“Kids don’t play outside enough!” – wise parents and grandparents.
You’ve probably seen excellent examples of outdoor play equipment before, but do you know about its benefits to children? Here we discuss what outdoor play equipment really is and how it can enhance childhood development.
We’ll even tell you how to get the best bespoke outdoor play equipment in the UK!
What Is Outdoor Play Equipment?
Outdoor play equipment is play equipment for children which has been designed to remain outdoors. The equipment is manufactured with materials made to last outside in different weather conditions and can be easily maintained and cleaned. For example, lots of outdoor play equipment is made of durable wood, strong ropes and hard plastic to withstand the elements all year round.
You can usually find outdoor play equipment at nurseries, schools and commercial venues where children can meet other children and play together.
Who Uses Outdoor Play Equipment?
Different age groups can enjoy outdoor play equipment. There are designs and equipment suitable for early years children and more prominent structures that older children can enjoy. Some children may need to be supervised when using climbing equipment or adventure courses.
Recently, more adults are enjoying outdoor climbing and adventure courses. Thanks to the growth in sports like Parkour and TV programmes like Ninja Warrior UK, many adults are seeking out local adventure parks for the big kids too!
What Are Some Examples of Outdoor Play Equipment?
There are so many different designs for outdoor play equipment.
There are early years outdoor equipment that comprises of small-scale obstacles with one or two tasks, or sandpits filled with tactile play items.
Slightly older children enjoy play frames, climbing frames and adventure trails. These courses usually include multiple tasks and challenges, including rope bridges, slides and obstacles that require good balance and coordination.
Take a look at one of our popular adventure trail outdoor courses to get a good idea of what is included!
Is Outdoor Play Equipment Safe?
Outdoor play equipment is safe when used with the appropriate age group. For example, it might not be safe to let a smaller or younger child attempt the challenges of an adventure trail made for teenagers.
Nevertheless, outdoor play equipment and obstacles have been designed to provide a challenge without creating significant risk. Supervision will still be required to some degree, but the benefits of outdoor play equipment excel any risks.
So, What Are the Benefits of Outdoor Play Equipment?
Outdoor play equipment benefits children by making them more active and improving their overall health.
By using this equipment, children benefit from:
- Improved coordination and motor skills
- Increased muscle strength
- Increased cardiovascular endurance
In fact, outdoor play equipment is one of the first experiences for children to engage multiple muscle groups at the same time, also known as compound movements. These compound movements develop their strength and endurance in ways that other forms of exercise do not.
This is even more important in a modern world where children are increasingly sitting in front of devices and screens for long periods.
How Can Outdoor Play Equipment Improve Childhood Learning?
The benefits of outdoor play equipment are not limited to health and physical wellbeing. These play products are also able to improve childhood cognitive development and learning.
When a child plays on an adventure course or sits in a sandpit with other children, they:
- Improve self-awareness
- Improve spatial awareness
- Communicate and learn how to interact with other children and adults
- Develop problem-solving skills (such as how to overcome an obstacle)
- Enhance independent thinking
- Learn more about nature and the outdoors
How Much Does Outdoor Play Equipment Cost?
Because outdoor play equipment comes in so many different designs and shapes (quite literally!), the cost of this equipment differs significantly. You can find smaller individual play items for a couple of hundred pounds and smaller adventure trails for £1,000 to £3,000.
If you want a larger adventure trail with lots of different challenges, obstacles and ropes to navigate, these are priced from £10,000 to £20,000+. It can be cheaper to buy a larger frame with lots of challenges than to build up with individual pieces.
Although the best outdoor play equipment isn’t exactly cheap, commercial play venues can still be extremely profitable due to their long-lasting materials and low-maintenance.
Can I Buy Bespoke Outdoor Play Equipment?
Yes, you can buy bespoke outdoor play equipment for children of all ages and adults. To get bespoke designs that fit with your outdoor spaces, you will need to shop directly with companies that manufacture their own outdoor play equipment rather than with those that simply stock it.
House of Play is a manufacturer and seller of bespoke outdoor equipment for children. You can browse our outdoor play equipment range or get in touch to discuss your specific needs.
Commercial venues, schools and individuals are welcome to contact us today!