Modern schools are tasked with preparing kids for future careers and teaching them essential life skills, attitudes, and habits that can help them navigate adulthood quite successfully. Teachers combine classroom lessons with outdoor physical activity to provide the best learning experience to accomplish this mission. As a parent, it is essential to try and replicate the same thing at home by having a backyard playground that mirrors a school playground.
So, which school playground equipment can you place at home? Well, there are many pieces of school playground equipment you can install at home. They include monkey bars, merry-go-round, teeter-totter, swings, spinners, climbers, slides, and playsets. Others include spring riders, seesaw, jungle gym, tetherball, the giant stride, and tubes. Whatever you install will mostly depend on your kid’s age and how much money you are willing to spend on it.
This blog post discusses some of the most common school playground equipment you can install at home. Read on to learn how you can turn your backyard into a children’s favorite play area.
Why Should You Install School Playground Equipment at Home?
The primary reason schools have playgrounds is to complement classroom performance with outdoor physical activity that helps to boost a child’s understanding of their environment while keeping them fit and healthy.
These playgrounds are also essential for child development. They help kids develop cognitive and motor skills, utilize their different senses, develop good communication skills and learn how to work as a team. All these lessons are essential to their adulthood.
When children are actively running around the playground, they are also building critical development skills to improve their lives. These skills include collaborating with others, taking on leadership roles, generating creative ideas, persevering in the face of adversity, and developing good decision-making skills.
As they play, kids learn how to express their thoughts and ideas, cope with frustration, share with others what they have, patience, creativity, and persistence. These are critical life skills that will help your little one with their social interactions in school and at home.
Furthermore, physical activity helps your children to exercise and stay physically fit. Outdoor physical activity stimulates heart-healthy cardiovascular fitness while offering kids countless opportunities to increase muscle strength, balance, agility, motor skills, and their ability to strategize.
For instance, school playground equipment such as climbing walls and monkey bars plays a critical role in enhancing your upper body strength while targeting other skills such as hand-eye coordination, visual perception, and grip strength.
Popular School Playground Equipment You Can Place at Home
Now that you understand the benefits of school playground equipment and how it can help your little ones, let us highlight some of the common school playground equipment you can place at home:
Merry-go-round is perhaps the most popular school playground equipment. Also known as carousels or roundabouts, this play structure can push children to their limits.
The relatively large pieces of equipment allow several kids to hop on and spin around as quickly as they can by pushing against the ground to gain momentum.
While merry-go-rounds are still common in many playgrounds, the term can no longer be used to refer to the many types of spinning play equipment found at the playground.
One thing you must keep in mind before installing a merry-go-round at home is that this structure, plus other pieces of playground equipment such as slides, swings, and seesaws, must meet specific guidelines for kids’ safety. You can find out the guidelines from your local playground equipment safety authority.
Tetherball is a common piece of playground equipment that has been around for many years. It consists of a stationary metal or plastic pole set in concrete and buried a few inches in the ground. A volleyball-shaped ball is then attached to the pole using a rope.
The earlier versions of a tetherball used a tethered tennis ball and usually required rackets. Playing tetherball requires two players.
The players stand on opposite sides of the pole, with one striking the ball clockwise and the other anticlockwise. The first person who manages to wind the ball around the metal pole wins the game.
3. Playground Climbers
Playground climbers are becoming popular thanks to their vast designs and simplicity. They come in different shapes and structures, making them relatively easy to fit and blend in with other equipment you may have installed in your backyard playground.
Many homeowners love climbers because they add a modern touch to the overall playground design and help kids work their upper body strength. This is something that ring climbers, horizontal ladders, and even parallel bars can’t do because children can’t carry themselves across these structures.
Rock climbers, boulders, and ropes are fun for most children because they challenge their physical body strength and encourage them to explore different things.
The seesaw is another fantastic school playground equipment that you can place at home. Some people call it the teeterboard, while others call it a teeter-totter.
A basic seesaw consists of a relatively long plank attached at its center to a central pivot point which allows children on each side of the board to take turns thrusting themselves up into the air.
It is highly recommended you install your seesaw over playground sand, mulch bed, or foam padding to cushion the children against injury in case of a fall. Sometimes, children tend to jump off the seesaw while in the air, which can lead to severe injuries if there is no sufficient cushion on the ground where they land.
You should also consider supervising your children when playing on a seesaw until they have a relatively firm understanding of how to use it safely.
Perhaps one of the most iconic school playground equipment, swings are loved by children and even adults alike.
There are two types of swings: tire swing and strap swing. Children need to know how to hold on properly before using a full-sized adult swing or a tire swing that can accommodate more than one child at once.
Swing components such as chains, support beams, and seats must be in good condition, so they don’t break or cause injury when a child swings on them.
6. Basketball Hoops
Unlike modern street basketball courts and indoor basketball courts, which require you to purchase expensive equipment, hoop sets are relatively cheap to buy.
You can install hoops at home for your kids and/or guests who visit your residence. However, don’t forget to add a softball such as a Nerf ball or tennis ball to the mix when they play on this equipment.
Slides remain one of the most loved pieces of school playground equipment. They come in different shapes, sizes, and designs, making it relatively easy to find the perfect one for your backyard.
Slides can accommodate kids of various heights, weights, and age ranges, depending on how you designed them. If your child is too small for a standard slide, install an infant or toddler slide that would fit his needs.
You may choose to install a trampoline at home if you want your kids to get some exercise while having fun at the same time. Trampoline parks are great, but they can cost you thousands of dollars in membership fees, given how often kids play on them.
Instead, buy a large trampoline that they can use to jump and play whenever they want. Make sure you place the trampoline where it doesn’t get in the way or limit your movement around the yard, especially if there are a lot of trees and obstacles you need to maneuver around.
9. Spring Riders
Spring riders are derived from the traditional school playground equipment known as merry-go-rounds. They typically come in single or two-seater configurations that allow children to pump their legs to move forward, backward, and sideways at different speeds.
Although you can place springs riders on concrete surfaces, it’s highly recommended you place them over soft surfaces such as sand, mulch bed, or foam padding to cushion the children against injury in case of a fall.
10. Monkey Bars
Lastly, we have to mention monkey bars. In their classic form, monkey bars are simply a horizontal ladder suspended above the ground by poles. The horizontal ladders allow children to hop up and down while holding on to the rungs. Sometimes, kids keep climbing higher and higher until they lose their grip and fall down.
If you want to install monkey bars at home for your kids, make sure you place them where there are no obstacles or things that can break their fall in case of a slip-up.
You may also consider adding a safety harness with the monkey bars to prevent your children from falling or dropping onto concrete surfaces in case they lose their grip.
While monkey bars are still loved and adored in many playgrounds, their original design has been altered in many ways in recent times. A modern monkey bar is no longer a simple horizontal ladder. It is more sophisticated, and sometimes you may need a specific term to describe it.
So, you can see that there are many playground pieces available for your backyard, and you don’t need to break the bank in order to create a fun play area for kids.
The great thing about these pieces is that you can design playspaces that are safe and use modern equipment. Thus, encouraging kids to get outside and exercise by playing games they love while ensuring their safety at all times.