The primary purpose of a playground is to keep your little ones safe and comfortable as they play and run around. However, the hot summer months can present a significant challenge in this regard. Therefore, you need to do everything possible to keep the playground cool for everyone to enjoy.
So, how do you keep a playground cool? Some of the things you can do to keep a playground cool include planting trees, adding water elements to the playground, installing shade structures, and using playground fans. You can also install awnings, use shade sails, install a mist system, or cover playground equipment to avoid sunburns.
This blog post discusses why hot playgrounds are a safety risk and provides nine tips to keep your playground cool throughout the year. Read on to learn more.
Hot Playgrounds: A Safety Threat
While falling is a significant concern on playgrounds, excessive heat is also a significant threat. In fact, excessive heat exposure is one of the leading causes of playground injuries.
Since kids have tender skin, they are more prone to heat rashes, skin blisters, and sunburns. Furthermore, high temperatures can also cause dehydration and heat exhaustion.
In extreme cases, it can even lead to heatstroke, which is a life-threatening condition. Direct sunlight exposure can make swings, slides, seats, and climbing structures unbearably hot. As a result, kids can get burnt when they touch these surfaces.
Hot weather can also make synthetic turf incredibly hot. Furthermore, it can cause the metal on swings, see-saws, and other playground equipment to become too hot to touch.
In short, extreme heat can make playing on a playground an uncomfortable and even dangerous experience for kids.
Therefore, you need to do everything possible to keep your playground cool throughout the year to avoid these dangers.
Tips to Keep Your Playground Cool
Now that we’ve discussed the importance of having a cool playground, let’s look at eight tips to achieve this goal.
1. Install Shade Structures
One of the best ways to keep your playground cool is to install shade structures. Shade structures can be used to provide protection from the sun, wind, and rain.
There are many different types of shade structures available on the market. Some common options include umbrellas, canopies, awnings, and pergolas.
When choosing a shade structure for your playground, make sure to consider the following:
- The size of the playground
- The climate
- The type of materials used
- The budget
2. Plant Trees
Another great way to keep your playground cool is to plant trees. Trees provide natural shade and can help keep the temperature on the playground several degrees cooler.
When choosing trees for your playground, select species that are native to your area. This will help ensure that the trees are able to thrive in your local climate.
You should also consider the size of the trees when they’re fully grown. Generally, you should plant them at least 20 feet away from the playground to avoid damaging your equipment.
3. Use Reflective Materials
Another way to keep your playground cool is to use reflective materials. These materials reflect sunlight away from the playground and help keep the temperature several degrees cooler.
Common reflective materials include white gravel, white sand, and white concrete. You can also find reflective paint that can be used on playground equipment and surfaces.
4. Install a Mist System
A mist system is another excellent way to keep your playground cool. This type of system uses a network of pipes and sprinklers to create a fine mist that can help lower the temperature on the playground.
To install a mist system, you’ll need to hire a professional. Keep in mind that this option can be quite expensive, so it might not be feasible for everyone.
A good mist system should be able to lower the temperature on the playground by up to 30 degrees Fahrenheit.
5. Cover the Playground Equipment
Covering your playground equipment is another great way to keep it cool. This can be done using a tarp or some other type of cover.
Make sure to secure the cover, so it doesn’t blow away in the wind. You should also remove the cover when the playground is not in use to avoid damage from excessive sun and rain.
Avoid covering the entire playground since kids still need ventilation. Without proper ventilation, the heat can build up and become trapped under the cover, which can be dangerous.
6. Use a Fan
Portable fans and industrial-sized fans can also be used to keep your playground cool. Fans help circulate the air and can make the playground more comfortable for everyone.
You can install fans in different ways. For example, you can mount them on the wall or the ceiling if you have an indoor playground. You can also find freestanding fans that can be placed anywhere on the playground.
Ideally, you want the fans to be pointed towards the sunny areas of the playground. This will help ensure that everyone stays cool and comfortable.
7. Install awnings or canopies
Awnings and canopies provide shade and significantly reduce the playground’s temperature. They can also protect kids from harmful UV rays.
When choosing an awning or canopy, make sure to select one that’s made from a durable and weather-resistant material. You should also make sure that it’s properly installed so that it doesn’t blow away in the wind.
While some canopies are relatively easy to install, others might require the help of a professional. Be careful when installing an awning or canopy, as they can be pretty heavy.
8. Use Shade Sails
Shade sails are another great way to keep your playground cool. These are large sheets of fabric attached to posts or other structures. They provide shade and can significantly reduce the temperature on the playground.
When choosing a shade sail, select a durable and weather-resistant material. You should also make sure that it’s properly installed so that it doesn’t blow away in the wind.
9. Add Some Water Elements
Adding water elements to your playground is another great way to keep it cool. Water elements can help lower the temperature on the playground and provide a refreshing place for kids to cool off.
Some popular water elements include fountains, sprinklers, and pools. You can also find many different types of water toys that can be used on the playground.
Just make sure to empty the water out of the equipment when it’s not being used to avoid mosquito breeding.
What Else Can You Do to Keep Children Safe at the Playground?
Besides taking steps to keep the playground cool, you can also do many other things to keep kids safe. Here are a few safety tips to keep in mind:
a) Inspect the Playground Regularly
It’s essential to inspect the playground regularly. Look for loose bolts or screws, sharp edges, or other hazards.
If you find any problems, make sure to fix them immediately. It’s also a good idea to have a professional inspect the playground periodically to ensure that it meets safety standards.
b) Use Appropriate Safety Surfacing
Safety surfacing is one of the most important things to consider when setting up a playground. The material you place under the equipment to cushion falls and reduce injuries is key to playground safety.
For example, if you have swings, you’ll need a softer surface such as sand or mulch to cushion falls.
c) Supervise Children at the Playground
It’s important to supervise children at the playground at all times. Make sure to stay within the arm’s reach of younger children and keep an eye on older kids.
If you see a child behaving inappropriately or dangerously using the equipment, be sure to intervene.
d) Teach Children playground Rules
It’s also a good idea to teach children some basic playground rules. For example, they should always use the equipment safely and never push or shove other kids.
You should also teach them to take turns and to share the playground with other children.
e) Be Mindful of the Weather
The weather can also impact safety at the playground. Extreme heat or cold can make the playground surface too hot or cold for kids to play on.
In addition, strong winds can cause loose debris to blow around, which can be dangerous for children.
If the weather is terrible, it’s best to keep kids off the playground until conditions improve.
A playground is a fun place for children to play and explore, but it can quickly become an uncomfortable and even unsafe environment when it gets too hot outside.
There are several ways you can keep your playground cool during the hot months, and we’ve outlined some of the most effective methods in this post.
Follow the tips to keep your playground safe and comfortable for your little ones throughout the year!