A park and recreation center offers a community many health, economic and environmental benefits. Besides being a place where people can hang out and play, it’s also a vital part of the community. Designing your recreational space with a playground meets your community’s needs and makes a fun place for people of all ages and abilities.
Whether you’re creating a brand-new park and recreation center or updating an existing one, you’ll want to design it to attract more visitors. Use this guide to discover how to improve parks to make yours a place for social interaction and physical activity in the community.
Why Are Parks Important to the Community?
Residents enjoy parks and recreation centers because of the green open spaces and activities they offer, especially in urban areas. Besides giving kids and adults something fun to do and making a neighborhood more attractive, a park plays a significant part in local infrastructure. Explore the following individual, environmental, family, community and economic importance of parks and playgrounds.
Individual Benefits of Parks With Playground Equipment
Parks with playground and fitness equipment encourage an active lifestyle among residents of all ages. As a result, the people in your community can take advantage of these benefits:
- An opportunity to interact with others: Children who play with others through games and sports develop social skills at a young age, improving coordination and self-esteem in the process. Outdoor play involves sharing, teamwork and learning to lead in the appropriate moments. Adults can also meet new friends in their communities through special events and activities at a park and recreation center.
- An active lifestyle: People who live near a park can create a habit of exercising. As children run and climb on the playground, they work their muscles and develop healthy habits that will help them as they grow. Consider installing age-appropriate fitness equipment and walking trails for adults to use by themselves or with their friends.
- A sharp, calm mind: Physical activity encourages new brain cells’ growth and improves the brain’s ability to learn. Being out in nature also reduces mental fatigue and aggression, allowing park visitors to feel more relaxed. Playgrounds offer children plenty of opportunities to engage their senses to help them develop healthy minds. A variety of play equipment strengthens sensory, cognitive, motor and physical skills.
- Prevention of obesity: Taking part in physical activity can help park visitors maintain their weight to reduce their risk of chronic diseases. When children have the space to run around and play, they take part in heart-healthy activities that burn calories and strengthen muscles.
- A fun environment for people of all ages and abilities: A recreational space with a universal, inclusive design gives every visitor an enjoyable experience. Instead of separating kids who are different, parks with universal design facilitate an environment where children learn to embrace diversity and accept other people.
Environmental Benefits of Community Parks
A community park and recreation center usually features gorgeous trees and luscious grass. This greenery improves the surrounding environment and makes the neighborhood healthier in the following ways:
- Preserves air quality: The trees around a park and recreation center clean the air, absorbing smoke, dust, ash and allergens that can irritate those with respiratory conditions, especially children and older adults. One tree produces a day’s worth of oxygen for up to four people, so a small family can breathe freely with just one of the abundant trees in the park.
- Preserves water: Besides providing clean air for a community, the trees in a park and recreation center also conserve and filter water. Their roots can absorb stormwater to maintain the integrity of surrounding buildings and streets, filtering it in the process. This water eventually goes back into the atmosphere.
- Protects wildlife: Parks and intentionally green spaces in a local community create habitats for various wildlife species. Each park has a separate ecosystem that protects animals from urban displacement and allows them to thrive naturally. By visiting parks, children can learn the value of taking care of the environment and leaving a better world for the next generation.
- Reduces traffic: Having a designated recreational space in a neighborhood controls the vehicles driving in one area. People will most likely choose healthier means of transportation in these areas, such as walking or riding their bicycles to get to their destinations.
Economic Advantages of Community Playgrounds
Parks and recreation centers with playgrounds and fitness equipment can help stimulate the local economy. Since these community spaces offer plenty of activities, they can attract various people to spend the day there. Restaurants and businesses near a park and recreation center can draw in new customers who might visit after walking or exercising. These companies can even advertise their services on nearby walkways and exercise stations. Community playgrounds can also increase the property value of homes in the community.
How to Improve Your Park and Recreation Center
A public meeting space can add tremendous value to a community. Improving its design and amenities can drive even more traffic and meet your visitors’ needs. Follow these tips for improving your park or recreation center for the benefit of the whole community.
1. Create a Park Maintenance Schedule
Routine care of your park and recreation center demonstrates your desire to make the community more enjoyable through aesthetically pleasing greenery and clean, functional amenities. When you take care of this meeting space, the residents in your neighborhood are also more likely to get involved with activities.
You can maintain your park and recreation center by:
- Being intentional about what you plant: The trees and shrubs you use around your park and recreation center should provide a pleasant experience for all visitors. You may want to plant low-maintenance greenery to save time and money on caring for them so they can maintain their beauty all year long. Including low-pollen plants in your design can provide cleaner, healthier air for people with seasonal allergies.
- Trimming the greenery: Cut back your bushes’ and trees’ overgrown branches and mow the grass to create a safe, clean space for the whole community. Park visitors will appreciate the attention to detail you have when you manicure your grass and update the landscaping.
- Maintaining your playground equipment: Taking care of your park’s play and fitness components can prolong their life span to keep your visitors safe. Consult the manufacturer’s instructions for maintaining your specific recreational equipment. You’ll most likely have to tighten loose hardware, replace broken or worn components and level loose-fill flooring.
- Picking up litter: Park visitors want to play and exercise in a clean environment. Have your maintenance staff walk around your facility and dispose of garbage and debris. It’s helpful to put trash receptacles strategically around your park and recreation center so visitors can conveniently throw out their trash. You can also provide a clear path for your park’s visitors by sweeping the dirt and debris away from designated walkways.
- Cleaning the restrooms: Your park and recreation center’s restrooms are necessary for everyone to use. Make a habit of keeping the restrooms stocked, cleaning the toilets, removing any graffiti and checking the pipes to ensure a sanitary, pleasant experience for your guests.
2. Create Intentional Space for Social Gatherings
Your park and recreation center can be a popular meeting place for the residents in your community. Create a space for them in your urban or suburban area to relax and meet together for informal gatherings. Consider designing your recreational space with the following components that encourage people to stay for a long time:
- Athletic fields to accommodate larger groups of people
- Gazebos or shaded areas
- Playground equipment for families
- Group fitness systems for people of all ages
- Eating areas with picnic tables
- Barbecue areas with grills
It’s also helpful to make your park and recreation center suitable for community events throughout the year to bring everyone together.
3. Set up a Designated Dog Park
Part of meeting your community’s needs is creating a fun, comfortable place for pet owners to walk their dogs. Green spaces, fresh air and physical activity are beneficial for both people and their pets. Consider including a dog park in your recreation center for pets and people, especially if you’re designing your project in an urban area where most residents have limited backyard space.
Besides making pet owners happy, creating a dog park also keeps dogs in one designated area instead of running throughout other parts of your recreation center. That offers a pleasant experience for pet owners and the park’s other visitors alike. You could even section off part of your existing park if you don’t have room in your budget to create a brand-new dog park.
4. Leave Room for Heart-Healthy Activities
Create a park and recreation center with plenty of opportunities for exercise, both in individual and group settings, to encourage heart-healthy activities. When children and adults sit and use screens for most of the day, they need a way to release their aggression and strengthen their bodies. Spending time in nature through exercise relieves stress and recharges the mind after a long day of work or school.
Instead of paying for a gym membership, citizens of a local community can go to your park and recreation center to improve their physical and mental well-being for free. Your facility provides an opportunity for everyone to get fit, regardless of household income or socioeconomic status. Besides playground equipment for kids, you’ll want to create a multigenerational recreational space with adult fitness systems. You can also design your park and recreation center with athletic fields, walking paths and dedicated bike lanes.
5. Make It Environmentally Friendly
Visitors to your park want to know they’re reducing their impact on the environment by spending time in nature and investing in eco-friendly practices. Parks are usually the only exposure to greenery urban residents have nearby, so it’s critical to design yours with the preservation of wildlife, clean air and water in mind.
You can inspire a love for nature in children by using informative placards to label different trees and plants throughout your park and recreation center. Install recycling stations near your trash receptacles with dedicated receptacles for glass, plastics and paper. This practice may even lead you to promote recycling in your whole community. You can also sponsor park-wide cleanups that get everyone involved in improving the local neighborhood.
Products Available to Enhance Your Park
At Playworld, we offer various play, health and fitness equipment options to enhance your park and recreation center. People of all ages and abilities can have fun and enjoy your space for many years to come. Explore the options we have available.
Our age-appropriate, inclusive play elements will bring your whole community together and let the children in your neighborhood have fun. Explore the following playground systems we offer:
- Early childhood playgrounds: We offer developmentally optimized, inclusive early childhood playground equipment for infants, toddlers and preschoolers ages 2-5. These systems include elements that promote developmental and gross motor skills crucial for children to learn at a young age. We design our playground equipment with various shapes and colors to expose children to different elements to hold their attention.
- School-age playgrounds: Our playground equipment for children ages 5-12 is inclusive and engaging for kids of all abilities. When kids play on these playgrounds and freestanding products, they’ll have fun while burning calories, making friends and sharpening their mental and cognitive skills.
- PlaySimple® Commercial Playgrounds: Your community can still have fun even if you have a limited budget and green space size. Besides our standard age-appropriate playgrounds, we also feature eight budget-friendly, durable commercial playground systems suitable for children ages 2-12 years old. They’re easy enough to install on your own so you can save money instead of hiring a professional to put them together. Unlike other budget-friendly options, our commercial playgrounds meet all IPEMA safety certifications.
- Electronic play areas: Outdoor electronic playgrounds allow children of all ages to play and exercise outside while also participating in stimulating video game activities. The lights, sounds and features of this play equipment will attract a young audience to your park. Explore our Funky Animals & Spring Riders for infants and toddlers and our NEOS® Outdoor Electronic Playgrounds for all children.
- Nature-inspired playgrounds: Enhance the wonder and awareness of nature among children of all ages. Our nature-inspired play elements connect kids to the outdoors by combining play with authentic nature experiences. These products incorporate natural textures and colors while giving kids a safe, durable place to explore and have fun.
You can promote healthy physical activity in your park and recreation center for people of all ages and abilities through our fitness and exercise equipment. We offer low-impact and aerobic systems, stations and activity panels to meet your community’s needs and promote physical well-being, no matter where visitors are on their workout journey. Explore these options for the people in your community who need a free, functional way to stay in shape and meet with their friends:
- ENERGI®: This guided, total body fitness system offers five stations with 120 activities and three intensity levels for people ages 13 years old and up. Our ENERGI® options come with programming guides and instructional videos for everyone to work out at their own pace. You can view the instructional videos here.
- LifeTrail® Outdoor Wellness Systems: Our LifeTrail® System offers adults ages 50 and up the chance to maintain a workout routine to help prevent injury and chronic diseases. This system features several stations with 150 low-impact, functional exercises to help older adults live independently and strengthen their physical abilities.
Complete your park and recreation center’s design with our durable, comfortable site furnishings. Our accessories, benches and picnic tables complement our playground and freestanding equipment to give your recreational space a uniform look. Consider installing these furnishings in places where people will gather regularly, especially near your play areas, so they have a comfortable place to take a break or watch their children. Our products all feature superior craftsmanship, long-lasting finishes and American ingenuity to enhance your park and recreation center.
Benefits of Working With Playworld
Playworld offers high-quality commercial playground equipment for your park and recreation center. We’ve provided expert design and planning assistance to urban planners and landscape architects for several decades. Our mission is to incorporate play into communities so everyone can enjoy their neighborhood and interact with their neighbors. Consider what makes Playworld the right choice to help you design your project’s playground area.
Our Dedication to Safety
As an urban planner or architect, you need to make sure your construction projects comply with local and federal safety regulations. With this requirement in mind, our team at Playworld has also made safety our top priority. We manufacture all our play components with meticulous attention and durable materials you can trust to install on your property. We also test all of our products before releasing them to the public to ensure they meet or exceed safety guidelines.
Our Commitment to Quality
Our manufacturing professionals at Playworld focus on the little details that make our playground equipment safe and attractive for people of all ages and abilities. We use Flo-Coat galvanized steel tubing for our playground equipment to enhance our products’ resistance to corrosion. We also use laser-cut coped metal to create a perfect fit during assembly so your products are less likely to move, wobble or warp over time. Our durable products will enhance your park and recreation center by giving kids a safe place to play.
Our Expert Service and Design Assistance
Playworld is an expert in playground design and outdoor play. We have decades of experience in the industry and collaborate with child development specialists and skilled engineers. With that knowledge and collaboration, we can provide you with products and design ideas that’ll enhance your park and recreation center.
We can help you in any design process stage, from creating your recreational area’s entire layout to giving you a few ideas to help spark your creativity. When you’ve decided on the playground equipment you’d like to include, we also provide installation support and maintenance assistance to set you up for success.
Our Unique Financing Options
You may have a playground to design, but your town or client has given you a limited budget for your project. In that case, we can help you stick to your financial goals and give you ideas for raising more money through fundraising, crowdfunding and grants. Your playground should be safe, attractive and functional for people of all ages and abilities, so there’s no room for compromise. We can help you decide how to get the finances you need to ensure your park will serve your community best.
Request a Quote for Your Park’s Playground Equipment
Install safe, durable playground and fitness equipment in your park and recreation center to meet the needs of your community. Playworld offers all the playgrounds, fitness systems and site furnishings you need to promote a fun, healthy lifestyle in your area. We’ll also help you design your park and recreation center with our decades of experience.
Browse through the products we offer on our site to find the best options for your design. When you’re ready to start working with us, request a quote online.