, including equipment, surface types, furniture and most importantly the child’s behaviour.

Designing a safe playground and encouraging safe play will foster the physical development of your children, boosting confidence, social skills, communication skills, team working and much more.

It’s Time to Update Your School Playground Equipment

Teachers often ask, how long does school playground equipment last? Most playground features, if installed and maintained correctly, have the lifespan of around 15-20 years. However, this can be severely reduced if the equipment or playground isn’t properly looked after by both children and teachers.

It is important to keep a log of installation and maintenance dates of your school playground equipment. This should be shared internally within your school, allowing all members of staff to keep up to date with dates and checks. When your school playground equipment reaches ‘old’ age, regardless of whether its showing signs of wear and tear, it is good practice to carry out full safety checks. This is often a service provided by external installation companies or contact the same company who installed it for you.

The age of the school playground equipment is just one way to see whether it’s time to update your playground. As a teacher, you should check over the equipment at every playground break. Look for signs of wear and tear, any breakages, loose screws, or non-functioning equipment should be cordoned off from child play immediately.

Looking over your playground equipment daily is a good start to ensuring a safe playground. As a teacher, you should enforce monthly routine checks that cover every piece of equipment in more detail. Here you should check the working quality of the school playground equipment. It doesn’t mean you need to revamp the whole yard, it may mean a little TLC on some equipment is needed to ensure safe and working order.

Whilst its crucial you check over your school playground equipment, it is also important to check over the playground surface. Avoid those unwanted accidents and remove harmful hazards such as rocks, sticks of debris.

Playground Equipment Maintenance and Inspection

We’ve listed a helpful checklist of everything you should cover as part of your playground equipment inspection. This helps keep your playground a safe and fun environment for your children to learn new skills and develop through their childhood.

  1. Playscapes – This includes outdoor classrooms, adventure units, island challenges, castles, forts, bridges, towers and pirate ships. Any free-standing playground equipment should be included in this check, such as parallel bars, stepping stones and rope walks. Here it is important to check the anchorage and foundations of the playground equipment to ensure a secure hold.
  2. Safety Surfacing – This includes all types of playground surfaces such as mulch bond, wet-pour, tiles, artificial grass, rubber and resin bound gravel. It is important to check over your entire playground surface, paying extra attention to the surface around the playground equipment. Visibly check for any obvious damages and defects a well as root growth from underneath the playground surface.
  3. Playground Furniture – This includes seating, tables, benches, fencing, gates, bins, storage and signage. Check all fixings are secure, and all bearings are lubricated. If your playground equipment is timber, ensure a smooth surface remains on your furniture.
  4. Canopies- This includes any outdoor roofing, covers, shelters and gazebos. These elements are exposed to the outdoor weather the most as they are used for cover. Check over foundations and hinges for general wear and tear. Make sure your canopy is intact without damages, holes and scratches.
  5. Sensory Playground Equipment – This includes activity shelters, discovery tables, sand pits, water tables and water walls. These can be difficult to properly maintained if they are neglected. Water and sand can speed up the corrosion process and age your playground equipment early if not looked after. You should check for any loose debris within your sand container, ensure fixtures and hinges aren’t damaged by its contents.

Enforcing Children to Play Safely

Safe play starts with safe equipment, however if your children are not disciplined in the playground, it can be just as damaging. It is important to enforce safety in the playground, whilst allowing the children to express their creativity and imagination.

Active play is when your children are moving around the playground, using their muscles and releasing their energy. This is when they are most prone to careless accidents, getting carried away with rough play as their imaginations take over. It is the responsibility of the playground supervisor to monitor play and intervene before things get out of control.

Remember not to be overly restrictive, you’re there to make sure playtime runs smoothly, as well as encouraging social developments. It is often more beneficial to allow the children to resolve conflicts themselves before intervening.

How We Make Your Playground a Safe Environment

At Red Monkey Play, we monitor and assess the safety and risk at every stage of production. We take pride in being a professional and trusted company, injecting high quality into every playground. Take a look at the playgrounds we’ve already worked on, giving children safe and exciting play. If you need playground equipment replacing, repairing or maintaining, all our staff are qualified and accredited playground inspectors. Get in touch with our friendly team and call 0116 3669922 more information, or visit our contact us page.

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