How to choose outdoor nursery equipment

About 150,000 students attend nurseries in the UK each year. Many more also attend private nurseries at least part of the time before starting formal preschool. During their time in nursery, children will begin to become aware of basic academic concepts, receive support in basic language skills and be encouraged to build social skills as they grow and develop.

“Kids can’t jump off the walls if we remove the walls.” – Erin Kenny

Nurseries will encourage children to enjoy time indoors, as well as facilitate time outdoors. Time outside is so important for young students who are shown to have increased well-being after spending time in nature. Toddlers and preschoolers can also experience increased self-confidence, ability to concentrate and stress reduction from having time outside.

“Nature is a tool to get children to experience not just the wider world, but themselves.” -Stephen Moss

Amazingly, despite the fact that all of these benefits are already present, there is one way to improve the time that preschoolers spend outside even more, and that is with outdoor equipment.

The right outdoor equipment can help children get even more educational, physical and emotional benefit from their time in nature. Of course, the difficult part is choosing the right equipment. There are so many great options, it can be hard to know which equipment makes the most sense for your outdoor space. However, with the following tips, you will have a much better idea of ​​how to choose the best one outdoor nursery equipment for your needs:

The available space

It is important to consider the space available for the new equipment. It can be a main piece of equipment, like a mud kitchen, that makes sense for your nursery. It may be that there is room for several things to help cater for different groups of children at once.

An early years playground equipment professional can discuss different options for the space available, including considerations such as recommended surface treatment and safety guidelines for space around equipment that involves climbing.

Ultimately, the design depends on your ideas, wants and needs, but the experience and knowledge of an established expert company will help you maximize your outdoor nursery space as much as possible.

Number of children

Some pieces of equipment can accommodate several children at a time, and if you have limited staff to supervise, it may be better to have one piece of equipment to accommodate the average playtime group, rather than lots of different equipment in different areas.

Of course, you can also have prohibited pieces of equipment across your outdoor area, perhaps with fencing to create different ‘zones’ and to help contain different activities with the layout.

Regardless, it’s worth knowing the maximum number of users per equipment so you can get an idea of ​​whether it will work for your nursery.

Various equipment options

There are so many different options for outdoor play equipment including (but not limited to):

  • Age-appropriate climbing frame
  • Play towers
  • Mud kitchens and other sensory play equipment
  • Planters for gardening
  • Activity panels in the playground
  • Bridges
  • Role play stations
  • Shelters
  • Dividers
  • Swing set
  • Benches and creative seating

Some preschools specifically want an item to encourage more physical activity, such as a climbing frame. Other nurseries want to encourage imaginative play, something young children enjoy and love to do, so mud kitchens and dress-up stations are a priority.

If you have an idea of ​​the kind of benefits you’re after, you can start grouping the types of equipment you’re planning and rule out certain categories that are presented to you.

Otherwise, if you are not looking for a specific equipment advantage, it is definitely worth having a variety of equipment types to cover many different types of play and activity, so that your children can benefit in as many ways as possible from your new playground pieces.

Budget

There is equipment to suit all budgets, and with nursery play equipment quality should always be prioritized over price. Of course, there are competitively priced companies that can undercut others, and there is nothing wrong with finding the best prices, but safety standards and durability must come first.

A trusted outdoor equipment company will offer the best prices for the highest quality items, as well as a quote on installation and potential surface treatment needs.

If you are unsure of the price in general and feel a little in the dark about how much playground equipment costs, it can be helpful to speak to an outdoor equipment company as they can provide a quote (or several different designs and quotes) which then can be used to apply for grant schemes, or to otherwise be used for fundraising efforts.

Special requirements

If you have special requirements because you are accommodating children with special needs, you will want to talk to the equipment company about the availability and suitability of the items available. Certain items, such as mud kitchens, are highly accessible, appealing to and accommodating children of a wide range of abilities.

Maintenance

The more equipment you have, the more maintenance is needed to ensure it remains as safe as possible for the children in your care. You can have professional safety and maintenance checks carried out at regular intervals by qualified professionals (for a fee), but every day you need to carry out basic checks to keep standards as high as possible. If time and staff are limited, it may be worth minimizing the amount of equipment you buy, or keeping it to one multi-purpose piece of equipment such as a climbing frame or play tower.

Aesthetically

Most high-quality play equipment is stylish and aesthetically pleasing in wood, making it suitable for a natural environment and suitable for any playground design. But there are bright, interesting colors that are usually integrated with different outdoor toys to add interest and entice children to engage and have fun with the item.

Your playground equipment company can also help with the overall design so that the playground flows well, makes sense visually, and so that any key pieces like towers are placed in a way that puts them in the seat without overwhelming the space.

“In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.” – John Muir

If you would love to have more help choosing the perfect outdoor nursery equipment for the children in your care, talk to the professionals today. They will be able to gain an understanding of your needs and offer you a range of products, installation options and quotes to help you move forward with your plans.

Hopefully, whether you invest in a messy, fun mud kitchen or an exciting adventure play tower, students will soon be able to get even more out of their time outside in your nursery, day after day, year after year.

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