Choosing Commercial Play Equipment

Activity based playgrounds encourage youngsters to play, to exercise and to use their imagination and social skills.  It’s a fun and important part of growing up, a place to learn to share, to use creative thought and develop motor skills.  It can help improve hand to eye coordination and encourage interpersonal communication and a love of physical activity, moving children away from phones, TV and computers.

A well designed contained play structure or playground has to be able to withstand the daily wear and tear of energy filled children chasing each other through the structure and often in the tough environment of the great Australian outdoors.  Not only that, it has to have enough play value to keep children busy, with enough climbing and sliding activities to challenge even the most adventurous child. 

Play value is what you are really looking for in a playground.  That doesn’t mean it has to be the most expensive playground, far from it.  When looking to build a playground or contained play structure, you need to ask -  how many children can the structure/playground accommodate, how many towers, climbers, slides and other play activities are there to keep a child busy and happy? Does the playground cater for less abled children?  If you have the space for it, is there a separate toddler area to keep the smaller children happy and away from the boisterous older children?  Where space is limited, is there enough toddler activity integrated into the structure?

Materials

The least expensive playground material is a wood.  Unfortunately, whilst it can look beautiful,  this is likely to be the most expensive long term as wood naturally changes over time, rots, warps, splinters and can be infested and eaten away by termites, ants and other insects and can require considerable maintenance.  It also lends itself easily more easily to vandalism and fire. Plastics are great for playgrounds, but always insist on Australian made, so you know where the materials are from, that they are safe, tested and proven for the environment. It may cost a little more, but it will more than cover for this long term with improved performance, safety and longevity. Metal structures are also a good choice for playgrounds, but can rust over time, especially in coastal environments, and will need coating to protect from the environment.  Aluminium and stainless steel are better options, and in marine environments, marine grade stainless steel or galvanized steel playgrounds would give a longer lifespan.

Maintenance

Look for low maintenance play equipment.  No playground is maintenance free, but there are plenty of low maintenance play structures available. Look for easy access to pressure wash/gurney the structure, open gaps at the base of panels to allow litter/dirt to be washed away and prevent build up, and easy clean plastics.  Avoid yellow and orange at slide exits if you can, as these easily show up scuff marks and can detract from the overall look of the equipment.

Backup Service

Always check that your chosen playground supplier has an excellent reputation for customer support and back up.  There’s nothing worse than something going wrong, which can happen from time to time, even with the best equipment, and having the manufacturer blame it on something you have or haven’t done, as an excuse to get out of looking after you and replacing their faulty product.  Ask for examples of previous installations and contacts you can call for feedback.

Made in Australia?

Some play equipment manufacturers claim their product is Australian made, but fail to advise that the materials are not, and the materials may not be safe or suitable for the purpose and location, and they may even be toxic in some instances. Further, some manufacturers claim their product is Australian made, when it is in fact imported and simply assembled in Australia.  Just because it is claimed to be Australian made, does not make it so.  Ask for confirmation in writing, that way you have backup if anything goes wrong.  Some imported equipment is perfectly fine, looks great and can perform well in the right environment, but it takes time to find this out and you don’t want to make a mistake and choose the wrong supplier or product.   

Investment

A well thought out playground, packed with activities, will keep children playing happily for hours.  In a restaurant, pub, club, gym, and in many other venues, this will lead to increased patronage and increased customer retention.  Happy children = happy parents who can spend more time in the venue, and relax and enjoy themselves knowing their children are happily playing and burning off some excess energy at the same time.  If the playground has been designed well, children, and therefore parents, will want to come back time and again. A well designed, appropriately sized playground will pay for itself many times over.  Again, it doesn’t need to be the most expensive, but it does have to be well thought out and designed to suit the venue and number of children you anticipate will use it, whilst also allowing for future growth.   

Playground Sales Agent

If you are looking for a playground for your venue, want the best possible options, want a fair price and want to have peace of mind that the company you purchase from has a great reputation and excellent back up and after sales service, but don’t have the time to do the research - this is where a playground agent comes in.  We do our homework, check out the suppliers, both Australian and internationally if preferred, find the best equipment and the best prices, negotiate discounts on your behalf and liaise with the manufacturers to get you the best deal possible, and it costs you nothing.  The cost of the agent fee is borne by the manufacturer, so you have a great playground at a better price than you could negotiate direct and all whilst avoiding the pitfalls.