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Skip Navigation LinksHome > Research and Plan > Visit a Playground > Why Visit a Playground?

Why Visit a Playground?

Making a play system buying decision is about so much more than pictures in a catalog. You need to take a field trip to touch and feel the playground equipment—jump on the decks, slide down the slides and play on the overhead events.

 

The three key features to look for are: playground safety, durability and play value. Although safety is the most critical issue on a play structure, durability and play value are the most important reasons to put the catalogs away and head out on a field trip.

 

Although it's not the best approach, it is possible to research each manufacturer's safety features without visiting a playground. But when it comes to durability and play value, you have to see installed equipment. In a catalog, it's easy to make a brand-new structure look inviting and durable.

 

But what does that same play structure look like in three years? Don't forget to compare different structures that are the same age. Then watch the children play.

 

1) Collect your tools

Gather your camera, a 20-foot tape measure, notepaper, this article (which includes play structure components and what to look for), and kids (watch how they play and play events they like best).

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2) Head out on a field trip

Visit a variety of playground manufacturers' play structures to compare safety, durability and play value. 

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3) Deck features

  • Look for one-piece flange-formed decks with small holes punched into the surface. Small holes allow water to drain, but are too small for fingers/toes to get caught. Expanded metal decks have diamond-shaped openings that fingers can penetrate; they're weaker than punched steel, too, and can stretch and buckle.
  • You want deck-to-post connections to the outside of each post, which eliminates gaps and possible entanglements. Decks that mount to the center of posts can leave gaps between the deck and panels, causing clothing entanglements or a potential entrapment.
  • Decks should have uniform, smooth PVC coating on the surface. Decks with worn PVC coating have exposed metal, which rusts and presents a hazard to children.

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4) Post and clamp features

  • Decks and panels should be attached to posts with clamps that provide compression around the entire circumference of the posts. Clamps that are attached to posts with a hinge pin on one side and a single bolt on the other are weaker.
  • Watch out for decks or panels attached to posts with a single bolt. This is a very weak link with all the weight carried by one bolt.

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5) Slide features

  • Slide hoods with a built-in handbar channel children into a safe, seated position for sliding.
  • The entrance to plastic slide bedways should be flush to the edge of the deck at all temperatures, which can only be accomplished by a sliding footer found at the base of the slide. This device allows the plastic slide to expand and contract at the base as temperatures fluctuate without creating gaps at the deck that can cause entanglements.

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6) Swing features

  • You want fully enclosed bolt links to attach swings to chains. S-hooks, conversely, wear easily and begin to open, which can create gaps that cause entanglements.

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7) Determine play value on the structure

 

 

  • Look for bridges and overhead events that move. Movement creates complexity, challenges children and develops their coordination and confidence.
  • Look for interactive play panels. Play with them. Do they work as intended? Interactive panels challenge children and develop imaginative play and hand-eye coordination.
  • Be wary of play panels that are merely pictures with no moving parts or action required. These panels have little play value for children of any age.
  • Don't forget to watch children playing on the structure. What events do they favor?

Begin your adventure now!  Visit a Landscape Structures playground near you.

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It's important to visit a playground to see the Landscape Structures difference.
Get Fit
Add some Fitness equipment to your playground and help kids of all ages stay fit.
Landscape Structures park and playground equipment is designed with fitness in mind. Build strength, muscle endurance, balance and coordination, cardio and mental agility.
Invite Visitors
Unique Custom Signs are a perfect way to show off your play area.
Encourage picnicking at your Picnic Tables with our Unique Signs, the perfect complement to any playground, skatepark or park design!
Decrease the Heat
CoolToppers® sun shades are designed to block up to 90 percent of the sun's harmful UV rays and keep playground temperatures up to 30 degrees cooler.
Our unique CoolToppers® shade structures can reduce the temperature by up to 30 percent. What a great way to stay cool while having fun.
Request a Catalog
Request your free Landscape Structures catalog for all your playground needs.