A kids playground generally refers to a soft themed playground with various play equipment, structures, and activities for kids to play and participate in. A kids playground creates a safe, fun, and active environment for kids of all ages, and has become a vital part of kids’ development. Kids playgrounds have been increasingly introduced by malls, supermarkets, kindergartens, schools, parks, household backyards, and public space for recreational purposes.
Kids playground equipment plays an essential part in increasing the attraction, improving play value, and adding activity of the playground to satisfy the demands for entertainment. This passage aims to help to sort out some of the common concerns and doubts about kids playground equipment of potential operators of kids playgrounds.
What are the major types of kids playground equipment?
Manufacturers of kids playground equipment have managed to develop and manufactured a wide range of products in all colors, sizes, shapes, and functions. According to the desired function of the equipment, they can be divided into seven major types, each of which makes an indispensable part for an attractive and entertaining kids playground. They are:
Climbs and Crawls
Group Activity Area
Slides make one kids’ favorites places in a kids playground. Slides, when used as kids playground equipment, are usually constructed of plastic, resin or inflatable mattresses with a smooth surface that can be straight or wavy. Kids like to climb to the top of the slide via a ladder or stairs, sit down on the top and slide down the chute.
Slides come in many types. Here are some of the most commonly seen types used in a kids playground.
1. Climbs and Crawls
Climbs and crawls are another type of kids playground equipment that increases the sophistication and entertainment of the kids playground. They can be used for fun, physical exercises or challenging activities. Some of their components are:
Slopes with bumps
Passages with obstacles
Ladders can be an independent component or can be used to connect other components like a slide. Ladders can be vertical, horizontal, slanted or even curved. Ladders suit those kids who are lively, active and energetic. They are an excellent choice to train the coordination of kids’ feet and hands, sense of balance as well as their perseverance.
b. Slopes with bumps
Slopes with bumps are usually large mattresses made of elastic materials, making them a place where kids like to jump, climb and crawl. Compared with ladders, they are usually safer for kids to play and injuries on them are less likely owning to the soft material. Therefore, they suit kids of a wider range of ages. Sometimes, they are made to roll to increase the difficulty of passing them.
Tubes can be manufactured with plastic or rubber or can be inflatable or knitted with ropes. In terms of the structure, tubes for climbing and crawling can sometimes be similar to tube slides. However, tubes for climbing and crawling are more for training and exercises purposes rather than just for fun. Tubes can have turns and twists and can arouse the curiosity and exploration spirit of the kids. When they finish crawling the entire journey from the inlet to the outlet, they can have a sense of accomplishments and satisfaction.
d. Passages with Obstacles
Passages as kids playground equipment are usually with a low ceiling or full of obstacles that hang from the ceiling or are placed on the ground. Passages with obstacles are something like tubes, but they are more like a maze featuring semi-closed and semi-open space that suits kids of various ages. They are also ideal for kids to play hide-and-seek and other activities.
e. Air treks
Air trek is one of the leading activities which attracts lots of customers, as it is challenging and even fun to watch. Guests are harnessed and walk the tightrope or skip across the spinning bridge without a safety net, so it is a test of nerves as well as skills. Air trek suits both individuals and groups for fun or challenges. It is an excellent way to cultivate kids’ ambition and pursuit of success as well as a sense of cooperation and team spirit.
Trampolines area is another area where many kids like to play. A trampoline used for kids playgrounds consists of a piece of taut, strong fabric stretched between steel frames using many coiled springs. Kids can bounce on trampolines for recreational and exercises purposes. A kids playground can have a large piece of trampolines that can accommodate a large number of kids or several small pieces each of which accommodates 1-2 kids only.
Trampolines can be fixed on the ground or on the wall. Kids like to throw themselves on the bounce mats and feel the elasticity from various directions. Bouncing on a trampoline can sometimes be dangerous, and trampolines always come with protective ropes and soft mats. Kids of a very young age are not suggested to be allowed to enter the trampoline area.
4. Group Activity Area
Apart from areas where kids can play on their own, a kids playground also provides group activity area where kids and parents can play together. This can cultivate kids’ team spirit, interpersonal communication skills and a positive character.
A group activity area is usually filled with playing articles for kids to stay with and interact with each other. These playing articles can be balls, sand, blocks and other soft articles in various shapes.
5. Toddler Area
A toddler area provides space where kids with an early age can play. Kids with a young age have something in common. They are not capable of communicating in a fluent way, they do not have a particular demand for what they play with, and they have a limited activity range as they just learn how to walk. Well designed and manufactured soft play areas will facilitate the development of a child’s physical, intellectual and social skills in a safe, pleasant environment. Play areas can include stimulating activities, play panels, interactive events and visually interesting and attractive soft items.
6. Supporting Attractions
Supporting attractions in a kids playground refer to all the parts that are used to improve attraction, strengthen atmosphere and add interests to the kids playground. By combining lights, sound, and motion, supporting attractions can create an interactive arena for all ages. Children and their caregivers can participate in a variety of challenging games that encourage activity, cooperation, and friendly competition. In addition to playing a specific role, kids playground equipment should also arouse the curiosity and interests of the kids, lead them to explore and help them to immerse themselves in the environment.
7. Dining Facilities
When well operated, you will find the profits you make from the dining area can be more significant than those from other areas. Try to prepare some food that features tastiness, health, and appealing appearance. In addition, the interest and amusement of chairs and tables can also play an unimaginably important role in stimulating kids to have meals in the playground. Many operators have managed to turn their kids playgrounds the preferential place for parents to have birthday parties or other important events for kids.
How to Make Best Use of Kids Playground Equipment?
Kids playground equipment plays a vital role in the construction of a kids playground. Their importance can never be overemphasized. However, many operators of a kids playground oftentimes fail to know how to bring their kids playground equipment into full play. You should understand that kids playground equipment can be multifunctional and can have many more possibilities and functions. Here are some commercial and operational suggestions that can help you to maximize their function and utility.
1. Integrate kids playground equipment into the business plan
Before you decide what kids playground equipment to purchase, you should make clear of your business plan and integrate the equipment into it. The profit of a kids playground can be of various origins. Knowing how to make money with the equipment is the first step of making your kids playground successful.
a. Admission ticketing
Admission ticketing is the most commonly seen profit origin of most kids playgrounds. Under such a circumstance, kids playground equipment plays the most fundamental part in attracting them to play and come back. The equipment should be as attractive, interesting and abundant as possible. They exert direct impacts on the profit of the playground. The repair and after-sales service are also important as no one wants to enter a kids playground that is poorly maintained with outdated playing structures and articles.
b. Charges for courses and programs
Many may overlook an important fact that a kids playground can serve an ideal place for developing various courses and programs for kids. Determine the themes of the courses, consult a manufacturer of kids playground equipment and bring them to life. You may want to teach kids about the planets of the solar system, insects, plants, colors, numbers and so on. You can also make the playground a place for lessons of musical instruments, painting and calligraphy. All you need to do is to make your attractions relevant to the themes of your courses and programs.
c. Gym for kids
The industry of adults’ gyms is prosperous. How about considering gyms for kids too? This idea is compatible with parents’ increasing demand for a fun and safe place for their kids to exercise. Equipping the playground with various sports equipment and facilities is an excellent idea to start a gym for kids. You can also consider cooperating with local educational institutions to provide training camps for children.
d. Sales of ancillary products and services
Do not treat kids playground equipment just as equipment. They can be an ideal way to attract kids entering the playground to buy many other things. he liveliness and attractiveness of a kids playground make it an ideal place to promote sales of ancillary products. If the theme of your kids playground is about dinosaurs, you can try selling dinosaurs toys and relevant popular science books. If the theme is about the universe and the space, models of planets will probably sell well. Also, kids playgrounds with schools nearby can be good stationery stores and book stores.
More importantly, kids playground equipment can serve more than kids, but also their parents and caregivers. As equipment inside a playground is generally not allowed to be used by adults, kids’ parents and caregivers need to wait somewhere for their kids to finish. Hence, a specialized area can be divided to serve the adults for them to sit, chat, or drink something.
e. Award mechanism
Kids tend to be inspired and make more progress when they are properly awarded. Therefore, you can consider setting up a well-schemed award mechanism for those kids that have done a good job in activities and courses. Awards of this kind can be free admission to the playground, free courses, free use of independently charged equipment or toys and stationeries. This will help to increase the engagement of customers and improve their loyalty.
2. How to combine is more important than what to buy
Many operators want their kids playground equipment to be as complete and diverse as possible. However, how to combine different kinds of equipment and make them a well-organized whole is more important, especially for those playgrounds with a limited area.
As has been mentioned above, there are many types of kids playground equipment. They should be connected and organized in a proper way in order to make the playground appealing. For example, the terminal of a spiral slide can be a ball pool instead of the ground to provide kids with uninterrupted fun. A unique layout of kids playground equipment will bestow unparalleled attraction on the playground that cannot be accomplished by a set of complete but poorly organized equipment.
3. Kids playground equipment only cannot make a successful playground
Kids playground equipment is the most fundamental component of a playground; however, they are not everything. It is often neglected by operators that the equipment determines the function while the finishing and decoration add character to the playground. Therefore, we advise operators of kids playgrounds to follow the following checklist in the construction process of the playground.
- What a theme do you want the kids playground equipment to create?
- What should the lighting be like to match the equipment?
- What protective and supporting accessories should be equipped?
- Are any staff needed to be on the playground to provide guidance?
- What should the ideal layout be like to match the function provided in your business plan?
- Is your playground different enough from your competitors to stand out?
In short, a successful kids playground is the combination of hardware (equipment) and software (finishing, decoration, lighting, location, venue conditions, and service). Make sure that other factors will not clip the wings of the equipment. Therefore, manufacturers that provide thorough and complete service and products including product design, manufacturing, installation and maintenance, location selection suggestion, decoration and finishing consultation as well as branding and marketing strategies.
How to Find the Right Manufacturer of Kids Playground Equipment?
You may find tens of hundreds of manufacturers of kids playground equipment on the market. Finding the right one is the first step to starting a successful kids playground. We believe that a qualified manufacturer of kids playground equipment should possess the following qualities and capabilities.
1. An insight into the kids’ recreation industry
A manufacturer with a keen insight into recreational facilities for kids will help you significantly strengthen the attractiveness and competitiveness of your kids playground. Operators without a good knowledge of color matching, spatial planning and equipment coordination can find it difficult to make an appealing kids playground. This may sound to be something beyond the power of a manufacturer of kids playground equipment, but it is of vital importance. Make it clear which area should have what a function and what a color matching to look attractive. Moreover, you will need to learn how to deal with kids and their caregivers to talk them into entering the playground and coming back. Therefore, kids playground is not about equipment only, but also psychological appeal and marketing and branding strategies.
2. A sound safety control mechanism
As has been detailed above, kids playground equipment is more than a single piece of playing item, but a complete set of devices, structures and apparatus that involve lighting, electricity and sometimes water. Dealing with all these elements can be tricky, and failure to following relevant standard in the process of equipment manufacturing can be dangerous and deadly, including fire, short circuit, electrical shock and injuries of falling. Safety of kids can never be exaggerated. Make sure that the manufacturer has relevant capacities and their products meet industrial requirements for electrical and water-related equipment by making them rugged and durable to meet a variety of usage conditions. Do not forget to check the safety record of the manufacturer, which constitutes proof of their quality control and assurance system.
3. A complete set of quality assurance measures
The quality of kids playground equipment is directly related to the operation of the kids playground. High-quality equipment can ensure the safety of children and lasting nice appearance of the playground, and save costs on maintenance and repair. Devils are in the details. Check the painting of the equipment, the bolts and nuts used in the mechanical structure and the wires and pipes in the structures, and you will have a rough impression of how the quality of the products is. Products from manufacturers with ISO9001:2008 quality management system certification, ISO14001:2004 environmental management system certification, and ISO18001:2007 occupational health and safety management system certification should top your shortlist.
4. Comprehensive capabilities in design, manufacturing, installation, and after-sales services
When you choose a manufacturer of kids playground equipment, remember that you are not only choosing a manufacturer, but also its services. The industry of kids playground is fierce, and you cannot just count on the equipment to succeed. Here is something that a qualified kids playground equipment manufacturer should provide:
A complete product line
Customization capability upon clients’ requests
Installation services including welding and wiring when necessary
Thorough and constant after-sales service including maintenance and repair
Consultation and guidance for kids playground operation
Products upgrading and trade-in
In other words, a mature kids playground equipment manufacturer of the industry should be bestowed with the capability of providing one-stop service starting from your preliminary preparation to your operation.
Just One More Thing
Although this passage is about kids playground equipment, we understand that the vast majority of readers are thinking about starting a kids playground. The golden rule for doing this is to bring the kids playground equipment into full play by not imposing any restriction and constraints on their function and applications. When combined with other facilities in the playground, they can play a significant role in soliciting customers and attracting them to come back.