From the time the first playground was built in the United States 130 years ago, school playground equipment has been an essential part of childhood development. Swinging on swings, climbing jungle gyms and hanging on monkey bars conjure up happy memories of simpler times when hours were spent having fun on at the neighborhood playground.
In today’s technology driven world, playing outside has become even more important. According to research by the Kaiser Family Foundation, children aged 8 to 18 spent 4.5 hours a day watching TV in various forms, including on their mobile phones and the Internet. Additionally, even though 83 percent of parents say it’s important that their children learn how to use technology, nine out of 10 would prefer them to spend their childhood outdoors.
Periods of regular play as a child are linked to the development of nearly 400 genes in the cerebral cortex. Playing on a playground, kids learn the importance of playing alone or with other kids, learning and experience different emotions as they play and develop social skills.
It’s important for health as well. To maintain a healthy weight, children should get at least 60 minutes of moderate exercise per day. Today, less than one-third of children reach the Sports and Fitness Industry Association’s classification of “active to a healthy level,” which is just 25 minutes of high-calorie-burning physical activity three times a week.
Playgrounds are plentiful in the United States—Chicago has more than 300 playgrounds at its public parks. However not all kids get the recommended amount of exercise. Seventy three percent of US school districts provide a recess period for students, but only 43 percent of kids aged 6 to 11 get the recommended 60 minutes of exercise.
Playgrounds are a key piece of childhood development, but they can also bring communities together. Local fundraisers can be done to raise money for jungle gyms, slides, slings and other playground equipment. Community playgrounds are often the site of community events such as picnics and parties, making it as important as a town hall or a church in some communities.
If you’re looking to spruce up a neighborhood playground with some replacement parts, PlaygroundEquipment.com offers a wide range of parts such as tubes, commercial swing hangers and swing mats that can have your local playground looking as good as new. Looking for commercial swing hangers? Searching for a new jungle gym canopy? Want to add a climbing rope to your existing playground? This site has options for all of those things.
Playgrounds and playground equipment are constantly evolving too as evidenced by these ideas for playgrounds of the future.
Schools looking for school playground equipment or communities looking for playground equipment have many options available when looking for money to build a playground and secure school playground equipment or replacement parts.
- Companies such as KaBoom build playgrounds in poverty-stricken areas and offer several grant opportunities to communities in need of playground equipment.
- Sites like KorKat offer a list of grants and fundraisers that are available for the purpose of procuring playground equipment or replacement parts for existing equipment such as commercial swing hangers.
Playgrounds allow many opportunities for kids to develop mentally, physically and emotionally while having fun swinging and sliding and climbing. Playgrounds are ideal spots for community gatherings and can bring people together through fundraisers or perhaps by building a neighbor playground. There are also lots of sources available for playground funds and a helpful guide for planning a playground can be found here.