Run, Jump and Slide Into This Buying Guide
Outdoor play is an important part of childhood which can easily be overlooked. By encouraging your child to regularly play outdoors you can watch as their imagination and confidence grows along with their strength, agility and co-ordination.
When buying a play centre consider your child’s age, size and capabilities but plan for their requirements over the next few years as they continue to grow and develop. Assess how much space you have available and what type of play set will fit in with the ‘look’ of your garden.
Where should I place my play centre?
When planning where to place your play centre measure the area carefully. Make sure you check the dimensions of the product to ensure it will fit in your garden. Allow a 2m safety perimeter which is free from obstructions to give enough room for your children to play comfortably.
Your play centre should be positioned on a flat, grass area and never on hard surfaces. You may want to put down a ground cover, or use a Plum® Protektamat® on high-contact areas, to prevent muddy patches developing as well as providing additional protection from any accidental falls.
Play centres need to be anchored and concreted for extra stability, so make sure you have chosen the perfect spot - you won't want to have to move it too often!
Which play centre do I choose?
There's a wide variety of play centres available to suit age and ability as well as size and budget. In the main they will either be made from Wood or Metal:
Wooden Play Centre
• The natural qualities of a wooden play centre will blend easily into any garden, modern or traditional.
• Check for an FSC logo before buying your wooden play set, as this means the timber is sourced from sustainably managed forests.
• As wood is a natural, organic material it reacts to variations in humidity and temperature which results in splits and cracks. These can appear deep, especially in round timber. However these cracks and splits will not affect the integrity, strength and safety of your product.
• Wood will weather over time but with a little regular care and attention its look can easily be maintained.
Metal Play Centre
• Metal play centres are finished in bright weather resistant paints offering a splash of fun and colour to your garden.
• Lighter and easier to construct than wood. They should be checked regularly checked for any signs of corrosion but maintenance required is minimal.
• Look out for the type of metal being used; mild steel is readily available but you may want choose a galvanised set which offers longer lasting protection against corrosion.
Your children will have hours of fun and exercise no matter how large or small the play set but compare and contrast the number of features to make sure you get the optimum amount of activities for your budget.
How should I maintain my play centre?
Regularly care of your play set will ensure it lasts for years.
Keep it clean by using a soft brush to brush down your wood play sets. Wipe metal fixtures with a dry cloth. Any swing seats and slides can be cleaned with kitchen wipes or a damp cloth with light detergent. If any fabrics feature on your play centre, using a soft brush or a damp cloth in a gentle sweeping action will remove any dirt.
It is recommended that you remove any material on your play centre during the winter months and apply a treatment to your wooden climbing frame at the end of each season. You should use water based products which can be easily bought from your local DIY store.