It is early December, and outside today the snow is softly falling. Children are making snow angels, and hoping for enough snow to build forts. How does the winter season affect your playground? Depending on your local weather, things may not change or they may be very different from summer play conditions. Some owner/operators will close down playgrounds for the season, but they often can’t stop the kids from coming to play anyway.
As always, supervision plays a key role in safe play. Parents or caregivers should think about things like:
- Tucking in loose or long clothing items like scarves, jacket or hat tie strings, tassles, and other loose or loopable items which could become entangled and cause choking.
- Snow and ice buildup on equipment surfaces which can result in slips & falls.
- Frozen play surfaces, where the impact attenuation may be reduced or negated.
Equipment choices can also help. Some forms of commercial playground equipment, like net climbers, are not hard surfaces and may be less impacted by winter conditions. This can come in the form of less cold transfer to the users, less surface areas for snow or ice to build up, and increased visibility for supervision. Active play with lots of movement will also keep children warm & rosy-cheeked happy.
Who is making the hot chocolate? Play safe and enjoy the season!