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Defining the New Normal of Play

September 1, 2020 jill Blog
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As churches begin to open back up, we can help kids resume a healthier level of physical activity and enjoy playing in public facilities once again.

With the right equipment and safety measures in place, you can create a play area that helps kids enjoy a sense of normalcy again, provides a place for families to get outside of their house, and helps you get back to business.

So, what does COVID playground design look like? Explore some steps you can take to design your playground in a way that promotes healthy play:

  1. CREATE OUTDOOR PLAY SPACES

If you have space outside to install a playground, you may want to consider choosing this area. Ideally, it would be great to include play equipment both inside and outside, but during this time, it may be a better idea to promote your outdoor play areas since some families will feel safer letting their kids play outdoors. For outdoor playgrounds, make sure you choose equipment that is graded for outside use and will hold up to the elements.

Another option to consider is an adventure playground – including ropes courses and challenge courses. These types of activities help children get outside and are easier to adapt for social distancing measures.

  1. STRATEGICALLY POSITION INDOOR PLAY AREAS

For indoor recreational areas, you should choose a spot inside your church that affords plenty of surrounding clearance. Select equipment that can be easily cleaned and also customizable to give plenty of space for social distancing.

While you provide adequate distance, you should also ensure there are good sightlines from play areas to wherever caregivers may be seated. You may even want to install a bench or some other type of seating close to the play space.

  1. PROMOTE SOCIAL DISTANCING WITH LAYOUT

Social or physical distancing can help kids limit their exposure to illnesses that other people from outside their household could be carrying. In a very small play area, it may be unrealistic for kids to stay 6 feet or more apart. By designing a larger, more spread-out playground, you can make it possible for everyone to physically distance themselves. This layout can even encourage them to do so unconsciously.

To do this, create a design that positions different pieces of play equipment at least 6 feet apart. The result will be a larger area with plenty of room for kids to play without coming into close contact. Another option is to create two or more small recreational areas in different places of your facility so adolescents can go play in the other location if one is already occupied.

  1. CHOOSE EASY-TO-CLEAN EQUIPMENT

Because your staff will have to clean the play equipment frequently to keep it sanitary, you will do yourself a major favor by choosing easy-to-clean equipment. All play equipment can be cleaned to some degree, but you should look for providers who specifically state their offerings are specially designed for easy cleaning.

This is important now in light of COVID-19, but it will continue being essential after the threat passes. Easy-to-clean equipment will always be beneficial since cleaning playgrounds regularly is always best practice.

This article is courtesy of Soft Play, a global leader of contained playground equipment that leverages a strong backing and manufacturing expertise to develop innovative products and safe designs, www.softplay.com.

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