Saturday, December 27, 2008

Home playground equipment safety checklist

Home playground equipment safety checklist
The U.S. CPSC(Consumer Product Safety Commission) offers some quick tips for home playground equipment safe (at least as much as possible):
Do not attach ropes, clotheslines or pet leashes to play equipment. Children can strangle on these. Also, be careful of clothing that has "rope" on it like hooded sweatshirts.
Look at your hardware and make sure their are no sharp edges or protruding bolts like open S-Hooks on swings or other attached playground equipment, this can be hazardous and cause lacerations or the like; Check for sharp points or edges.
Check for openings that could trap kids, such as spaces in railings or between ladder steps and rungs. You should measure these openings as less than 3.5 inches or more than 9 inches. You don't want a child's feet to go through and head get stuck.
Check to verify that platforms, ramps, and stairs have guardrails.
Install and maintain a shock-absorbing playground safety surface around the playground equipment. Ask specifically for playground wood fiber when buying "wood chips" or "mulch". Traditional landscaping mulch is not safe for kids becuase of decomposition and contamenants. Also, look into playground rubber mulch as a long term solution.
Remove tripping hazards, such as exposed concrete footings, tree stumps and rocks

These are just the basics on playground equipment safety, but a good start for homeowners!

Based on guidelines from the and online.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

"Dear George: Remember- No Man is a Failure who has Friends"

"Dear George: Remember- No Man is a Failure who has Friends"
It's a wonderful Life

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

child in the woods playground concept

I was searching for some fun playground sketches and came across not only these sketches but a cool design for a playground with "child in the woods" concept of play. This playground (to me) is like posts for trees and tree top shade with slides and climbers

There is even a video of the playground in concept from all angles.

Cool playground equipment!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Importance of the playground

“A hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove…but the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child.” Forest E. Witcraft

Friday, December 5, 2008

Playground Equipment contest from the NFL Play 60

Bacteria - spray park, water park, splash pad bacteria

Bacteria - spray park, water park, splash pad bacteria

We install many spray parks each year and the repeated question is, what about clean water and safety?
In the past few years there has been increase in the number of Recreational Water Illness (RWI) issues(example Cryptosporidiosis) associated with splash pads, water parks, spray parks.
Just look at your water source:
By using the current municipal water system you are able to use the cleaned and filtered water for the local waste water treatment plant. So instead of installing an expensive local system, use what you already have.
You can local treat your system, but you MUST check it regularly to make sure it is doing its job. For most cities it is tough to find the people service guys to do this. You probably bought a spray park, splash pad, or water park for having less people on staff then a pool. There are several treatment ways out there so please explore all the options when looking at a system like this.
Concrete is recommended by most manufacturers as it allows proper drainage. If you use a rubber surface then bacteria can build up and the surfacing will no doubt break down. The chlorine and constant water, UV and foot traffic just wears it down. So you have added long term cost of ownership.
Check out the CDC website on healthy swimming in water parks, splash pads and spray parks
Also, check local codes for rules in your area.
Also, the CPSC has come out with some new guidelines for water parks.
In the end, you need to focus on clean water, proper drainage and spray park maintenance!
I found this fun picture at -

Playground Installation the right way

I have seen too many poor playground installations out there done by person(s) not knowledgable enough on the CPSC and ASTM standards for playgrounds. The International Playground Contractors Association however is working to provide customers with a certified contractor so that they know the installation will be done right. This helps when state and county inspectors stop by becuase of new legislation(Jarod's Law) in Ohio.
Since the inception in 1997, the International Playground Contractors Association (NPCAI) is a worldwide partnership to contribute to the advancement of the playground building industry by promoting playground installation as a legitimate contracting profession. The NPCAI currently serves over 260 playground professionals as members.
PLayground safety should not be comprimised, so please make sure your installer is certified. You would do it for your car, house, furnace etc. wouldn't you?

Monday, November 24, 2008

Playground equipment of the future?

This is a way cool video of a transforming playground design layout.

Is this the playground equipment of the future?

Friday, November 21, 2008

Last Child in the Woods

I have had several daycare people bring this book to my attention. I am there to design a playground and they want to make sure the kids get outside and are stimulated by more than just video games, central air and fruit snacks, doritos or the like.
I remember catchting frogs by geygers pond and wading through creeks to find crawfish. What fun. Even as we got older just exploring the changes in the woods was fascinating. Now with all the media about all the creeps that exist in the world, it is no wonder we worry to send our kids into the great wide open. Some how we must trust them to check it out on their own and not under some forced learning environement.
Anyway, I found a good synopsis on the book. I still think we need safe playgrounds near the woods :-)
Last Child in the Woods
In this influential work about the staggering divide between children and the outdoors, child advocacy expert Richard Louv directly links the lack of nature in the lives of today’s wired generation - he calls it nature-deficit - to some of the most disturbing childhood trends, such as the rises in obesity, attention disorders, and depression. LAST CHILD IN THE WOODS is the first book to bring together a new and growing body of research indicating that direct exposure to nature is essential for healthy childhood development and for the physical and emotional health of children and adults. More than just raising an alarm, Louv offers practical solutions and simple ways to heal the broken bond - and they are right in our own backyard.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Consumer Product Saftey Improvement Act of 2008

Hey, I just got this notice via IPEMA regarding some changes to playground rules for safety. I will keep you posted if I see more.
Consumer Product Saftey Improvement Act of 2008
Dear IPEMA Member:
As a service to our membership, IPEMA wants to make you aware of important recent legislation that may have a significant impact on your business. On August 14, 2008, President bush signed the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA),
This act will have a major impact on the playground industry. The first several sections of the Act are directed at children’s product safety. As matter of conjecture, we have been advised that non-conformance to this law may result in serious legal ramifications and penalties.
Because of the significance of this law to playground industry, IPEMA is planning on immediately hiring a consultant to present a summary of the law and help IPEMA members understand the requirements of the CPSIA.
Shortly your company will receive a meeting invitation through IPEMA’s administrator. Should you have any questions with regards to this upcoming meeting, please contact Mr. Martin Speece at IPEMA’s headquarters via email:
Thank You,
International Play Equipment Manufacturers Association

Playground fundraising with ice cream or dinner

I just got a letter from Hershey’s Ice Cream in N. Royalton, advertising Fundraising opportunities. I think this is a great playground fundraising idea that would be something to consider with other local businesses. I know Tommy’s Pizza has done this for our church recently. The way it works, whatever purchases are made on a certain day, a certain percentage is donated. I think I’ve heard of Applebee’s and Friday’s doing it as well.
I also saw some more listed on the web for playground fundraising ideas

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

NRPA 2009 Congress & Exposition

NRPA 2009 Congress & Exposition - Salt Lake City 2009

NRPA 2009 Congress & Exposition

October 13–16, 2009Salt Lake City, Utah
Check out city park playgrounds at this nationa recreation and Park show.
The companies set up FULL playground designs with the latest features in play!

Snowed in Cleveland, Ohio

It snowed in cleveland ohio today, I wish I was playing at the beach still!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Brady Quinn’s first game

Brady Quinn’s first game from my vantage point. We didn’t win, but he played well in his debut game. I hope he can stir up a win tonight againsts the Buffalo Bills.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Playground equipment and playground surfacing site drainage

Playground safety surfacing and drainage I just had a customer ask about drainage issues on the playground. The basics: If we dig down, you MUST consider drainage, otherwise you will create swimming pool effect and have puddles, increased break down of your playground engineered wood fiber. If you have unitary surfacing like poured in place or safety tiles, then the subusrface may wash away. However, if you have an above grade solution that tapers slightly you should be fine. Playground wood fiber will still break down, but not as fast. Your sub-surface material will remain in place.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


I just signed up for a workshop on playground equipment and inclusive play.
This sounds interested, they are going to have a few conference calls on the topic. Since we(Snider & Associates) install so many playgrounds each year, I thought this would be good for us. If you are a member of the industry you should check it out.
Check the original at this link
With Amy Jaffe Barzach, Retired Founder and Director Emeritus of Boundless Playgrounds, appointed by IFC as the chairman of the Inclusive Play Workgroup, a call for members, advisors and/or advocates of inclusive play was announced in August 2008. The workgroup will strive to increase awareness of the issues related to inclusive play environments and will champion programs that demonstrate excellence in these areas. Interested parties were asked to submit the following information to them by August 20, 2008: Name, affiliation, contact info including address, telephone numbers, email; why they were interested in serving; and experience related to accessible and inclusive play environments. In addition, Amy can be contacted

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Inclusive Playground - Commercial playground

1 - Be Fair
The play environment provides social justice by being equitable and usable by children of all abilities so they can enjoy their right to play.
a. Provide appropriate surfacing and site design for physical access into and throughout the play environment so children can actively engage in social and physical play activities.
b. Offer equitable opportunities for everyone to participate in a variety of developmentally appropriate forms of play.
c. Promote an atmosphere of mutual respect and acceptance by providing integrated activities throughout the play environment that encourage exploration, problem solving and discovery.
An accessible pathway to and throughout the play environment allows people of all abilities to participate in play.
2 - Be Included
The play environment supports the participation of individuals with diverse abilities in social and physical activities for inclusive, multigenerational play.
a. Organize the play environment to provide various types (physical, social, sensorimotor, constructive, etc.) and forms (autonomous, parallel, cooperative, etc.) of play so there is something fun for everyone.
b. Provide a balanced variety and a continuum of developmentally appropriate physical and social activities, throughout the play environment, which are dynamic and accommodate individuals’ diverse abilities.
c. Provide choices in method of participation or use. d. Provide meaningful opportunities for inclusive, multigenerational play.
Social gathering spaces under decks and along accessible pathways allow children of all abilities to be included.
3 Be Smart
The play environment allows children to effectively explore and participate in play at their own level.
a. Design the play environment with a variety of multi-sensory features that are organized to provide meaningful cues
b. Provide intentional multi-sensory (auditory, visual, tactile) stimuli through a variety of play activities.
c. Offer opportunities for children of all abilities to access and engage in the play environment as independently as possible.
Accessible transfer decks designed strategically with play activities like slides allow children with adaptive equipment to successfully engage in their natural play behaviors.
4 Be Independent
The play environment allows children to effectively explore and participate in play at their own level.
a. Design the play environment with a variety of multi-sensory features that are organized to provide meaningful cues.
b. Provide intentional multi-sensory (auditory, visual, tactile) stimuli through a variety of play activities.
c. Offer opportunities for children of all abilities to access and engage in the play environment as independently as possible.
Equipment, like ramps, and multisensory features in the environment allow children to effectively explore and participate in play more independently.
5 Be Safe
The play environment addresses current safety standards while providing developmental opportunities needed for exploration and challenge.
a. Provide safer play activities and environments, through graduated levels of challenge, that allow children to explore, interact, and experience developmentally appropriate risk.
b. Support children’s emotional feelings of security so they are more likely to engage in play.
c. Accommodate for comfortable supervision and ongoing maintenance.
Benches placed throughout the play environment offer jump-in-points for kids while also promoting adult supervision.
6 Be Active
The play environment supports various degrees of physical and social participation in play while minimizing unnecessary fatigue.
a. Allow individuals to maintain neutral body position so they can actively sustain their engagement in physical and social play.
b. Include play activities that require reasonable operating forces and integrate alternatives to sustained physical effort or repetitive actions.
c. Provide for a range of developmental opportunities for challenge to accommodate children’s diverse physical characteristics.
d. Offer balanced opportunities for social play throughout the play environment, by providing a variety of play activities at the ground level and under decks.
Play equipment like the One-for-All swing provides support for children of all abilities to experience the joy of movement.
7 Be Comfortable
The play environment is usable for individuals with sensory needs, diverse body size, posture, mobility, and motor control.
a. Provide play activities with comfortable approach and reach for a seated or standing child.
b. Accommodate variations in gross and fine motor control for manipulation of play activities.
c. Provide comfortable space for movement throughout the play environment for individuals with assistive devices and/or personal assistance.
d. Provide a range of environmental conditions, like shade, to accommodate children’s diverse comfort characteristics.
Features like this accessible Fire Truck Cab allow children of all abilities to comfortably approach and reach the activity while the open space inside supports comfortable movement.
Inclusive play or Boundless playground.