What are commercial Playgrounds?
Commercial playgrounds are indoor or outdoor constructions designed to accommodate large crowds. The playgrounds are constructed with the children’s safety and enjoyment in mind. These playgrounds were designed to give children the right amount of outdoor activity to improve their physical activity.
The commercial playground sector has expanded dramatically over the last few decades. Commercial playgrounds were first equipped with slides and climbing structures. Later they’ve been developed using multiple kinds of equipment.
Benefits of playgrounds
Playgrounds have a wide range of benefits over children. They promote skills in youngsters. But not just kids, even adults can get peace of mind by watching their children develop these skills. But what are the advantages of play areas?
- Self-esteem: Children build self-esteem and confidence by finishing challenging tasks.
- Emotions: The emotions of children are widely affected by playing outdoors. They develop fearlessness and excitement on exploring different equipment.
- Bond with parents: Children sometimes take their parent’s support to tackle hard equipment like the monkey bars.
- Interaction: Children learn to interact when they are amongst other children of the same age group.
- Listening: In a group of children, when one takes the initiative to explain how to handle equipment others tend to listen.
- Collaboration: A child’s ability to cooperate with others improves during group activities.
- Role-play: Role-playing with other children develops their skills to deal with real-life situations in the future.
- Teamwork: Tackling situations together builds their teamwork skills.
- Creativity: Children develop creativity when they imagine different circumstances while playing.
- Motor skills: Outdoor activities promote motor skills. A child tests his abilities through these activities.
- Leadership: Children develop leadership skills when they take the initiatives to explain game rules or show how situations should be handled.
- Problem-solving: Children develop problem-solving skills when they deal with obstacle courses.
- Anxiety: Playing outside directly improves a child’s mental health by reducing any form of anxiety.
- Strong immunity: The immune systems of children develop due to outdoor activities.
- Schoolwork: Allowing children to play outside boosts them up. It makes them happy and allows them to work better.
- Flexibility: Children become flexible and improve their balancing skills when playing outdoors.
- Strong muscles: Muscles of children are developed because of activities like monkey bars.
- Heart and lungs: Jumping and running can promote oxygen and blood flow throughout their bodies.
- Sleep: Children who spend their time outdoors tend to sleep better.
Why All Play Inc, Houston
All play is a playground equipment-based company that provides children with the best equipment to ensure a better growing experience. The experts provide various services ranging from playground equipment to commercial playgrounds in Houston.
The equipment is made out of antimicrobial, non-toxic, and water-based coats. Children require outdoor activities to help maintain their physical and mental health. All Play is here to give your children the best experience to deal with real-life situations and improve their skills. The equipments will give your children the right level of learning. All Play aims towards giving children what they want, a fun learning experience.
As a parent, you face numerous concerns and responsibilities daily. From your children’s clothes and food to health and well-being, you combat all problems and issues to keep your kids away from anything that harms them. But one threat that can be easily foreseen and avoided has been steadily on the rise. This threat is obesity. Although preventable, many children are affected by obesity. The risks involved with this are ample. They have a negative impact on your child over the course of their lifetime.
Fortunately for us, this can be aided and prevented easily by avoiding fast and sugary junk foods and ensuring that your children make time out. This time can be best used to engage in age-appropriate healthy physical activities like running, jumping, playing various sports, going to parks, riding bikes, skateboarding, jumping rope, games like tag, hide-and-seek or treasure hunting, etc. Keeping kids healthy is a balancing act of eating and indoor and outdoor activities. Playing outside is crucial for physical fitness as it reduces the risks of obesity and provides positive health benefits.
Read below to know how playgrounds fight childhood obesity:
Playgrounds encourage social skills
Children are social beings, and have a habit of interacting with whatever they come in contact with. From toys and books to adults and children, they treat everyone and everything as individuals. Building such social skills and making friends is an important part of childhood development. Children who spend all of their time on cell phones and video games are more likely to be depressed and lonely. This might also be the reason behind their obesity. Encouraging them to have more real-life friends to spend time and play with will make them feel less lonely. They also might be less likely to use eating as a distraction. Children learn to adopt the behaviors of their peers. If they spend time with kids who eat well and are active, it may help prevent obesity.
Playgrounds encourage physical activity
Playgrounds are physical zones. They offer many different ways for children to stay active. They provide play-spaces to help children engage in many different activities like climbing, sliding, swinging. There are different pieces of commercial playground equipment Houston to engage different muscle groups and allow kids to get a full-body workout.
Playgrounds make exercise fun
Playgrounds encourage children to exercise. It allows them to enjoy and play around while exercising instead of taking it as a task. Playgrounds make such exercising activities interesting. You will find various commercial playground equipment Houston that will spark children’s imagination and build a competitive spirit.
Play-spaces combat sedentary and less healthy activities
Children nowadays are overly involved in technology and gadgets. If they don’t have access to a playground, they would be more inclined to sit and watch TV, video games and use cell phones. Studies show that such sedentary activities often promote and encourage overeating. While on playgrounds, children are too busy playing to take snack breaks.
Playgrounds provide a healthy and safe environment for your children to play and grow. All Play Inc offers the best commercial playground equipment Houston. Build a brighter and healthier future for your children, starting with playgrounds.
Playgrounds are essential to our society. It is a safe space for our kids to play and grow. It offers different ways to have fun exercise, and recreation for children from the age of 2 years through 12 years. These playgrounds hold some of their best childhood memories from meeting their best friends to forming their social identity. You will find playgrounds at various outdoor settings like schools, churchyards, neighborhoods, and parks with various slides, swings, merry-go-rounds, and climbers. Read below to know everything about buying commercial playground equipment in Houston.
Things you must consider before buying a commercial playground equipment in Houston
Location of the playground structure
Building a playground and buying its equipment comes with a set of parameters that must be met. One such parameter is the area of the playground. The designated area for the installation of the commercial playground equipment needs to be up to certain standards like it must be large, it should be leveled and debris-free. You must ensure that the selected area does not have anything hazardous near it, like a commercial plant.
The age range for your play structure
Playground equipment is structured age-specifically. Before buying playground equipment you must keep in mind the age group you want to target. You must remember to separate different structures designed for specific age groups with fences. For example, play areas for children of age 6 months through 23 months should have equipment that allows movement and exploring and encourages crawling, standing, and walking, but is also baby-proofed.
Budget for the play structure
Budgeting is crucial. Unexpected potential expenditure can be shocking. Something that might start from the lower end of a few hundred might end up costing as high as hundreds of thousands. You should plan with the supplier you chose and cross-check for unnecessary expenditure. Budgeting will help you get the most play equipment for your dollar you spent.
The material of equipment
Playground equipment is constructed from the following two materials: a metal structure with some plastic components, like slides, and the second type of equipment, which is made of wooden structures. Although wooden structures are less common in commercial or educational applications.
Number of play elements
The amount of equipment depends on the population in your area. Your supplier will tell you the amount of equipment you might need depending on the space and age groups of children in your area. From the number of slides, swings, merry-go-rounds, and climbers to benches, fountains, and restrooms, everything should be kept in mind.
The surfacing of the playground and play area is crucial. There are three different types of surfacing available:
- Engineered wood fiber is a chemical-free wood mulch.
- Rubber mulch is made of recycled tires.
- Pour in place, is a mixture of granular rubber and resin.
Where to purchase playground equipment
Your supplier plays an important role in the adequate purchasing and installing of commercial playground equipment. Different suppliers offer different price rates and designs for commercial playground equipment in Houston. Look for a supplier that caters to all your requirements within your budget. All Play Inc. offers different playground equipment along with different amazing services that will help you custom design your playground as you desire.
The question of whether technology is a boon or a curse can set quite a debate. Especially when it comes to children, the new tech can fulfill both roles agreeably. It has the potential to foster the child’s creativity and contribute to overall growth. While it is also true that it deprives today’s children of enjoying the fun of playing outside. The CDC recommends that a child should have a physical activity of about 60 minutes or more every day.
It can influence muscle and bone strengthening, prevent childhood obesity, and can also lower stress levels. Perhaps, you are well aware of these benefits and recall your own childhood experience of playing out. However, parents can be worried about the safety of their children. The pandemic-driven days have demanded extra care to be taken. In these cases, setting up outdoor playground equipment in Houston in the open space around the house can be most convenient.
This article will guide you about all the aspects of residential playground equipment.
What are the available options?
Undoubtedly, Houston has many over-the-top parks for kids to play in. Yet, parents can give that fun to their kids right in their own backyard.
These are the must-have sets for outdoor playground equipment in Houston:
- Swings: Swings are the perfect choice if a child wants to get his/her feet off the ground. There are plenty of picks available. For children under five years, a bucket swing can come in handy. You can try out belt swings, tire, and daydreamer swings as kids grow. Glider swing is one that the kids and even parents can enjoy at times.
- Slides: A conventional slide can also do the work. Yet, the variants of wave slide, spiral slide, and tube slide add some extra adventure. The tube slide could be less popular as outdoor playground equipment in Houston as it takes space.
- Something to climb: Improving body coordination through climbing is an awesome activity. A wall made up of solid material can add a lot of fun while playing. If not a wall, you can also think of a rope ladder.
- Addons: There can’t be enough of bouncing on a trampoline for kids. Also, monkey bars, crawl tunnels, and ship wheels complement the backyard well.
Things to look after while setting up a playground
While kids are in the safety of their house playing outdoor playground equipment in Houston, parents need to examine how safe this equipment is for children.
Give a thought to the things below for a completely safe environment:
- Avoid wooden equipment since it can be susceptible to pests and weather.
- If wooden sets can’t be avoided, go for the durable cedar wood.
- The material used in the equipment should be sturdy so as to avoid corrosion.
- No crowding; there should be enough clearance between components.
- The playground equipment can need periodic maintenance.
- Do not leave any overhanging electrical wires or tree branches where children play.
If you have made up your mind after going through this blog, All Play Does it all is an excellent manufacturer of outdoor playground equipment in Houston. Head over to the site to create a childhood of backyard fun.
Playing in childhood is traditionally associated with fun and enjoyment. Children themselves might perceive it as a mere joyful activity. However, many people are oblivious to the fact that play constitutes an important part of life for child development. There are plenty of playgrounds in Houston for the 39% of households having children. This can be a very good place of learning for children, apart from the schools.
It is by playing together that makes children learn to socialize. From forming bonds of friendship to gaining life experiences, outdoor playing is indispensable to child development. Research in this area has revealed the physical and mental benefits playing can impart to children. After reading this blog, you will be completely aware of the importance of play in a child’s development. These benefits would surely provoke you to make daily rounds to playgrounds in Houston with your kids.
Playing supports physical development
The physical activity of kids these days has taken a hit due to gadgets. There has to be a fine balance between the screen time and outdoor playing time of the child.
Sending kids to playgrounds in Houston offer the following benefits:
- Strengthens muscles and bones: Playing is a kind of exercise generating strain on body muscles. The repeated strain is the key to increasing their strength. Also, children are exposed to sunlight while playing outside, which can provide vitamin D. Thereby improving bone growth.
- Reduces obesity: About 34% of children aged 12 and over in Houston are obese, as per the health department figures. This is due to the fact that kids spend less time on playgrounds in Houston and more before computers. Playing an hour a day prevents the incidence of obesity in children.
- Improved sleep: Getting tired during play eventually contributes to undisturbed sleep. Moreover, kids wake up more refreshed if they had a good game before going to sleep.
Mental development in kids
Scientific research has shown that there is a relationship between playing outdoors and the intelligence of children.
The playgrounds in Houston can spark creativity and offer several advantages:
- Develop leadership skills: Kids often enjoy the leadership positions in the games of their choice. This is when their leadership skills sharpen. Play helps the children recognize their true talent.
- Critical thinking: The freedom to make decisions and mistakes during play does develop critical thinking. Playing allows the unlimited use of imagination which culminates into greater creativity.
- Intelligence development: The higher cognitive processing area of the brain benefits most while playing. The activity of playing for a longer duration can increase the ability to focus. It can be helpful for other long-term tasks that need focussing. Thus, playing at the playgrounds of Houston can make your child intelligent!
Apart from this, playing also nourishes the social and emotional development of children. Kids experience a range of emotions when they play, which helps them to overcome problems. As playing involves socializing with other kids, it teaches children to be patient.
To be independent and also learn collaboration. All in all, it is highly required for parents to encourage their kids to visit playgrounds in Houston.
Staying at home in a pandemic is difficult for us. If you have a lively bunch at home, you must have noticed the drastic lifestyle change your kids have gone through. Children are spending most of their time in front of screens at an age where physical activity is vital for growth. To prevent the long-term consequences, it is necessary to walk an extra mile and bring the playground at home.
Building a backyard playground is a great investment, but there are several factors parents should consider before getting into the process. If you need any assistance with outdoor playground equipment in Huston, All Play Inc. will take care of all your requirements, from design to construction.
We’re jotting down the factors parents should think about when planning a playground construction for their children
How old is the child?
Age tells you the child’s level of motor development. For every level of development, a different type of play benefits the most. Also, children of different age groups have different play preferences. To bring the best of both fun and fitness for your child, understand your child’s age-appropriate requirements and invest accordingly.
How many children will use the equipment?
If you have one child who will be using the playground, a single unit with all the required attachments will suffice. If you have two or more children, you would have to look at options that would accommodate many at a time. If you have many children of different ages, you would need tools for their respective physical activity levels.
How much space do you have?
Backyards may be big or small and require you to have them properly measured and checked for safety. It is smart to know the space, to understand how much and what type of equipment it can host before buying the outdoor play tools. If you have a small space, installing a swing will not be fun; instead, it will be unsafe. You must check whether the space is fit for construction and free of hazardous debris.
How to ensure complete safety?
We are talking about equipment that is going to be used roughly. Kids will run, climb, jump and hang on this equipment. Therefore, having sturdy equipment that will sustain repeated rough use, stand strong through the changing weather, and will not injure them is a fundamental necessity. Getting pieces of equipment with smoothed edges, high railings, soft grips, child-friendly textures, and insulated parts are highly advisable.
All Play Inc. offers Play Armour protection. It is a unique invisible, odorless antimicrobial coating to protect play equipment. It is also eco-friendly, non-toxic, and hypoallergenic. This armor protects the children from contagious diseases at play and guarantees maximum safety.
How to look after the equipment?
With heavy usage and standing outside in the ever-changing weather, equipment is likely to have loose parts, broken attachments, rusted bars, and much more. It is thus essential for parents to regularly check the installation or install low-maintenance equipment.
With proper planning done by considering all the mentioned factors, you can design your outdoor playground to give your children maximum fun, safety, and health benefits.
This list might seem a bit overwhelming to some parents, and we are here to help. All Play Inc. has been helping design and construct and maintain play parks for families since 1991. Being the trusted service for outdoor playground equipment in Huston, we build inclusive playgrounds for children of all ages. Contact us now for a stress-free purchase of outdoor playground equipment in Huston!
When kids grow into adults, they miss the carefree days spent on playgrounds. The games kids play, the memories they share, and the swings they ride- all become an integral part of their childhood. Long after we stop visiting playgrounds, the bittersweet nostalgia stays with us, only to remind us of how much fun we had.
Benefits of playgrounds
Apart from the fact that going to the playground with your friends and classmates is always the best part of the day, there are scientifically proven benefits to playing in the playground. Maybe this is why more and more people are paying attention to the technicalities behind building a playground for school in Houston, TX. Here are the various ways in which playgrounds help turn kids into better versions of themselves:-
Strengthening the senses
Going to the playground every day can improve the sensory perception of your child. The sensory perception lays the foundation for behaviors and characteristic traits. Spending time at the playground also helps the kids understand how to navigate new surroundings with ease, discovering the area and adapting to it. It improves their instincts and encourages self-exploration.
Health and wellness
Each playground for school in Houston, Tx, is an integral part of the community as it helps to build health and wellness. Going to the playground for half an hour or one hour daily means your child gets the necessary exposure to natural sunlight. Kids develop neuromuscular coordination much faster in a playground.
When they climb, jump, run, grab the monkey bars, or pull a chain, they’re learning how to use their small muscles and developing essential motor skills.
Children develop better social skills when they play with their friends or make new friends in the playground. To succeed as social animals, we must learn how to adapt to ever-changing social situations and read social cues. Going to a playground and interacting with others surely helps in this situation. Not only will children develop better social skills, but they’ll also learn how to be in a team.
Even as an adult, it isn’t easy to cope with our emotions. Kids also have a wide spectrum of emotions that they need to learn to manage from an early age. Playing freely helps boost their self-confidence, morale and gives them a feeling of control or liberation. When they play games with other kids, they learn how to take a loss or a win in the same stride.
Why choose All Play, Inc.?
All Play Inc. is known for putting their best foot forward, each time they help build a playground for school in Houston, Tx. The team at All Play Inc is dedicated to delivering seamless services and equipment that’s reliable, secure, and fun! Most of all, the team truly believes that safety comes first.
That’s why they offer PlayArmor- an antimicrobial coating for commercial playground equipment and play systems. PlayArmor protects your kids from toxic microorganisms. Kids shouldn’t have to worry about safety when they’re making memories and to have fun. Let the team at All Play, Inc. handle it!
Spending a section of your time in outdoor play in a virtual learning environment is key to both physical and intellectual ability. Most people have chosen homeschooling in the wake of Covid-19. Making computers and laptops the basic props in their learning endeavor. As the world advocates for virtual learning, especially during the pandemic, we find it imperative for these children to combine sensorial stimulation through outdoor activities. These will, as a result, enable them to achieve a balanced physical and learning experience.
Children can only learn through their senses. Incorporating aspects that stimulate these senses in the learning curriculum will add much value to their growth and development. The following are reasons why including outdoor play in the virtual learning schedule is important.
Enhancing Physical Education
A balanced learning environment that incorporates outdoor activity will promote physical education. Children will understand how important physical activity is for their health. Remember, a virtual learning environment will have the kids glued all day to devices. This deprives them lots of energy, which could cause moodiness, lethargy, headaches, and insomnia. Incorporating outdoor activity will alleviate these forms of stress and enable the learners to lead a healthier emotional, intellectual, and physical life.
Ease Anxiety and Stress
A virtual learning environment is likely to separate children from their friends. The kids remain at home, stuck in front of screens with lots of homework to do. This heavily affects the learner’s emotional and imaginative feats. It is important for tutors, therefore, to craft a balanced learning-play outdoor schedule for the learners. This will promote their mental health development and curve their social skills. Anxiety is another condition associated with inadequate fresh air in the lungs. Play induces high oxygen levels that promote an active brain and influence relaxation.
Physical education will ensure the learners stretch their bodies and remain limber. Both are important for maintaining muscle flexibility and preventing injuries. A flexible body is more resistant to some injuries.
Brain energy stems from fresh physical activity. When the brain is fit, someone has a more focused sense of clarity, less stressed, and more acumen. Avoid mistaking the alleviation of brain stress associated with playing video games, listening to music, and watching movies with that of physical activity. These other forms of relaxation have different effects when promoting brain functionality.
Remaining Active and Focused
When children engage in regular physical activity, their neurons are subjected to fresh change and growth. This boosts their ability to learn additional skills and become more intellectually stable. Some important abilities they will also pick up include social skills, emotional skills, problem-solving and decision making.
Is your playground looking for playground equipment? We specialize in the commercial playground equipment needed to get your kids outside & involved in the outdoor learning environment. in Southeast Texas.
This guide is for starters who want to build upon or add a community recreation park. This is the complete guide to choosing the right park or playground equipment. You will find helpful insight on how to navigate commercial playground equipment in Southeast Texas. Anyone out there that has a passion for revitalizing the surrounding community, the information herein will help stimulate community involvement through outdoor activities. There are many benefits of a recreation park, and supporting a physically healthy life is the most important. Most people take parks as pleasant spaces out in the green to socialize, meditate, therapeutic walks, and bring children out to play. Yet, the benefits of the playground go further by contributing to the beautiful aspects of a neighborhood.
Lots of emphases should be placed on equipment when planning an outdoor park. The right selection of equipment will boost the benefits and will bring out the full advantage of outdoor recreation. Below is the information you need to consider before choosing park and playground equipment.
Evaluate the Playground and its Needs
Conduct a playground audit and evaluate your equipment needs based on available size and space, general layout, headcount it can hold, age of children visiting the park, and people with disability. A playground is built to hold children of different ages. Designers engineer these spaces to enhance physical, intellectual, emotional, social, and imaginative development. Consider all these factors in your park audit and come up with a list of equipment you will require.
What is the status of the Existing Equipment
Sometimes you want to compliment your existing resources with more equipment. There is existing equipment in the playground, some of which you also plan to replace. Therefore, as you perform the audit, consider what equipment to purchase and give the park a fresh appearance. The equipment audit must evaluate the equipment’s condition at hand to identify what needs to be replaced and what could be added. Ensure the existing equipment is also compliant with ADA and CPSC/ASTM regulations. Also, find out whether those in your community are happy and comfortable with existing equipment. If there are any issues or specific requests, consider those suggestions within the space.
What’s your budget? Assess the overall budget and what sources of funding are available. Funding could be in the form of business capital, fundraising, donations, and grants. Prepare a budget for all needs and allocate funding to landscaping and site preparation, surfacing costs, and other expenses. If the budget is not sufficient, consider acquiring some of the equipment in phases or seeking a financing option. A lease can allow one to equip their park today and pay for it over several years.
Sporting, Outdoor Gyms, and Pet Park
What features are you planning to include in the park? Will you have an outdoor fitness area, a sports field, or a dog park. Remember, the kind of amenities available will determine the type of people that visit the playground. For instance, a fitness area would draw in both adults and kids, while sporting fields will draw in community and school teams. With a rough idea of the people that will visit the park, you can determine the type of equipment you will need to purchase.
The best way to bring a community together is through outdoor parks and playgrounds. These spots are perfect relaxation sports for families, kids, and friends. They also play a role in reflecting the community’s identity and showing the quality of life in a given neighborhood. Often in surveys indicating a community’s liveliness, researchers have cited outdoor parks as an important factor.
Besides being chill-out zones, they are also a nice spot for socializing. You will meet people who live around the neighborhood, and you will all realize how great an amenity the park is.
Outdoor Parks and Property Values
A study by Reaction.edu sites outdoor parks as one of the top three factors businesses will consider before relocating. The existence of a park in a neighborhood will positively influence the price of a property. Furthermore, parks have a role in improving the local tax base and therefore raising property value.
Other factors besides recreational amenities that determine whether a neighborhood will improve in value include; the existence of an educated population, access to employment, and retail stores’ presence.
Sense of Unity
Some residential neighborhoods have pulled in residents from different walks of life and cultures. A park has a unique way of bringing these people together and allowing them to interact. Moreover, parks are designed to hold different programs and events which bring the community together. As a result, people will interact, share their beliefs, and forge a sense of harmony with each other. The presence of a centralized spot where people can hang out makes it easier to create unity, love, and friendship.
Hanging out in an outdoor park has an emotional restorative effect. Hitting the road for an evening jog or just strolling outdoors is good for your physical health. Additional emotional benefits such as reducing anxiety, stress, and depression are also possible after strolling around a park.
Scientists have proven outdoor walks reduce cortisol levels. A catalyst for the amount of stress one might have.
Join a sporting club community in the park and join in stress-relieving physical activity. You will realize the amount of emotional weight you’ll have eliminated.
Outdoor recreation parks play a significant role in maintaining the vibrance of a community. Usually, outdoor parks are created, including commercial playground equipment and infrastructure for both kids and families. An important factor while building a public park is considering the people that live in the neighborhood. How old are their kids, and whether their kids are already living in the area? After building the parks, they become attractive hotspots for the young community and people with kids. Hence creating a young vibrance and adding diversity to the neighborhood.
Outdoor parks and recreation playgrounds are a nice way for the community to come together. They offer families and kids a great way to experience mother nature. At All Play Does It All we provide outdoor playing equipment for playgrounds in Southeast Texas.
More play can improve a child’s IQ, creativity, problem-solving ability, and socialization. Playing ensures a child develops their sense of control and their ability to execute tasks easily. Moreover, the child will be able to absorb and practically apply knowledge.
Scientists have confirmed the inter-relationship between play, focus, social and analytical skills. Outdoor parks can stimulate outdoor activities. And this stimulation is what children need to remain active. If your kid is taking part in unstructured free play at outdoor parks and school playgrounds, they will have an easy time developing their social skills and tackling challenges in school. Making play a compulsory part of the school curriculum could be the secret to shaping high performing students.
Physical fitness, exercise, and movement are important factors for child development. Some schools are making the mistake of cutting back on physical education, resulting in inadequately developed children.
Several programs reinforce physical education across schools in the United States. Such programs are bent towards fulfilling the mental, social, physical, and emotional needs of children. For parents and guardians who want the best of their children, play is the number one factor when it comes to mental and physical health.
With this in place, the school will be easier. The children will have the ability to process their reading, writing, and arithmetic skills easily. Some of these games are popular for curving a child’s leadership potential. Children must have good sportsmanship and soft skills such as kindness and inclusiveness. Such skills can easily be acquired through outdoor games and coached play.
Outdoor games are also popular in helping children engage with information. This improves their ability to process information and retention. Furthermore, these games also motivate children to focus on new material after completing a prior task.
The Mind Remains Active
Teachers, instructors, and parents have to give their children ample playing opportunities. The playing activities should entail at least 1.5 hours of unstructured outdoor play. In which the children should move freely across the playground. Once subjected to such play, the children will remain awake, active, and focused throughout school hours.
Inactivity and stillness are not recommended for an active and developing brain. When a human remains still longer than 20 minutes, scientists claim their brain and body undergoes a physiological change. Gravity pulls blood into hamstrings, and as a result, deprives the brain of oxygen and sugar. Eventually, the brain falls asleep.
When one moves, they can stimulate the brain’s neurons and fire up the brain. Sitting still will only deactivate the neurons.
Kids might have different tastes and preferences when it comes to games and how to play. But all these games play an important role in the development of their emotional, physical, and mental health. At All Play Does It All we provide outdoor playing equipment for playgrounds in Southeast Texas.
Playgrounds provide a fun way for children to spend their time. The activities they engage in improve their physical activity. As they are having fun, they also build their social, analytical, and communication skills. Children can take part in different activities after visiting the community playground.
Such activities include swinging, climbing, sliding, ball games, and free play. Parents and teachers should have their children explore the benefits of playgrounds. Hence the children will easily develop core interaction skills, making new friends, and gaining soft skills.
Gross Motor Skills
Gross Motor Skills include the movement of large muscle parts such as legs. Activities here are climbing, Jumping, and walking. These skills help shape a child’s ability to perform exceptionally in school. To develop these skills, children sit uprightly on their desks or carry heavy book bags.
Playgrounds are a nice way to get started while building the physical and cognitive capacities for gross motor skills. These factors include muscle strength, tone, balance, sensory processing, coordination, and motor planning.
If your children are taking in any activity involving moving their legs, torso, or arms, they practice their gross motor skills. Have them climb stairs, pump their legs during swinging, crawl through tubes, and climbing rocks.
Fine Motor Skills
Moving and coordinating different body structures such as bones and muscles improve fine motor skills. Exercising these body parts enables children to perform given movements with maximum precision. Examples of fine motor skills include writing with a pen, picking objects, cutting shapes with scissors, and stacking stuff. These skills play an important role in how a child can eat properly or even speak clearly. They also influence a child’s academic performance by easily performing certain tasks like typing on a keyboard.
Kids need sufficient muscle strength, coordination, balance, and awareness to develop their fine motor skills. A playground would come in handy in helping children shape their muscle coordination and balance. Activities in a playground include grasping rungs of a climbing ladder, ropes, or bars.
Children require strong social skills. These skills should be ingrained in a child long during their development stages. Emotional skills include the ability to regulate feelings, resolve conflicts, and make friends. Emotional regulation involves activities such as impulse control and patience during game turns.
On the other hand, socializing and making friends ensures children develop soft skills such as empathy, kindness, and communication. Their level of cooperation will also improve, and their ability to soberly resolve problems will increase. Maturity and problem-solving skills are also results of sound social skills.
Children who spend their time at playgrounds often develop their social skills. Whether they are engaging in games such as swinging or climbing, remember they have to make friends. The interactions they forge in such outdoor activities are important in communicating and cooperating.
Have your children visit playgrounds frequently to help them work on their life skills. These are just a few of the entire developmental skills a kid is likely to gain from playing. Ensure, as an instructor or parent, that you provide these opportunities at All Play Does It All. We provide outdoor playing equipment for playgrounds in Southeast Texas.
Yes, the dreary winter season is still upon us here in southeast Texas, but the month of February still gives us plenty to smile about. (And no, we’re not talking about those delicious Valentine’s Day chocolates.)
For facility and recreational managers at parks, schools, churches and neighborhoods, February offers your community two reasons to get out and enjoy your playground and other outdoor amenities:
February Is American Heart Month
Heart disease continues to be the No. 1 cause of death among both men and women in the United States, leading to 1 in every 4 deaths nationwide. The good news is that heart disease is highly preventable, and prevention starts with awareness.
The American Heart Association has declared February American Heart Month to raise awareness about heart disease and how it can be prevented. This month offers a perfect opportunity to reach out to your community and encourage them to make heart-healthy choices, including increasing their physical activity. Of course, your playground and other outdoor amenities offer an ideal location for getting healthy exercise while enjoying fresh air and the chance to engage with others!
How you can celebrate:
- Host a community event where families can learn about heart disease prevention from local healthcare providers.
- Schedule a “heart walk” around your neighborhood that finishes with a party at your playground.
- Encourage young families to take advantage of nice-weather days (or at least non-rainy days) by taking the kids to your playground for some heart-healthy activity.
February Is Recreational Therapy Month
February is also National Recreational Therapy Month, sponsored by the American Therapeutic Recreation Association. For people with illnesses or debilitating conditions, recreational therapy offers the opportunity to improve their psychological and physical health, recovery, and well-being through recreation and other activity-based interventions.
While not everyone has a condition requiring formal recreational therapy, this month offers an excellent opportunity to highlight the therapeutic benefits of activity even for healthy kids and adults.
How you can celebrate:
- Use your community newsletter, Facebook group, or other communications to remind your community that recreational activity can boost mood, improve sleep, and reduce stress.
- Host a “beat the winter blues” walk or fun run in your neighborhood to encourage families to get outdoors, even if the skies are gray.
- Remind your senior community members that physical activity can prevent disease, improve balance and stability, and increase life expectancy.
Wishing you and your community a happy, healthy February!
Whether your property is a municipal park, a school, a church, an apartment complex, or a neighborhood, your playground is a place for young families to come together as they enjoy fresh air and physical activity. To keep parents and their children engaged between visits to your play space, consider publishing a community newsletter.
Whether you publish weekly, monthly, or quarterly, a family newsletter will help you
- Strengthen the sense of community among the families you serve
- Engage parents by offering healthy living tips on nutrition, activity, and wellness
- Keep readers apprised of family-focused events at your facility and in the surrounding area
- Attract new visitors to your playground and other outdoor amenities
As you consider the content and format of your family newsletter, here are a few decisions to consider:
- Print or online: Online newsletters are less expensive to produce, but could get lost among the dozens of emails recipients get every day. Print newsletters cost more to print and distribute, but some studies show that they’re more likely to be read.
- Name: Come up with a catchy name for your publication, one that people will remember.
- Frequency: If you have a large, active community with plenty of activities on a regular basis, a weekly newsletter might serve you best. For smaller communities, a monthly or even quarterly publication might be a better choice.
- Length: Consider how long you want your newsletter to be, and keep the length consistent from issue to issue. Remember, if you opt for a print newsletter longer than two pages, your page count will need to be a multiple of 4.
- Format: Just like a newspaper or magazine, your newsletter will have regular sections and columns that will appear in every issue. Determine what you’ll want those sections to look like; for example, each issue might include a story on family health and wellness, a neighborhood family profile, a list of upcoming events, announcements (such as school closures), and a fun element like a seasonal trivia question or a pet-of-the-month photo.
- Images: Every newsletter needs good visuals, so plan in advance where your publication’s images will come from. Will you use stock photography, original photos, or a combination of the two? Keep in mind that if you use photos of people in your community (especially kids), you’ll need to obtain permission.
- Process: Decide who will create the content for each issue and what the editorial approval process will look like.
- Schedule: Set a delivery date for each issue you will publish this year, then work backwards from each date to determine when layout needs to be done, when content needs to be completed, when images need to be submitted, etc.
The beginning of a new year is a perfect time for launching a newsletter to engage, inform, and entertain the families in your community. Plan your product carefully, build your team, put your processes in place, and get ready to reap the benefits of a vibrant, engaging publication that your families will love.
It’s only January, and already this winter has brought sub-freezing temperatures and even some snow to the southeast Texas area. With two more months until the first day of spring, it’s likely that there more wintry weather is on the way, and it’s not too late to protect the plant life in your playground area. Here are a few tips for making sure your trees, shrubs, and other plants around will be prepared for the chill and ready to bloom when spring rolls around.
Trim and prune trees. Winter is a great time to cut away branches that block views or that may be in danger of breaking off and creating a safety hazard. Pruning also promotes faster regrowth in the spring and gives root systems a chance to strengthen.
Keep roots warm. Adding an extra layer of mulch will give root systems additional insulation against the winter cold and helps sustain soil moisture.
Continue watering. Even though the above-ground portion of trees and plants may be dormant, root systems are still active and will continue to grow if they have an adequate supply of water.
Be ready for freezing temperatures. If your trees and shrubs are well mulched, they probably have adequate protection against the occasional light freeze. If temperatures are projected to fall into the 20s, make sure plants are well watered ahead of time — the water will actually act as an insulator — and cover them with old sheets, burlap, painter’s drop cloths, or or a similar fabric, but never with plastic.
Anchor plant coverings. If you need to cover plants, make sure your coverings reach all the way to the ground, and anchor them with bricks or rocks to protect against wind and keep heat inside.
While families with children and young, active adults have traditionally been the target markets for community parks and recreational facilities, the “graying” of America is inspiring some bold new approaches. According to the most recent U.S. Census, 14.9 percent of the population in 2015 was age 65 or older, representing 47.8 million older adults. More of these seniors are choosing to “age in place” — remain in their homes of choice rather than transitioning to senior living facilities — which generates a greater demand for senior-oriented activities and services from local parks and rec facilities.
According to a recent survey by the National Recreation and Park Association, those demands are being heard loud and clear. Nine out of 10 agencies now dedicate programs, facilities, and programming to older adults. And 71 percent of those agencies characterize themselves as the leader or one of the leaders offering services and programming for older adults in their communities.
Diverse Services for a Diverse Group
While we tend to think of “seniors” as a single bloc, this demographic is actually a highly diverse group with an equally diverse array of needs and interests. According to the survey, parks and rec agencies are offering a varied slate of offerings for their senior patrons. Ninety-one percent of respondents offer exercise classes, and other offerings include
- Field trips, tours, and group vacations: 70%
- Arts & crafts classes: 67%
- Volunteer opportunities in rec centers: 58%
- Special events for seniors: 58%
- Group walks: 53%
- Volunteer opportunities in parks: 48%
- Employment opportunities (leading classes, etc.): 47%
- Group nature activities: 38%
- Cooking and nutrition classes: 36%
- Mentoring opportunities: 14%
Serving a Broad Age Range
While the U.S. Census defines “seniors” as those age 65 and older, parks and rec agencies are targeting their senior programs to those as young as 50. “This reflects not only the fact that older working Americans themselves have unique needs that park and recreation agencies can meet,” the report states, “but also represents an opportunity to keep these people connected with park and recreation after their children have left home and they may have become less active.” Forty-four percent of respondents have a minimum age of 50 for their senior programs, and 40 percent have a minimum age of 55.
Health and Wellness Rules
As seniors age, staying healthy and active becomes a priority, and parks and rec agencies are stepping in to help. Three-fourths of survey respondents offer one or more evidence-based wellness programs for older adults, including tai chi, fall prevention, diabetes prevention and self-management, and Arthritis Foundation programs.
Assessing the Demand
How do these agencies discover what older adults in their communities want and need from them? According to the survey, most respondents say they get direct response from current and potential users through
- Surveys of community members: 73%
- Target marketing and outreach: 60%
- Community engagement at senior housing communities: 33%
- Community engagement at faith-based organizations: 13%
To learn more about trends in senior programming among parks and recreation agencies, see the National Recreation and Park Association’s report Healthy Aging in Parks Survey
In today’s high-tech, digital-obsessed environment, some may be tempted to write off the local neighborhood community center as an anachronism. With such an abundance of resources available online, many of us may wonder whether we really need these facilities at all.
Yet according to a recent survey by the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), the demand for community-center services is stronger than ever, across all generations. “While traditionally these agencies have brought a focus of fitness and fun to their local community members of all ages,” the NRPA says, “now many also include healthy living classes, computer and internet availability, and older adult transportation, just to name a few.”
According to the poll, Americans are not only supporting their local community centers — they’re demanding more “nontraditional” services that go beyond the usual after-school programs and aquatic facilities:
- 51 percent would like to see their local centers offer healthy living classes.
- 46 percent want programming for older adults.
- 45 percent want nature-based activities.
- 43 percent want access to computers and the internet.
- 41 percent want inclusive facilities for all abilities and all needs.
- 38 percent want health clinics and services.
Even more surprising is the outcome that shows Millennials supporting community center services just as strongly as — if not more so than — their Gen X and Baby Boomer counterparts. 57 percent of the Millennials surveyed want fitness facilities at their local centers, 53 percent want healthy living classes, and 50 percent want out-of-school time programming.
For more information about the results, visit the NRPA’s blog post.
While the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) has been the law of the land since 1990, facilities managers of parks, churches, neighborhoods, and other properties are still figuring out how their playgrounds can best comply. They also realize that, regulations aside, offering a fun, engaging experience for kids of all abilities is just the right thing to do. It’s good for the families they serve, good for the community as a whole, and ultimately good for business.
As you explore different resources to learn more about accommodating kids with disabilities on your playground, you’ve probably come across the words “accessible” and “inclusive.” You may have wondered what the difference is between the two terms … or do they mean the same thing?
The answer is the two terms do have different meanings.
A playground is accessible if it is usable by kids of any and all ability levels. Or to phrase it another way, it has no barriers that would prevent kids with disabilities from entering the grounds, accessing different elements, or navigating the landscape. For example, an accessible playground would have no barriers at the entrance or along pathways and would offer ramps leading to elevated areas.
A playground is inclusive if it’s designed to encourage engagement and participation by children with disabilities. It goes beyond simply ensuring access and embodies a commitment to offering a fun day of play for all little ones, regardless of their physical condition. For example, an inclusive playground would offer a mix of activities that ensure kids who can’t slide or climb still have fun activities available to them. It also encourages social engagement among all visitors instead of isolating “special” elements in one area.
So if you’re looking at building a new playground or replacing an old one, whether you opt for “accessible” or “inclusive” depends on the needs of your community, the space available, and of course, your budget. If your primary concern is complying with the ADA, taking steps to make your play space accessible will likely help you steer clear of problems. Inclusivity involves going one step further and requires a greater commitment of resources. If an inclusive playground is your goal, you may need to do some convincing to get the necessary funds allocated to your cause.
Of course, every facility’s needs and situation is different, and we’re always happy to help. If you need some advice on accessibility and/or inclusivity features for your playground, just give us a call at (713) 939-9888.
We’re at the time of year that’s abuzz with activity … most of it indoors. Between shopping in crowded malls, attending functions, and baking, decorating, and wrapping at home, many families find fresh air and sunlight hard to come by during the holiday season.
But many health and wellness experts tell us that outdoor activity is just what we need this time of year. Cloudy days and colder temperatures leave us at a higher risk of seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a form of depression that tends to occur during winter months, and spending time outdoors can help ease the symptoms. The holidays can also be a stressful time for parents and kids alike, and outdoor activity is a natural stress-reliever.
And of course, let’s not forget that staying active helps burn off those extra calories from Christmas cookies and eggnog!
Fortunately, here in southeast Texas, our mild winter weather (last week’s snow notwithstanding!) is outdoor-activity friendly. Here are five activities to share with families in your community to encourage more “together time” in the great outdoors this December:
- Caroling: Get a group of parents and kids together and roam the neighborhood singing holiday carols. It’s a great way to get to know other families in the community, and singing also releases feel-good hormones like oxytocin.
- Winter Family Walks: Even if it’s a little nippy outside, the whole family can still enjoy an afternoon or evening walk. Just remember to bundle up appropriately, and enjoy a round of steamy cocoa when you return.
- Take a (Nature) Hike: Head to one of our wonderful local nature centers — like the Houston Arboretum & Nature Center or Brazos Bend State Park — and learn about nature while you enjoy the fresh air.
- Picnicking: Neighborhood playground, community parks, and church common areas are perfect locations for family picnics, even when there’s a chill in the air. Remember to dress appropriately, and be sure to bring along a thermal container filled with your hot beverage of choice.
- Outdoor Family Games: Outdoor games like horseshoes and ring toss aren’t just for the summertime. Tote your equipment to your neighborhood park, and invite other families to join in the fun.
Happy holidays to all!
Your church is the pride of your community, a friendly place where families come to worship, learn, engage with each other, and enjoy a respite from their hectic lives. Adding a playground to your other amenities can enhance your image in the community, attract new families to your congregation, and offer additional benefits for the parents and kids who use it. If you’re considering building a playground or upgrading your current equipment, here are five good reasons to move forward.
1. A church playground is inviting.
If your playground can be seen from the street, even partially, it sends a positive message about your faith community. It tells everyone who drives by that your church is family friendly, that you care about children, and that fun and recreation are an important part of church life for your congregation.
2. A church playground promotes health benefits.
Studies have shown that kids who enjoy active outdoor playtime do better in school, have improved attention spans, and experience less stress. By offering children a bright, engaging, safe place to enjoy fresh air and sunshine while experiencing the joy of movement, you’re promoting a healthier lifestyle for your littlest members.
3. A church playground gets kids away from screens.
Even small kids are suffering from the same “screen addiction” as their parents, spending hour after hour staring at TV, computer, or smartphone screens. When they come to your church playground, they have the chance interact with other kids and their parents on a personal, face-to-face level.
4. A church playground promotes fellowship.
When kids interact at a playground, they learn teamwork, empathy, and appreciation for the things that make their playmates special. Even activities as simple as deciding who goes first on the slide can benefit the development of interactive skills that will serve them well later in life.
5. A church playground attracts young families.
If you’re trying to attract younger families to your church, installing a bright, modern playground is a perfect first step. Not only will young moms and dads feel welcome in your congregation, but they’ll also be more likely to stay after services and engage with others while their kids enjoy some outdoor fun.
If you’ve been thinking about improving your church landscape with a new playground — or replacing an old one — there’s never been a better time to move forward. And if we can help, give us a call at (713) 939-9888 and let’s talk about what we can create for you!
“We’d love to have a playground — we just don’t have the space.” Next to lack of budget, lack of space is one of the most commonly heard objections when church, neighborhood, or school groups propose adding a playground. But with a little creativity (and the right partner, of course), you can build a fun, engaging play area even if space is in short supply. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Choose a predesigned structure made for small spaces. Many predesigned playground structures are optimized to make the most of a small area. For example, the MaxPlay 3 model packs in 11 play elements with just a 29’x31’ footprint.
- Make the most of freestanding pieces. Take a modular approach and select a few multifunctional freestanding pieces to offer multiple play elements in a compact area.
- Work with landscape elements. Look for ways to incorporate trees and other natural elements in your play space design. As an added bonus, you’ll help kids develop a special appreciation for the beauty of nature while they’re having fun.
- Have a playground custom-built for your facility. This option is especially useful for very small, oddly-shaped, or otherwise limited spots. Have an experienced design team put together a custom structure that’s tailor made for your space and the kids and families you serve.
The AllPlay team is at your service to create the perfect playground for your church, school, or neighborhood park — no matter how much space you have. Just give us a call at (713) 939-9888 and let’s talk about what we can design for you!
Even though the flood waters from Hurricane Harvey have long since receded, the need for support across our area remains massive. As our communities continue to recover, families with children are among those with the greatest needs. Here are a few ways you can help Houston’s kids get the support they need as recovery efforts continue.
Hundreds of displaced families with young children are still being housed in shelters, and Save the Children is making sure they have what they need with family-friendly supplies and services. A donation of $15 will provide arts, crafts, and recreation supplies, and $500 will provide child-friendly play spaces for 100 displaced children. Click here to learn more about Save the Children’s relief efforts, and click here to find out how you can help.
Many displaced families with kids are struggling to provide for basic needs, and the Houston Food Bank is helping by distributing food and other supplies. Click here if you’d like to make a monetary donation, or you can bring food and other items to 535 Portwall. According to the Food Bank’s website, most-needed items include
- Canned, ready-to-eat vegetables and fruit with pull tops
- Protein in pouches or pull-top cans (tuna, beef stew, chili, canned chicken)
- Peanut butter
- Snacks (granola bars, breakfast bars, etc.)
- Paper goods
- Cleaning supplies (mops, mop buckets, brooms, bleach wipes, bleach, garbage bags, bug spray)
When displaced families are able to return to their homes, many will have no furniture to come back to, due to destruction from flood waters and mold. Houston Children’s Charity is teaming up with Houston Astros shortstop Carlos Correa to ensure that each child has a bed of his or her own waiting for them when the family is able to return home. Their goal is to raise $500,000 to purchase 5,000 beds; click here to make a donation.
The people of Houston have shown tremendous community spirit in helping each other recover from this disaster, especially our neighbors with little ones. Let’s keep the spirit alive until all children have what they need to learn, grow, play, and just be kids again.
On August 25-27, Hurricane Harvey wreaked havoc on southeast Texas, causing historic flooding and leaving many areas in shambles. If your school, park, or neighborhood playground was affected by the flood, here are a few tips to help you bring the fun back while ensuring the safety of kids and families.
Inspect All Equipment
If your playground was submerged in flood waters — even just a few inches — it’s important that you inspect it carefully before allowing kids to play on it. Here are a few things to look out for:
- Water may be trapped in double-walled components like slides and climbers. If a piece of equipment is holding water, it needs to be drained before it’s safe to play on. Drill a small hole in a low, unused location (such as the very bottom of a slide) and allow the water to drain.
- Erosion may have occurred around the base of the equipment. As flood water drains, it can carry large amounts of soil with it, and erosion can make playground equipment unstable. If you notice significant erosion, keep the playground closed and contact the equipment manufacturer.
- Hardware such as nuts and bolts may have become compromised. The force of flood waters can loosen and even sweep away hardware elements. Inspect each piece of equipment carefully for loose or missing hardware, and tighten or replace as needed.
Clean It Up
Flood waters can contain numerous toxins, so playgrounds that have been exposed to flood waters must be thoroughly cleaned before they can be safely used. Pressure washers are a good choice for this task; just be careful with your pressure settings to avoid damaging the equipment.
Check Moving Parts
Moving equipment like merry-go-rounds can trap debris and sand in their internal mechanisms if they’re submerged in flood waters. Check each piece of equipment by moving it around a bit. If it doesn’t move normally, try flushing the moving parts with clean water. If that fixes the problem, let the equipment dry and then lubricate according to the manufacturer’s instructions. If the problem persists, contact the manufacturer.
Check Safety Surfacing
Pay special attention to your safety surfacing, as it’s the component most likely to suffer flood damage. Once you’ve removed any large debris such as branches and trash, inspect the area for missing, torn, or otherwise damaged surfacing. Different types of surfacing require different approaches to cleaning and restoration, so review your manufacturer’s recommendations, and contact them if you have questions.
You will need documentation for insurance claims and other purposes. Take photos and videos of any damage as soon as you notice it, and make a list of all actions taken, such as cleaning or replacement of components.
If you have any additional questions about restoring your playground after the flood, please feel free to call us at (713) 939-9888.
With Labor Day just a couple of weeks away, fall sports programs at your school or in your community will soon be ramping up again. While organized team sports offer valuable opportunities for kids to learn teamwork, responsibility, and sportsmanship, they can also carry the risk of serious injury: in the year 2013 alone, 1.24 million kids were treated in emergency rooms as the result of sports injuries.
Keeping kids safe on the field or the court is a group effort. Parents and the kids themselves bear part of the responsibility, as do coaches and team organizers. As you prepare to get your teams in gear, keep in mind these five safety pointers:
- Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. It’s still plenty hot here in southeast Texas, and even when the weather begins to cool off, adequate hydration is a must. Make sure plenty of fresh water is available before, during, and after all practices, and schedule water breaks for every 15-20 minutes. It’s also important that kids learn to recognize the early signs of dehydration, including headache, dry lips, dizziness, and cramps.
- Enforce a zero-tolerance policy on “dirty play.” When adrenaline is running high and the game is on the line, some kids may be tempted to bend the rules and take cheap shots to gain an advantage. Make sure all players on the team (and their parents) understand the importance of fair play and respect for others, and address infractions promptly and appropriately.
- Encourage kids to speak up about injuries. Sometimes kids will try to “tough it out” when they suspect something is wrong; some may even see it as a sign of weakness to admit being injured. Have your coaches emphasize to the kids that their health is more important than winning any game, and let them know it’s OK to speak up any time they suspect an injury.
- Train coaches in injury prevention and first aid. All coaches should receive basic training in the prevention, recognition, and initial treatment of sports-related injuries. Make sure that a complete first aid kit is readily available at all times, and that it contains supplies appropriate to the sport (remember to check expiration dates regularly).
- Check surfaces. Uneven surfaces, potholes, and obstructions pose unnecessary injury risks for the whole team. Before every practice, make sure someone walks the entire field or court to ensure that the playing surface is free of hazards.
For more information on preventing kids’ sports injuries, check out the Safe Kids Worldwide sports page at safekids.org/sports. By taking a few precautions and putting some sensible rules and policies in place, you can ensure that the fun continues all season long — and keep injuries at bay.
With vacations winding down and school starting up again, church activities will soon be in full swing, including children’s ministries. As you plan your activities for the first few weeks, keep in mind that the kids may be feeling a bit unsettled as they adjust to new schedules, new teachers, and possibly even new schools. You may also have some new kids in your class who moved to the area over the summer and who may be nervous about joining the group.
To help kids ease into the school year and build camaraderie, here are a few fun activity ideas:
Create a “Prayer Hands” Banner
This is a perfect activity for helping your kids “make their mark” as they begin a new school year. Get a large piece of fabric that’s thick enough to paint on. Let each child dip his or her hand into a paper plate of paint (make sure to use a paint that washes off easily) and make a handprint on the banner. Then let each child sign his or her name next to the handprint and write a short prayer for the class for the coming year. Hang the banner in your classroom and re-read the prayers at the end of the year.
Pack Backpacks for Kids in Need
Host a school supplies drive at your church and collect backpacks, pencils, notebooks, glue sticks, scissors, crayons and other items for kids in need. Have your class pack the backpacks while you talk about gratitude for the blessings you have and the importance of helping others. Let each child write a note for the recipient wishing them a good school year and slip it into the backpack.
Get Outside and Get Active
In addition to letting your class enjoy free play time on your church playground, you can help them burn off some extra energy with classic outdoor games. Think hopscotch, Simon Says, jump rope/double dutch, Red Light-Green Light, Red Rover, and other time-honored activities.
Bring Bible Stories to Life
Divide the class into groups of three or four and let each group choose a Bible story to turn into a skit. Help them decide how to tell their chosen story; you might even bring a box of random items and let the kids exercise their creativity in creating costumes and props. When each group is ready, have them act out their skit for the class, and film it with your smartphone so that they can see their own performances.
Happy back-to-school season!
In our previous two blog posts, we kicked off our series “How to Plan a Neighborhood Park Your Community Will Love” by reviewing the basic principles of park design and strategies for building support among your residents.
Today, in the final post of the series, we roll up our sleeves and get into the project planning phase, where you’ll create the plan that will take you from “square one” all the way through to your opening day … and beyond.
Below we’ve given you some general guidelines for planning your park project, but this list is by no means comprehensive. If you haven’t managed a project like this before, you might want to consider hiring a consultant to help you get started and to provide guidance along the way. You may also want to look into project-management software applications, which make it easy to track your progress and keep all your documentation in one place.
Set Your Goal
Now that you have a clear concept of the park you want to build and have discussed it with your residents, the next step is to set your overall goal. Follow the lead of the best project managers and set a goal that’s SMART:
- Specific: Be very specific about what the end result of your project will be. How large will your park be? What amenities will be there? How will it serve your community? Who will benefit from it? What impact will it have on property values and demographics?
- Measurable: How will you know when you’ve arrived at your goal? What criteria will you meet? How will you measure your progress along the way?
- Achievable: Give the amount of time, money, and other resources available, can you and your team achieve this goal as you’ve defined it? If not, you might need to make some adjustments.
- Relevant: How will this park serve your community? Be sure to consider its impact in the near and distant future as well as the present.
- Time bound: When do you aim to have your park completed? It’s true that delays happen due to weather and other factors, but it’s important to have a completion date in mind. Remember, you can always adjust it if necessary.
Map out the significant achievements — the milestones — that will mark major steps in progress toward your goal. For your park, these might include preparing the ground, installing amenities, and completing landscaping.
Build a Deliverables List
Break down each milestone into specific tasks. For example, the milestone “Install Playground,” will include tasks such as applying for permits, selecting a builder, choosing a model, choosing the safety surfacing, scheduling installation, and other tasks. Be as specific and thorough as you can.
Build a Timeline
Now gather your list of tasks (you’ll have a lot of them) and build a timeline, keeping in mind that some milestones must be completed before work on others can begin. For example, you can’t build structures before the ground has been prepared, so build that dependency into your plan. Also, remember that contractors are not always available at the exact moment we need them, so consult your contractors to confirm their availability at the point in your timeline when their services are needed.
Get Started and Track Your Progress
Ready … set … GO! It’s time to start tackling those first deliverables as they appear on your timeline. Remember to always track your progress so that on any given day, you can tell exactly how far you are from achieving your goal. If delays happen (and they probably will), adjust your plan accordingly.
Once your park is complete, remember to celebrate your success! Even small parks are big achievements, so remember to reward your team, and schedule a grand-opening event to welcome residents to their brand-new space. Include fun elements like food, face painting, live entertainment, games for the kids, and more. Put up streamers, balloons, and other eye-catching visuals to serve as an invitation for everyone to come join in the fun.
Good luck, and happy planning!
In our previous blog post, we kicked off our series “How to Plan a Neighborhood Park Your Community Will Love” by reviewing the basic principles of park design and sharing some tips on choosing the amenities for your outdoor space.
Of course, a vital part of the planning process is collaboration with the people who will be using and living alongside the space day after day: your residents. Here are a few strategies for building — and keeping — support among your residents all the way through to completion.
To ensure support for your park, it’s important to involve residents as early in the process as possible. Remember that your initiative will impact everyone in the neighborhood — not just those who will use the space once it’s complete. Some of your residents, for example, might be concerned about how the addition will affect issues such as drainage, parking, and security. Be sure to address both benefits and possible challenges as you introduce the idea to your community.
Vary Your Approach
For soliciting resident input, remember that people have different preferences when it comes to how they express their opinions. Some prefer live “town hall”-type events, while others prefer the privacy of surveys. Make sure to incorporate at least two of the following methods in soliciting the opinions of the people in your community:
- Open meetings
- Focus groups
- Paper surveys
- Online surveys
- Phone surveys
Keep Them Posted
Keep your residents continuously updated on the progress of your neighborhood park project. You may want to start a Facebook page where you post regular updates on developments, delays, and your projected opening date. Encourage residents to follow the page so that they’re always in the loop.
In Part III of our series, we’ll talk about how to get your neighborhood park project buttoned up and ready to roll. Stay tuned!