Home Playground Equipment for Your Outdoor Playground

by Marcus Pickett

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If you're like most people, of the things that matter to you, your family and your home are probably right at the top of your list. Thus, you're probably constantly looking for ways to improve your home environment. The best home improvement projects tend to double as family improvement projects, and installing an outdoor playground is a great way to accomplish both at the same time. From increasing your kid's activity and fitness level to scoring popularity points in your neighborhood—including helping your kids make new friends—outdoor playgrounds simply outshine spending your money on lawn manicures or a new plasma TV.

Home Playground Equipment
There are many different types of home playground equipment available for your backyard playground. As you might have guessed, the biggest factor in determining the best equipment for your kids is their relative size, age, and the number of children you have. If you have a 5 year-old and a 12 year-old, you're probably going to run into some unique challenges.

Swings: Besides their general popularity, swings are great for their flexibility. Different swing designs can allow for safe use amongst both younger and smaller children. Infant swings allow even the youngest of children to use the backyard playground with adult supervision. Plus, there's no reason you can't install different swings along the same support beam.

Slides and Tunnels: Slides and tunnels are fun and typically safe additions to your outdoor playground. Again, you'll probably want to tailor your slides and tunnels to your children's age to ensure your children will have fun and be safe.

Trampolines: Trampolines are a favorite of many families, but they require special care when using. It's never a good idea to use a trampoline by yourself; always have someone spotting you. Keep in mind, too, that cavalier teenagers are probably just as likely, if not more so, to misuse a trampoline.

Climbing Walls and Ladders: Obviously, these should follow strict safety guidelines, but safe design and use makes this equipment a great addition to your background playground. Climbing equipment will not only promote more active playtime it will help your child build their muscle mass and flexibility.

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Outdoor Playground Safety
Naturally, the proper equipment and design is critical to creating a safe playground for your children to roam, but one of the biggest and the most overlooked aspects of outdoor playground safety is the ground surface. Grass and dirt are poor impact absorption materials. Wood chips, sand, or mulch—especially a high quality rubber mulch—are excellent choices for protecting your children while they're playing outside.

Each material produces a critical height measurement that you should be aware of before building your outdoor playground. Critical height refers to the maximum fall height from which a life-threatening head injury would not be expected to occur. Besides the nature of the material, how deep the material is laid is also important in determining this critical height measurement. Although rubber mulch will be more expensive per inch, 6 inches of rubber mulch will probably create a similar critical height as 12 inches of other mulches or wood chips. Keep in mind, too, that critical height is far from absolute. If you see your child hanging precariously with his or her head facing the ground, you'll probably still want to give them a stern warning.

Marcus Pickett is a professional freelance writer for the home remodeling industry. He has published more than 600 articles on both regional and national topics within the home improvement industry.
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