Important factors to improving playground safety includes; separate areas with age-appropriate equipment for ages 6-23 months, 2-5 years and 5-12 years of age.
All playground equipment should have a shock absorbing safety surfacing material under and around the equipment. Playgrounds should have areas of shade for children to escape the sun’s harmful rays. Very young children should always be supervised.
About Early Childhood Development and Play
There are three simultaneous development stages that a playground should provide for children the opportunity to develop:
Physical growth and development
Outdoor play equipment can facilitate physical development by offering children with places to move and explore. Appropriate play activities to promote physical growth and development should include places to crawl, stand, and walk; steps, low platforms with multiple access such as ramps and ladders; ramps with pieces attached for grasping; low tables for sand, water and manipulation of materials; tricycle paths with various textures around it; flexible spring rockers; sand and water areas with covers; slides, climbers on angles or horizontal bars and swings are some examples.
Cognitive growth and development
While kids are swinging, running through or climbing on it cognitive development is taking place, certain types of playground equipment enable children’s cognitive learning. According to research, swings; decorative barriers, activity panels, certain climbing equipment, like hanging rings and horizontal bars along with other items found on a well designed playground, helps children learn concepts such as force of gravity and spatial awareness.
Social-emotional growth and development
Part of the appeal of playgrounds and playground equipment is that children get to be around one another. Group interaction and social development take place on playground equipment in a number of ways: Children learn how to take turns and exercise self-control. Conversations with peers occur on platforms, bridges and ramps of playground structures.