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Park People


PLAY HARD EARN HARD!


Playgrounds and parks – a perfect match


Happy children make for happy parents and that means they will spend more money at your facility as a result. To extend an


amusement park’s appeal and capture the attention of families with children, savvy operators are investing in





high-quality play equipment and play spaces, both outdoors and indoors. Deborah Holt from the Association of Play industries (API) re ports


Use


fencing only if required for safety reasons. Responsible parents will supervise young children while playing


FEBRUARY 2015


UK play companies design and install play equipment and play spaces for theme parks and amusement parks across the country – and internationally too – from indoor soft play barns to outdoor playgrounds, themed attractions and water play areas. When planning a play area at your park, there are some key considerations to bear in mind:


Capacity


The number of children likely to be playing in a play area at any one time is key. Play equipment standards are based on minimum user numbers, rather than a large number of children playing at the same time as tends to happen in a theme park or amusement park environment, so the design of a play area should be based on peak, high-season numbers. There is no set formula for this but an API member company will factor this into the design.


Surfacing


Safety surfacing absorbs impact so protects children against critical head injury if they fall while playing. Again, an API supplier will advise you on the best surfacing options for your site.


Location


Consider the safety and accessibility of the proposed site for a new play area. Think about how children will get to it and consider any traffic hazards, busy thoroughfares, blind spots, deep or lying water and overhead cables.


” Fencing


There is rarely any need to fence play areas, particularly those located inside fenced sites or parks


unless they are located immediately next to busy roads or other hazards. Use fencing only if required for safety reasons, for instance, as additional security for a toddler play area. Responsible parents/carers will supervise young children while playing. It is a well- known principle of playground design that by excluding fencing, children play more freely, actively and spontaneously, and engage more with the natural world around them. Unfortunately, the UK is one of the only countries in Europe to confine and contain children in fenced play areas, separated from trees, grass and nature.


Comfort


Plan to create a comfortable experience for children and families. Remember to include seating or picnic facilities, shade, shelter and litter bins.


Age-appropriate


Make a play area as appealing as possible by providing a range of equipment to attract different age ranges. Separate toddler play areas from older children’s equipment to minimise the risk of accidents.


Risk


Children enjoy a degree of risk when playing and actively benefit from it so provide some challenging play equipment for added excitement and fun. Risk assessments needn’t restrict children’s enjoyment so ensure a play space includes plenty of challenge and managed risk for a real sense of adventure. Having a good, robust inspection and maintenance regime in place is crucial to ensure the safe operation of a play area. Before opening a new play space, a post-installation inspection should take place. This is


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Image courtesy Russell Play


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