May to September is the ideal time for kids to enjoy the outdoors. The weather is warmer, the skies are bluer, and children can’t wait to make the most of their playtimes. What makes a school playground perfect for summer play? It’s a combination of creating the right atmosphere and providing opportunities to do activities that are best enjoyed in the sunshine.
Add a little colour
Creating an exciting and inviting playground that’s great for summer activities can be done by introducing colour. This can be achieved in several ways. For example, when resurfacing your playground, there’s no longer any need to opt for the traditional asphalt grey. Today, you can add a wide range of coloured surfacing, whether that’s through resin-bound gravel or wetpour surfacing. You can even incorporate different types of surfacing too, to add additional effects, such as block paving, rubber mulch or artificial grass.
Playground surfacing can be a key part of your playground design, with different colours used to create pathways and play zones and with different types providing the most useful surfaces for different activities, for example, using cushioned wetpour underneath climbing equipment.
Colour can also be added by installing equipment with coloured parts and through the use of planters, which in summer can provide a burst of nature at its most vibrant.
Make it comfortable
On warm days, some children just want to sit with their friends and enjoy the sunshine, others just want to lie down and bask in it. This is hard to do on a typical tarmac surface but giving some of it over to a grassed area, either natural or artificial, is perfect for creating that summer picnic vibe. You can even make the area into a proper communal zone by sectioning it off with some picture-postcard picket fencing, adding trellises for more greenery and putting in some playground seating or picnic tables.
On hot days, comfort comes in the form of shade, which can be very helpful in protecting children from sunburn. You can provide shade through the use of sail shades, pergolas and shelters. Shelters are of particular benefit as they can also be used to keep children warmer and dryer during autumn and winter.
Create some fun
There are endless ways to make the most of the good weather and bring some fun to your playground. Kids love to splash around in the water when the weather is warm, and there is a range of fun playground water equipment to enjoy, from simple water play pools and tables to magnetic water walls and water ball chutes. You can even bring a bit of the seaside to your playground by introducing a messy play zone with sand pits and mud kitchens.
Summer is also a great time to enjoy climbing. Today, you can add entire climbing zones to your playground, featuring the latest trim trails, climbing frames, rope equipment, traversing walls and play towers. These offer children challenge, excitement and the opportunity to develop some of those essential problem-solving skills. They are also great for improving physical health, agility and resilience.
Team games are much more fun to play during the spring and summer and there are plenty of playground markings you can add to your outdoor area to facilitate these. There are markings for traditional summer sports, like tennis, rounders and cricket, as well as those that children love to play all year, like basketball, soccer and netball. If you don’t have much space, you can get a multicourt: a single court with the markings for three different sports overlaid in different colours. There are also markings for a wide variety of other, more traditional jump and skip games, like hopscotch.
Get the bikes out
It is now possible to take your playground to the next level by installing a cycling route. A roadway marking, for example, complete with roundabouts, junctions and zebra crossings is ideal for youngsters on trikes and can be installed into wetpour surfacing to protect against falls and scrapes. Alternatively, you can create your own cycle route using block paving and this can be landscaped to provide challenge and offer improved aesthetics. Both these options offer endless summer fun for children while helping keep them active and providing them with activities they may not have access to at home.
Spring and summer are the seasons when children get the most from playing outdoors. By installing the right variety of equipment, you can create the ideal environment in which to provide opportunities for fun, socialising, relaxing and physical activity.
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