Playground equipment is essential for any school. Children learn so much through play. Not only do they learn social skills through playing with their friends but they learn the laws of the world through experimental play. Whether it be metal or wooden playground equipment, it’s essential to have some. The real question is, however, what is best to help children learn? Let’s have a look at the differences between wood and other materials and show you why wood wins every time.
What Playground Equipment Materials Are There?
We’re obviously on team wood over here at Red Monkey Play, but we acknowledge that there are alternative materials. You can’t really make swings entirely out of wood for example. We believe that a mix should be used, but natural materials like wood should be the main component whenever possible.
The most obvious alternative materials you can use are metal and plastic. Commercial-grade plastic play equipment is available in a wide range of attractive colours, and although plastic is slightly less durable than metal, it is also safer if a child takes a tumble. These characteristics make it a great material choice for indoor play equipment, structures for younger playground users, and independent play stations.
Larger outdoor equipment may be made of metal or wood, with high-traffic equipment like slides, swings, and climbers in public playgrounds, usually made of metal. Commercial-grade metal playground equipment is made of extremely durable steel and comes in a variety of bright colour coatings.
The Pros and Cons of These Materials
Steel playgrounds are highly durable in dry climates but can be subject to rust in wet climates. In hot, sunny climates, they can also lead to contact burns for your kids. In recent years, polyvinyl coating has become a popular option for steel playgrounds, which helps to protect the structures from rust damage.
This coating, however, can be torn through, and in such cases it’s often an entire deck which rusts through, leading to expensive replacement costs. Steel playgrounds are suitable for high-impact, high-use facilities in everything from cool-dry to hot-wet climates, depending upon the quality of their polyvinyl coatings.
As mentioned before, plastic is safer than metal playground equipment. They allow you to also use recycled plastics to be friendly towards the environment. One of the drawbacks is that they can still be unsafe, with sharper edges which can easily cause some damage. They are also often the most expensive when you go for quality.
Why Wooden Playground Equipment is the Best
Wood is a popular playground equipment material for residential playgrounds due to its natural appearance and customisable nature. Wood playsets can be easily revamped with fun add-ons and rearranged in new configurations. Despite needing more maintenance due to the natural aspect of the material, fixing a broken section often requires replacement of just a single board or post. Wood is a cost-effective choice, suitable for low-impact, low-use facilities in cool, dry climates.
As we have mentioned before however, the main benefit is for the children’s development. Exploring natural learning opportunities is essential for children this age. Admit it, a wooden climbing frame, swing set or trim trails look so much more appealing than their plastic or metal counterparts. Constructing a play environment that children can play in that include natural materials will better fit into their surroundings and compliment stones, sand, wood chip trails and even wooden playhouses.
Yes, the traditional playground can be very colourful and fun for children, however, they don’t fit well into their surroundings and will more often than not look unappealing when subjected to adverse weather and months of use. Wooden playgrounds stimulate a child’s imagination and creativity more than a traditional playground and may also help children to connect more with nature and learn about their environment.
Get in Touch Today to Discover Wooden Playground Equipment
We here at Red Monkey Play pride ourselves in crafting unique and engaging sensory playground equipment and environments for children which are vital in developing crucial skills, encouraging learning and reaching goals. With imagination at the heart of everything we do, we have been capturing the attention of school children for over 20 years – whilst always maintaining the use of safe and environmentally friendly playground equipment in the process.
We work with schools and nurseries across the UK to create stunning bespoke playgrounds – and we’d love to work with you too. Discover more and explore our wide range of sensory playground equipment: get in touch today to find out how we can restore the fun into your playground.
Leicester Office: 0116 366 9922
London Office: 020 38445 525
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