Playsets are a great way for children to use their imaginations and get energy out. Because kids typically spend a lot of time playing make-believe, playsets give them space to play and create imaginative realities. Whether they’re blasting off into space on a swing, pretending the playset is a pirate ship, or tunneling through the earth through the slide, giving kids a space to let their imaginations run wild helps their development..
Although made for children’s abilities, a playset isn’t without risks. Because kids are still learning what they’re physically capable of, they’re at risk for injuries like broken bones, sprains, cuts and bruises, head injuries, dislocations, and more. By providing playset rules, you aren’t staunching their creativity, but helping create barriers that will allow kids to play safely without overestimating their abilities.
Playset Rules for Set Up
Whether setting up your own playset in the backyard or allowing your kids to play elsewhere, there are a few things you should take into consideration:
- Does the playset have any parts that are broken or splintered? Make sure to remove broken pieces and sand away splinters that may appear.
- What does the playset sit on? A playset should never be placed over concrete, asphalt or blacktop as they provide very little give if a child should fall. Even though grass seems soft, it’s often uneven, which doesn’t provide adequate stability. Placing a playset over wood chips, rubber mulch, sand or rubber safety pads is ideal. If a child accidentally falls on any of these, they’re softer and less likely to cause damage.
- Is the playset shaded? We all can remember a time when we sat on a metal slide that had been baking in the sun. Ouch! If metal is used, including bolts and handrails, it should be covered to keep it from getting too hot. It’s ideal to keep the playset out of direct sunlight to keep kids from getting burned or overheated on hot days.
Playset Rules for Kids During Play
Once a kid has begun to play, it can be hard to get their attention, so repeating (and having them echo) the playground rules before they begin can help reinforce what they need to know. Here are a few rules to get started with.You can add or subtract rules depending on your kids’ unique abilities.
- Always play with supervision. This is especially important on public playgrounds where there are more factors that can cause injury (including other children). An adult should always be able to see what the kids are doing, stop any dangerous behaviors, and tend to children if they get hurt.
- Use equipment the way it’s meant to be used. This includes things like standing on swings, running up slides, or walking across the top of monkey bars. Playground equipment is made with safety in mind, but can become dangerous if you use it in ways it isn’t intended to be used.
- Don’t stick your head in things. Kids love to see if they can stick their heads through any opening they may find, but this can cause them to get stuck. If the opening is between 3.5 and 9 inches, it’s more likely they won’t be able to get their heads back out. However, no matter the size, kids shouldn’t stick their heads through openings that the rest of their body can’t easily fit through.
- Don’t push or shove. The more kids playing on a playset, the more likely there are going to be issues. This can be mitigated by making sure that all children who are playing understand that pushing, shoving, or rough housing on playset equipment can be dangerous for themselves and others. Nice personal play equals a nice playtime for everyone.
- Don’t use a wet playset. Whether it’s damp from morning dew or it’s raining outside, a wet playset can cause increased falls and slips. Kids should always wait for a playset to be dry before playing.
- Watch out for others. Kids are still learning to pay attention, notice details (like where someone else is in relation to themselves), and understand their own capabilities. It can be hard for them to understand when it’s safe to, say, go down the slide after another kid. If you work with them from the time they’re young to understand how to watch out for others, the better they’ll understand their own physical relation to others, which will help them stay safe.
- Dress appropriately. Playtime can only be truly fun if it’s also safe. Teach your children to avoid wearing loose, dangling clothing while playing on their playset. Any necklace, drawstring, hood, scarf, or similarly loose neckwear poses a risk of getting caught on protrusions. Remove strangulation risk by removing anything loose enough to get caught on a beam.
Childhood is a magical time, and no place is better for your child’s imagination to run wild than a playground. By providing kids with rules for their time on a playset, you can help them minimize accidents and make sure playtime stays fun.
To get started with your own customizable playset perfect for your child’s abilities, Rainbow Play provides hundreds of combinations for yards of any size and kids of any age. Design your own playset with our interactive playset builder.