From the time the first playground was built in the United States 130 years ago, school playground equipment has been an essential part of childhood development. Swinging on swings, climbing jungle gyms and hanging on monkey bars conjure up happy memories of simpler times when hours were spent having fun on at the neighborhood playground.
Periods of regular play as a child are linked to the development of nearly 400 genes in the cerebral cortex. Playing on a playground, kids learn the importance of playing alone or with other kids, learning and experience different emotions as they play and develop social skills.
It’s important for health as well. To maintain a healthy weight, children should get at least 60 minutes of moderate exercise per day.
Playgrounds are plentiful in the United States—Chicago has more than 300 playgrounds at its public parks. However not all kids get the recommended amount of exercise. Seventy three percent of US school districts provide a recess period for elementary students, but only 43 percent of kids aged 6 to 11 get the recommended 60 minutes of exercise.
Playgrounds are a key piece of childhood development, but they can also bring communities together. Local fundraisers can be done to raise money for jungle gyms, slides, slings and other playground equipment. Community playgrounds are often the site of community events such as picnics and parties, making it as important as a town hall or a church in some communities.
Playgrounds and playground equipment are constantly evolving too as evidenced by these ideas for custom playgrounds of the future.
Schools looking for school playground equipment or communities looking for playground equipment have many options available when looking for money to build a playground and secure school playground equipment.
- Companies such as KaBoom build playgrounds in poverty-stricken areas and offer several grant opportunities to communities in need of playground equipment.
- Sites like KorKat offer a list of grants and fundraisers that are available for the purpose of procuring commercial playground equipment.
Playgrounds allow many opportunities for kids to develop mentally, physically and emotionally while having fun swinging and sliding and climbing. Playgrounds are ideal spots for community gatherings and can bring people together through fundraisers or perhaps by building a neighbor playground. There are also lots of sources available for playground funds and a helpful guide for planning a playground can be found here.