- Choosing a place and preparing it for a playground
- Ready-made playgrounds for giving
- Characteristics of materials used in the manufacture of structures for playgrounds
- How to choose play equipment for a playground in the country
In this article: how to choose a place for the playground; types and cost of finished game shells; characteristics of the materials used to create playgrounds; how to choose designs for the playground; what colors should be used for the shells and why; the frequency of checking the strength of structures on the playground.
If for adults the dacha does not always serve as a place to relax, especially for avid gardeners, then for children going to the dacha is connected only with rest – clean air and natural nature, not disfigured by the city atmosphere, are ideal for a child of any age. However, most modern children are simply not interested in the dacha landscape, they need to be occupied and a playground will be absolutely irreplaceable in this matter. Of course, the children’s space in the dacha sotkas should correspond to the age of the child and in no case harm the beloved child..
Choosing a place and preparing it for a playground
Child’s age.If he is no more than 7 years old, then a platform of 9 m will be enough2, for older ones (7-12 years old), it will take 15 m2. When creating a playground for a five-year-old child, it is necessary to take into account his growing up and the need to expand the area of the play area, so it will be convenient not to occupy the areas next to the playground for summer cottages or fruit crops – as an option, plant a lawn on them.
The location of the playground at the summer cottage. It should be far enough away from any outbuildings, at the same time – be near the dacha so that adults can watch the children play. The site should not be completely shaded by tree crowns and should not be constantly exposed to sunlight. It will be optimal if one third of it is under the sun, and most of it is shaded by a canopy or awning. The sandbox – an indispensable and extremely popular element of the playground for preschoolers – should be located near small trees or shrubs so that their crown shades the sandbox in the afternoon and reduces the threat of overheating of children playing in the sand. It is necessary to provide wind barriers in the way of the prevailing winds in the area – their role can be played by shrubs or a fence of a meter height.
Requirements for the location of the site and conditions for the safety of children. Low-lying areas of the relief, as well as those abounding in slopes, are not suitable – the area for the playground should be flat, not subject to the accumulation of rain moisture. If there is a pool or a pond on the territory of the cottage, then the playground should be located as far as possible from the reservoir. If the small area of the summer cottage does not allow this, then fence the pool from the playground with a stretched mesh, lattice fence or hedge – you must completely exclude the possibility of a child falling into a pond. All electrical appliances located in the perimeter of the play area should be out of the reach of children – ideally, they should be de-energized during children’s games..
Playground covering. The main requirement for the cover is to soften the fall of the child. The easiest way is to arrange a sand cover, by enclosing the perimeter of the site with logs debarked and treated with anti-rotting compounds, which prevent sand from being carried out of the playground. However, the sand will still be removed by children during games outside the play area. In addition, the sandy surface will make it difficult to ride the bike, the wheels of which will become stuck. Therefore, it is better to abandon the sandy coating in favor of the lawn, rubber or polyurethane plates..
The lawn, without a doubt, is ideal for a playground in the country, however, it will require serious maintenance, such as watering, mowing, weed control and periodic replanting of some of its areas, exposed due to active children’s games. Detailed information on the creation and maintenance of the lawn can be found here, and the optimal compositions of the grass mixture for the lawn for the playground in the country are as follows (the composition of the mixture of seeds per square meter of the area of the plot): 5-10 g of meadow bluegrass, 23-30 g of red fescue, 5- 10 g creeping clover; 10-15 g of meadow bluegrass, 10-15 g of red fescue, 15-20 g of sheep fescue, not more than 5 g of creeping clover.
Synthetic boards made of polyurethane or rubber, against the background of the rather laborious maintenance of the lawn, look more attractive. Average cost m2 such plates are about 800 rubles, the material that forms them is elastic and durable, it is easy to clean it from any contamination with a directed stream of water. Before laying such slabs, it is necessary to prepare the site – select a fertile soil 300 mm over its entire area, fill the formed pit with a 100 mm layer of fine gravel, then 200 mm with a sand layer. Each of these layers must be carefully leveled and tamped, then laid on top of geotextiles, and only after that – a synthetic board.
If we consider various types of coatings for a playground from the standpoint of the best functionality, then it will be correct to build a combined coverage: play areas near the pool and slides are covered with sand; for active games, the best cover will be a lawn and a synthetic board; for cycling routes, the most optimal reinforced concrete coating, both cast and formed by reinforced concrete slabs (the base for them is prepared similarly to the base for a synthetic slab).
Ready-made playgrounds for giving
In our market, designs for the equipment of playgrounds are presented in the widest variety of shapes, colors, there are products from both domestic and foreign manufacturers. The first play structures for children aged 2-4 will be a small slide and a playhouse made of plastic or, in the second case, of Bologna on a metal frame – the cost of a slide is from 2,500 rubles, a playhouse from 5,000 and more. When choosing a slide for toddlers, pay special attention to the sufficient roughness of the steps to climb it.
Ready-made sandboxes are made of both plastic and wood, they have a variety of shapes and designs while maintaining the main functional purpose – sand containers with a flat bottom. Sandbox options with a removable lid will be especially convenient, which allows you to protect the sand filler from rain moisture, volatile debris and use it as a toilet for animals – the entire time period when the child does not play in such a sandbox, the lid should be tightly closed. In addition, a number of models of children’s sandboxes are completely sealed, which allows them to be used as a small children’s pool. Prices for ready-made sandboxes start from 1,500 rubles.
Swing – this extremely popular play equipment is invariably included in the standard set of arrangement of any playground, along with a sandbox and a slide.
For the smallest, manufacturers of swings offer a special design of seats that allow the child to be reclining. Swings are made of plastic, metal and wood, often there are designs in which these materials are combined. When choosing a swing for preschool children, pay attention to the seat – it must have a back, which will not allow the rolling child to fall backwards from them. Swings for small children cost from 1,500 rubles. and can be placed in a room, for older children, stronger and larger structures are required, the price of which starts from 6,000 rubles.
A separate area of equipment for playgrounds is play complexes, focused either on a certain age group of children, or allowing re-equipment and additional equipment in accordance with the needs of the child as he grows up, however, such complexes are maximally designed only for primary school age. As a rule, the play complex includes a sandpit, a slide and a swing, various ladders and walls with holes for climbing on them, and a playhouse crowns this structure. Gaming complexes occupy a significant area of the site – from 10 to 150 m2 – and have a very complex architecture, consisting of many different stairs, slides, swings and horizontal bars. Imported structures and shells are mostly made of plastic, while Russian ones are made of wood, metal and plastic, as well as their combinations. The cost of small gaming complexes starts from 9,000 rubles, large and complex complexes occupying a significant area can cost 150,000-200,000 rubles.
In addition to the shells described for playgrounds for summer cottages and houses, there is a wide variety of other structures designed for the physical development of children: inflatable trampolines; various spring rockers; mechanical and electrical carousels; mini-courts for basketball, golf and other games.
Characteristics of materials used in the manufacture of structures for playgrounds
Plastic. From this material, you can create structures of almost any shape, painted in any color scheme, and the paint will never peel off. Plastic shells are lightweight, cheap, not susceptible to rusting, they can be used at any time of the year – they do not freeze. Cons – plastic fade over time, its service life is lower than that of other materials described below.
Metal. High strength, the ability to mount and dismantle fasteners, plasticity while maintaining strength characteristics. Disadvantages: freezes in the cold season, i.e. you cannot use shells made of metal structures at this time; susceptible to rust if the protective paint layer is damaged (except for non-ferrous metals).
Wood. It is easy to process, the structures formed by it have an attractive “natural” appearance, allows the use of the shell in the cold season. Negative characteristics: shorter, compared to metal and plastic, service life; requires re-painting every 2 years; poor sanding will lead to splinters.
Combinations of the materials described above can improve the strength characteristics of each other, while increasing the service life of sports equipment created from them. The most common combination combinations are “metal + plastic” and “metal + wood”.
How to choose play equipment for a playground in the country
Any game shell or complex offered to you by sellers must necessarily comply with the following technical conditions – GOST R 52169-2003; GOST R 52168-2003; GOST R 52167-2003; GOST R 52300-2004; GOST R 52299-2004; GOST R 52301-2004. In addition, each projectile must have a hygienic certificate and a fire safety certificate – require them to be provided from sellers.
Do not try to buy a “pig in a poke” – see for yourself the strength of the structure of this projectile in its assembled form, run your hand over its surfaces and joints, make sure that they are smooth and perfect for the mating lines. Shake the structure with both hands and if it staggers, then refuse to purchase – ignore the arguments of the sellers like “this is just an exhibition sample, its fasteners are not fully tightened”, because they are false. Before buying gaming equipment that have wooden elements in their structure, take a bottle of water with you – slightly moisten the wooden surface and try to rub it into the wood. If water is absorbed, then this structure was not subjected to the application of a protective film, only impregnated with antiseptic compounds, which, without an external protective layer, are, albeit weak, poison.
When choosing a slide, among other things, pay attention to the height of the descent that it has – the higher the height of the descent (not the entire slide or the play complex!), The more interesting it will be for children. By the way, for children under 5 years old, the slope of the slide must have sides. Pay special attention to the presence of a slope at the slide – the lower part of the slide, slightly rounded up and raised above ground level by 200-350 mm. In the absence of a slope, a child will crash into the ground when going downhill with consequences for the body of varying severity (at least bruises and abrasions).
The minimum distance from the bottom of the swing seat to the ground is 350 mm. The distance from the swing to any adjacent structure or game projectile must be at least 2,000 mm.
General requirements for any game equipment:
- the height should not exceed 3,000 mm;
- the presence of protruding elements at the level of the legs and head of the child is unacceptable;
- platforms raised to a height of 600 mm and higher from the ground level must have a strong fence with a height of at least 700 mm;
- stairs leading to the playing equipment or playgrounds must be equipped with flat steps and strong railings;
- any holes (openings) in the walls of play structures must have a much larger or smaller diameter than the child’s head. Moreover, they should be located only in those places where the child’s legs cannot be guaranteed;
- slides, swings and climbing walls should not have holes with a diameter of 8 to 25 mm, when penetrating into which children’s fingers will get stuck;
- the sections of the conjugation of the elements of the slide at the junctions of its descent section with the platform and with the slope should not have any slots, the descent canvas should also be a single whole;
- the elements of the construction of playing equipment must not form “V” -shaped mates, in which the head and limbs of the child can get stuck.
The bright color of the elements of playgrounds – yellow, red and blue – attracts the attention of children, while stimulating, according to psychologists, children’s imagination.
These colors, when saturated, make it easier for children to navigate the playground by allowing their eyes to quickly spot obstacles and remember their locations. For this reason, it is pointless to paint the elements of the playground, somehow swings, slides and sandboxes in green, because there is enough greenery at the summer cottage, which means that the structures of the game shells will merge with it, it becomes invisible.
In the process of choosing the optimal play equipment for a playground in the country, be extremely careful and picky – we are talking about the safety of your child. It is equally important to monitor the technical condition of the play structures during operation – periodically, but at least once every three months, carefully examine the play shells for strength, study the state of each fastening element, making sure of its strength and absence of wear.