Outdoor playground towers are a great idea for commercial and residential playground areas, but how do you choose the right piece of equipment?
Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. We’ve taken a look at everything outdoor playground tower related, from the benefits, to the essential buying considerations and more.
Read on to find out all about outdoor playground towers and what to consider when you’re looking at buying one:
What Is An Outdoor Playground Tower?
An outdoor playground tower is a giant bundle of activity and play potential mashed together into one bright and exciting construction. It’s the kind of item you will have seen before in playgrounds, comprising of multiple play and activity areas such as:
- Climbing walls
- Peek-hole walls
- Climbing ramps/ steps
- Chalk boards
- Climbing nets/ net tunnels/ net walls
- Crawl tunnels/ tubes
A climbing tower will usually include at least some of the above elements combined.
Climbing towers can also come in multiple different sizes, from compact units for smaller playgrounds, to more elaborate constructions that can accommodate multiple children at a time.
Climbing towers can also come in themes like playground fortresses, which can add an element of inspiration to the play feature which encourages children to create games and to act out their imagination.
The Benefits Of Outdoor Playground Towers
Outdoor play towers offer a multitude of benefits for both those who own the land on which the towers are placed, and those who use the towers.
Whether you have a large garden, a school or a commercial premises with a playground, you have the benefit of providing a fun, useful feature within your outdoor space.
Children will be naturally attracted to the outdoor area and they will want to utilise the equipment you provide, ultimately keeping them entertained. This can be useful with residential land, helping to boost the usability of large outdoor spaces for families.
For commercial properties and enterprises the towers will provide an extra reason for families to visit your premises, and perhaps provide something for children to do whilst parents can sit elsewhere and relax. Attracting families to your premises is also beneficial for any aspects of your business that rely on sales, such as a cafe or shop.
For educational facilities, physical activity, play and learning is encouraged by the very presence of a tower in a playground, which is highly beneficial for pupils overall.
For children, the benefits of playground towers on the whole are far-reaching and include:
- Encouraging children to get their 60 minutes of recommended physical activity a day
- Encouraging learning through play
- Boosting social awareness
- Helping to develop cognitive abilities
- Helping to develop coordination and motor skills
- Improved instincts
- Boost in immunity through being outdoors
- Reduced risk of obesity & associated diseases
- Encouraging imaginative play
The Difference Between Residential & Commercial Towers
Residential towers are a great choice for families who have a child, or multiple children. They can be much smaller than commercial towers, but if you have a large backyard and the right budget, there’s no reason you can’t have larger structures in your garden.
With commercial towers, they tend to be bigger and more suited to school playgrounds, commercial playgrounds, and public council supplied play areas. They may also be built to meet certain safety standards. For example; the UK British and European standard for playground surfacing and equipment is BS EN 1176 which is not a legal requirement, but is something that will show good practice on your part if an accident occurs and a claim is made.
How To Choose A Playground Tower
To help you choose the right playground tower here are the most important aspects of the product and how they might differ depending on your needs:
It may seem obvious but space is such an important aspect of a playground tower. The structure should have enough space around it that it ensures the children can access all areas of it comfortably.
Ideally, if it is on bark or a rubber playground surface there will be a few metres clearance of this surface around the tower for soft landings. Don’t forget that the space you’re installing the product into needs to also include room around all protruding exits, like slides, which should not be placed too closely to other playground apparatus in case of collision.
Lastly, don’t forget how far the item goes up. Check the height meets your safety standards and that when children are on/ in the top of the tower areas they are not inadvertently intruding on the privacy of homes/ businesses nearby.
Freestanding Or Installed?
Some playground towers are freestanding, but usually they are residential types or types made for younger children.
Of course, there are exceptions to the rule and it depends on what the construction is made of and how it is designed.
Generally, most playground towers of any kind have been made to remain stable even with robust use, but responsible playground tower companies will always recommend surfacing for towers that require it, for safety reasons alone.
As a general rule it is always worth checking in regards to safety. Installation will be at an additional cost in both time, disruption and money but for the most important reasons, so do avoid any playground tower company skimping on that stage of installation.
How Many Children Are You Accommodating?
If the item is only for two children you can opt for the smaller models because they won’t be competing for space on the tower itself.
If, however, the playground tower is for multiple children to use at a time, it needs to be strong and large enough to deal with that kind of use.
It is also important to think about the age group of the children using the tower. You can get early years towers that are designed to have a lower fall height and a smaller surface area. Older children will be able to use taller towers that are more elaborate and designed with their safety and age-appropriate playing styles in mind.
If you want a more whimsical playground aesthetic a themed tower could be a good idea. It adds an extra element of personality and play type to the outdoor space, which can only ever be a good thing.
Generally though, most towers are of a plain base (usually made from wood) with splashes of colour in the roof, slides or climbing wall. This means that they will work with any playground theme, remaining timeless and attractive in their aesthetic regardless of any other changes to the area and apparatus around them.
A trusted playground tower company will only offer robust, durable equipment that can withstand lots of weather types and use before it needs to be replaced. They understand that these items are a huge investment for both residential and commercial ventures.
Educational facilities in particular have tight budgets and so for them, there needs to be a lot of value to what is purchased. They need to know that the item will last until the next round of funding they get, which could be many years from now.
As we mentioned above, the best companies will show compliance by creating products that fit into the latest laws and guidance in relation to playground equipment.
A good sign they do prioritise safety is when they are open and honest about the safety aspects of their products, and they are more than willing to answer any questions you may have without hesitation.
This is not an aspect of playground equipment to skimp on, so if you’re questioning whether or not the company does have safety in mind, move on.
“Every happy memory created for a child is another treasure of a lifetime.” – Donna Mane
Buying such a large piece of playground apparatus like a tower can be challenging. However, being informed is so important because this kind of equipment is so impactful on the children that use it, and the space that it is installed in.
Hopefully, with all the information above and your own research, you’ll choose the perfect outdoor playground tower for your outdoor space, for many safe, fun times ahead for the children who get to use it.