Archive for September, 2009

Improve any Pool with a Water Slide… another Great Service from Miracle Playsystems!

September 29, 2009

With the winter season approaching, the crowds will begin searching for warmer indoor settings and stray from those outdoor sites.  Indoors, however, doesn’t necessarily have to equate to dry.  In fact, indoor pools become quite popular during the winter seasons as they are great places for exercise as well as entertainment.  And pools don’t have to fit that boring lap-swim build either—they can be as fun as a playground.  All it takes is a water slide or two… or a water slide complex, and BAM!  Your indoor pool has transformed from a to and fro yawn to a bustling water-fun arena.

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From Miracle Recreation Company, many water slide complexes are available.  These are all different varieties, from ones with multi-tiered decks with different sized slides to mega-tower behemoths that have up to four slides side by side.  The slides come in many different sizes and shapes so they can fit any almost any design concept.  Whether the plan is four chutes or two chutes or a yellow tube or a blue tube, Miracle has the slide package to suffice.

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These slides are usually made for the five to twelve year old range or the two to twelve year old range.  Kids really like having the choice to swim or play pool basketball or take a ride on the water slide, so having different options available at your indoor pool is a great idea.  Slides will encourage kids to visit the first time and then come back again and again.  Make your pool–indoor or outdoor–a water-fun arena today by making the choice to have some slides installed; they will add entertainment and to your site and make it more memorable than ever.

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Playground Spotlight Feature: the Cyclone, from HAGS

September 27, 2009
The Cylone swings back and forth while spinning around like a furious storm.

The Cylone swings back and forth while spinning around like a furious storm. Copyright HAGS Aneby AB

The Cyclone is a free-standing stand-out.  With the ability to load kids on and swing like a pendulum while twisting around, this playground feature brings a truly original experience to the table.  Not only will it captivate those who ride it, it will also leave a striking image lingering in the memory banks of onlookers.  HAGS has combined modern day technology with a contemporary idea to form something very special with this feature because it swings back and forth and spins around on its own axis!

With a wheel for handle, the Cyclone allows those who hang on to control it rather easily.  “Both movement and speed can be controlled with wheel,” so visitors can feel the full fury of a storm with the option of restraining its power if the experience gets a little too real.  Rated for people between the ages of five and eighty, most everyone besides small children can enjoy this cutting-edge playground contraption.

HAGS has shown that it can turn fresh concepts into real inventions that become the standard of the playground world.  The Cyclone is one of these inventions, and can be implemented at any site, especially at one using the HAGS Agito line, of which the Cyclone is a member.  Take this feature to your site and turn the space into a destination that all visitors to it will remember.

The Innovative HAGS Play Circle takes the Functionality of the Benefits of Play to New Heights

September 24, 2009

The benefits of play, which include increased levels in social abilities, physical fitness, and self-esteem, are certainly well documented.  Expanding on the functional knowledge of these benefits in terms of playground equipment is the HAGS brand.  Through their new Play Circle device, one can better understand “which type of knowledge can be obtained in the different areas of play, and the impact it has on the child’s development.”  With this helpful innovation, a person designing or purchasing a playground will be able to see how various playground features play different roles in promoting the well-being of children through play.

HAGS

Copyright HAGS Aneby AB

The documented skill sets by HAGS’s Play Circle include developments in these areas: personal, existential, social, intuition, mathematical, musical, visual, physical, linguistic, and environmental.  These areas are tagged with identifiable symbols that differentiate which pieces promote different skill sets.  The symbols help a designer target improving specific areas in children—such as self-esteem, thinking abilities, speaking abilities, physical and mental senses, fitness level, spatial awareness, or social interaction—that may be the requirement of clients.  The designer can also make a client aware of this credible tool.

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Copyright HAGS Aneby AB

Designers can use the benefits of play to their own and to their client’s advantage, but the biggest winner is the children.  By combining a variety of features that will target different areas important in a child’s development, kids will have fun and gain the skills they deservingly need.  It is also true that the variety of pieces it takes to promote the benefits of play in a well-rounded fashion will also most likely combine to form a complete, distinguishable, and creative playscape design.  Be sure to use this tool, from HAGS, and keep the benefits of play in mind during all playground projects.

Duel-Use Sites offer Advantages to both Adults and Children!

September 22, 2009

Children are not the only ones who can gain from the benefits of play.  There is a variety of outdoor fitness equipment available from Miracle Recreation Equipment Company that can be built next to a playground so that while the kids are at play, adults can get in a workout.  By constructing sites that have duel uses, getting outside is easier than ever.  Why go to the gym when you could be outside, engaging in activity or exercise, while your child does the same, right next to you…

The Adult Course Horizontal Ladder.

The Adult Course Horizontal Ladder.

Everything from dip stations and balance beams to push up bars and vertical climbs are ready to go, from the Outdoor Fitness line.  In fact, there are so many apparatuses to choose from, a whole obstacle course could be put in.  So after work or picking up the kids from school you may not think there is time to do everything—including taking the kids to park to play and making time to stay in shape, all before dinner.  However, if your community had a space that both adults and kids could make use of, everyone could get in a little activity before getting too hungry.  The point is, everyone wins when parks provide activities for all ages.

The Adult Fintess Course Balance Beam.

The Adult Fintess Course Balance Beam.

Of course, safety is the next thing that comes to mind.  Communities will need to determine the level of safety required and what rules will best work for them.  Examples may include: only adults who have children at play can work out on the Outdoor Fitness equipment; and adults must make sure their child is still supervised while working out (this would be easy with a workout buddy).  Overall, the benefits of duel sites far outweigh the risks when the appropriate measures have been taken.  By placing adult Outdoor Fitness next to a playground, family outings are encouraged and time spent outside is a bit more convenient.

The Adult Fitness Course Vertical Climb.

The Adult Fitness Course Vertical Climb.

Playground Spotlight Feature: the Hang-A-Round

September 20, 2009
The Hang-A-Round can fit almost anywhere to provide a unique playground experience.

The Hang-A-Round can fit almost anywhere to provide a unique playground experience.

The Hang-A-Round is an ideal feature in many ways.  Because this feature is both free standing and small in overall size, it can be placed pretty much anywhere, on any site.  This overhead challenge is formed like an upside down J with a wheel shaped grip at the end of it.  All a kid has to do is grab hold and then through their own momentum or through the assistance of others, he or she can spin around and around.

Although this feature only allows one child to participate at a time, its accessibility level is actually high.  This is because a child can only hang on for so long and then has to give up the turn to rest—allowing the next kid to give it a spin.  Kids could even take turns to see who can spin the longest.  Providing a unique experience, while permitting many to use it in a given time frame, the Hang-A-Round is worth having around.

Because of its simple structure, the Hang-A-Round can fit into almost any playground theme with as little work as a color change.  Plus, only needing about five square feet to fit, it can be added to a playground of any size to give that site an extra edge in the original experience it imparts onto visitors.  Give the Hang-A-Round a chance; it is one feature that’s nature is way more fun than its size might convey.

Increase the Effectiveness of a Site through its Layout

September 17, 2009

Beyond the features and the theme of a playground, the site layout will shape how visitors experience that site.  For this reason, it is important to consider many different aspects—such as the size of the surrounding population and the predominant age group who will utilize the space—when determining the placement of the playscape parts.  Catering to these factors will help increase accessibility, decrease congestion, promote safety, and boost the overall effectiveness of the site.

A Spread Out Layout will Cater to a Large Population.

A Spread Out Layout will Cater to a Large Population.

If the area around the site is heavily populated, a spread out layout might be the best option.  In doing this, a designer will allow children to move about in the open space between features more in order to reduce collisions, to allow time for features to become less crowded, and to provide much needed breathing room.  This act increases the safety of a playground and increases the effectiveness of it by decreasing the time kids have to wait around to ride on equipment like slides, glide lines, and overhead challenges. 

A Condensed Layout brings Visitors Closer Together.

A Condensed Layout brings Visitors Closer Together.

If the surrounding area’s population is rather sparse, then perhaps it is a good idea to condense the features of the site to bring the visitors closer together.  Kids usually like to play together, so having the features closer together will keep them in one area.  Also, if a large population won’t be using the site, the placement does not have to prevent over crowding, in which case having a more condensed layout will decrease the amount of time it takes to get from one feature to another, thus improving the effectiveness of a site.

For Younger Visitors, a Smaller Structure is better.

For Younger Visitors, a Smaller Structure is better.

The age group that will use the site plays a great role in the layout as well.  For instance, if the children at the playground will most likely be five and under, the features will not only need to be lower to the ground, they will also have to be closer together so that parents can keep a closer eye on those younger children.  If the children will be older, there is still a need for supervision, but more leeway can be given so the placement of the parts can be more spread out.  By taking the surrounding population into account during the design stage of a playground, that site’s effectiveness can be greatly improved.  

For Older Visitors, a site might be better having the features spread out more.

For Older Visitors, a site might be better having the features spread out more.

Innovative Structures to Keep Playground and Park Visitors Dry

September 15, 2009

Fall is approaching, meaning those hot temperatures will begin taking a break. Unfortunately, with the falling of the leaves also comes the rain. In order to allow people to continue to use a park or playground, having an overhang or a solid shade structure is almost required—unless those people don’t mind getting a little wet. Sun Port shade structures offers lots of solid cover options, as does Litchfield Shelters. Between the two of these companies, a designer can find gazebos, kiosks, shelters, pergolas, cabanas, cantilevers, tension and single post structures, and much, much more.

Part of the Life Guard Series from Sun Ports, these covers will keep someone underneath them cool or dry.

Part of the Life Guard Series from Sun Ports, these covers will keep someone underneath them cool or dry.

Sun Port shade structures offers prime shade structures that have the capability to keep patrons dry as well. These come in all shapes—from hexagons to pyramids to slant hips—and colors—pretty much everything under the sun. Also, these structures come in a large variety of sizes that range from life guard post covers to super span structures that can easily cover an entire playground. Accessories available for Sun Port include light fixtures, flame retardant fabrics, logo prints, and logo graphics. Sun Port has a solution for almost any problem and a shade structure for any site.

A Super Span Structure Covering a Playground from Sup Port Shade Structures.

A Super Span Structure Covering a Playground from Sup Port Shade Structures.

Litchfield Shelters offer products that can be seen as more substantial. Whereas the coverings from Sun Port are predominantly fabric, the materials used in the Litchfield Shelter line include wood and steel, but also include fabric. Creations from this company can be custom designed easily to fit the theme and setting of any site, whether those needs include rock base supports, waved beam supports, or even a rustic touch. These shelters are ideal to be put in during the construction stages of a site, but can be built any time. Whether it’s a Litchfield Shelter or a Sun Port, adding cover to a site keeps the sun at bay in the summer and the rain away in the fall.

This substantial steel gazebo from Litchfield Shelter is ideal for keeping the rain out.

This substantial steel gazebo from Litchfield Shelter is ideal for keeping the rain out.

An Exciting Feature Spotlight: the Clear Rock Wall

September 13, 2009
When Innovation meets Creativity, Playground Features like the Clear Rock Wall come about.

When Innovation meets Creativity, Playground Features like the Clear Rock Wall come about.

One of the most innovative playground features today is the Clear Rock Wall from Fusion/Xccent Play!  This imaginative creation is truly cutting edge, in both the concept and the materials used.  Kids can climb on both sides of the see-through wall, allowing them to race each other to the top or just goof off in a new, fun way.  The construction is “virtually indestructible,” durable, and highly functional, so not only does it add a visually stunning image to a site, it adds value.

The clear rock wall is seen as a uniquely accessible climber, in that most climbers can only be used from one side.  Further more, because of its versatile structural nature, this feature can be implemented as a free standing piece or can be connected to other Fusion/Xccent equipment.  Also, because of its clear form, this rock wall contributes to the visibility and safety of a playground.

Contributing to the value and aesthetic appeal of a site isn’t the only thing the Clear Rock Wall does.  This product also carries with it many benefits of play.  It: “creates a high level of social interaction between children,” and, “builds coordination, agility and balance skills,” and as most other playground products do, it lets kids be imaginative and creative in a relaxed environment.  The Clear Rock Wall is a great addition or centerpiece for any playground.

Designing Playscapes for the Appropriate Age-Group increases Safety and Enjoyment

September 10, 2009

When planning or designing a playground, in terms of safety, one of the most important factors to consider is which age group the playground will cater to most.  In playgrounds the most common age groups are the five to twelve year old range, the five and under range, and the toddler and under range.  Big kid equipment may not be well suited for children who can’t really reach all the features, plus the larger attractions may endanger those smaller individuals.   Age group determinations not only play a vital role in playground equipment selection, but also determine what site amenities will most likely need to be present—with regard to safety.  For instance, if the site focuses on meeting the demands of the five and under range, a short fence may be useful to prevent wandering off.

The Toddler's Choice line meets the needs of those little guys and gals.

The Toddler's Choice line meets the needs of those little guys and gals.

Playground equipment is specifically designed to match the needs of certain age groups.  From Miracle Recreation Company, a line named Toddler’s Choice best accommodates an age range of two to five.  This line has completed versions of playgrounds that can be used in indoor and outdoor settings.  Complete with climbers, slides, and mini-games, the set-ups from this line help prepare kindergarten and preschool age children for the next level of play—while of course instilling them with certain benefits of play.  Ideally, these would be located at “day-care centers, hospitals, and churches.”

Tot's Choice is perfect for the lower end of the five to twelve range.

Tot's Choice is perfect for the lower end of the five to twelve range.

Miracle Recreation Company also offers playscapes for that middle class of kids that ride the edge between big and small.  This line is called Tot’s Choice.  Equipment from Tot’s Choice is medium sized and the features available aren’t too advanced but are definitely a step up from those in Toddler’s Choice.  These complete sets have multi-shaped slides, more challenging climbers, ladders, and are set higher off the ground.  These are more commonly found in parks and on school yards and church grounds.

The attraction from Kid's Choice are bigger and more challenging.

The attractions from Kid's Choice are bigger and more challenging.

Catering to the five to twelve year old range is Kid’s Choice.  This highly functional, significantly developed line is set higher off the ground still and the complete models have fast slides, complex designs, exciting attractions, and challenging features.  Over-head climbers and rock walls, for the enjoyment of older kids, can be found on these sets.  Overall, what separates this line from the other two is the size and scope of equipment, which may be unfit for young children.  When it comes to equipment, catering to the appropriate age range satisfies safety standards and also to makes the experience more fun for kids.

A Playground Centerpiece Becomes the Focal Point and Unites the Theme

September 8, 2009
The Purple Dragon at the Magic Mountain Playground Pulls together the Design Theme.

The Purple Dragon at the Magic Mountain Playground Pulls together the Design Theme.

A cutting-edge playground’s centerpiece unites the overall theme and acts as the pinnacle of the concept.  This may be a pirate ship shaped play structure at a high-seas themed playground or a giant dragon at a dark-age themed site, such as the Magic Mountain playground.  By fusing the equipment at a playscape into a common focus, a designer enhances a visitor’s experience and makes the visit more memorable.  The main visual attraction at a site, the centerpiece, becomes a tangible outlet for a child’s imagination to build off of.

On the design side, a centerpiece can be seen as the focal point of a playground.  It attracts attention and draws onlookers in.  Also, because it is something specific and stands out, it is memorable to visitors so when they think of your site… they have a unique image that stands out and pops in their heads.  In today’s complex world, having a visual that registers easily even jumps out is particularly important.

Stunning images not only aid in attracting visitors, they are also crucial in the design bidding stage for the same reason of generating memorable aesthetic appeal.  Furthermore, having a focal point that unites the design’s theme shows a real continuity in the work and shows that it has been thought out to the last detail.  Not only this, but also that the design has the punch to make a playground a sought out destination in the community.

The Ship Structure at Dover Park Establishes a Memorable Image.

The Ship Structure at Dover Park Establishes a Memorable Image.