There are many physical and emotional benefits to getting outdoors. Popular activities that bring people outside often include visiting community parks and playgrounds. Adding a shade structure to your outdoor space can increase visitors to your area because they know they will be protected from whatever weather comes their way. With the added protection of shade, play sessions can be extended making the benefits of play and outdoor activity even greater.
Adding shade to your outdoor area means hours of safe and enjoyable activity for visitors of all ages. Our commercial shade structures are effective at heat and sun protection, easy to maintain, and with endless design options, they can also add a visually appealing element to parks, playgrounds, pools, outdoor classrooms, or any atmosphere.
Top 10 Benefits of Commercial Shade Structures
- Protect visitors from the intense heat and sun
- Improve the design aesthetics of any outdoor space, park, or playground
- Offer shelter from inclement weather like rain or snow
- Keep children engaged in play longer
- Encourage more family time
- Prevent fading and deterioration on equipment due to the long-term effects of sun exposure
- Create natural boundaries
- Extend your indoor space to the outdoors by creating covered outdoor classrooms, shaded outdoor seating at restaurants, and more
- Reinforce a theme for your project with a ship sail, flowers, or nature-inspired treetops
- Save energy resources by conserving electricity consumption
Protects children and adults from sun
To appreciate the benefits of shade, it’s important to understand the risks and long-term effects of UV radiation and sun exposure. Evidence from the Skin Cancer Foundation shows that sun exposure and sunburns during childhood multiply the risk of developing skin cancer, including melanoma. While melanoma still rarely develops before age 20, incidence in children and teens is rising rapidly. The skin of all infants (not just those who have fair skin) is particularly vulnerable to sun damage.
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), unprotected skin can be damaged by the sun’s UV rays in as little as 15 minutes. And even when days are cool and cloudy, children still need protection. UV rays, not the temperature, do the damage. Clouds do not block UV rays, they filter them — and sometimes only slightly. The CDC recommends staying in the shade, especially during midday hours, as one of the best ways to protect children and adults from UV damage.
Offers shelter from rain or snow
Playgrounds are a key factor in enabling the different types of play that support a child’s cognitive, emotional, physical, and social development. The importance of incorporating play into a child’s daily routine cannot be underestimated nor can it be sidelined by inclement weather. Commercial shade sails prevent bad weather from inhibiting play and allows children to experience the benefits of play in the rain, sun, or snow!
Adding commercial shade structures over sidelines or bleachers keeps those cheering on their favorite player or team cool and dry too. Keeping parents and loved ones comfortable in any weather will increase usage and encourage participation in your activity or sport.
Encourages longer play sessions and more use
Playgrounds do more for early childhood development than many realize. Not only do playgrounds offer the obvious physical benefits to kids becoming heathier and stronger, but they also provide the context and opportunity for children to practice key developmental and social skills. Plus, they are fun! And the longer, more frequent play sessions, the more benefits children receive.
When adequate shade is added to playgrounds and surrounding areas, kids are protected from UV exposure, and parents and caregivers are more likely to extend play sessions. Families may also be more likely to extend their picnic or family outing if they’re keeping cool and protected under a shade. The experience becomes much more enjoyable when the playground is covered in shade because the equipment below stays cooler and the users stay safer. Both our SkyWays and CoolToppers shade structures keep playground temperatures up to 30 degrees cooler. There is also a cool misting option available for CoolToppers to keep kids even cooler on hot summer days.
Many schools are utilizing shade sails and structures to extend their classroom space to the great outdoors. By adding a commercial shade sail to an existing courtyard or over a new classroom space, schools can embrace the benefits of nature for outdoor learning and not worry about sun exposure or inclement weather.
Protects playground equipment
Your playground is an investment. It takes countless hours of planning, design work, fundraising, and installation to bring your playground to life. It can take months, sometimes years, from playground concept to completion. With all the time and effort put into your playground, not to mention the financial expense, it’s worth it to increase the longevity of your playground by protecting your playground equipment from harsh and extreme weather.
Integrating SkyWays® shade into your playground design or adding it after your playground has been installed will shield it from the intense rays of the sun and protect it from harsh winter weather like snow, sleet, and hail. Shade structures help to prevent premature fading and deterioration by keeping its color vibrant and preventing cracking that happens over time from sun exposure.
Contact your local Landscape Structures consultant to discuss ways to add the many benefits of shade to your playground, sports or recreation complex, aquatic center, restaurant, zoo, or other commercial project.