8 Reasons to Install a Beach Playground
Beach playgrounds are special — they offer a new and thrilling way to enjoy the shore for kids and adults alike.
Having a playground at the beach has many benefits for both visitors and the community. Between drawing in more families and encouraging kids to expand their horizons, installing equipment near the shore enhances beach experiences. Some travelers may even choose to visit a beach over other options because of its playground amenities.
Learn more about the advantages of installing a playground at a beach and some helpful tips for designing a setup that beachgoers can’t resist!
Benefits of Beach Playgrounds
Beach playgrounds have many advantages for both beach communities and the people that visit them. Here are some key benefits of introducing equipment to your shoreline:
1. Creates an Attraction for Families
Installing playground equipment helps beach communities to differentiate themselves from other beaches. It can draw in more families, especially those looking to find a location that accommodates their kids and offers more activities to do throughout the day.
With rising prices on everything from fuel to food, families are becoming increasingly budget-conscious and hunting for ways to spend less on vacation. Visiting beaches and parks with a playground is a great way for families to have fun without spending money.
Instead of spending on arcade games or boardwalk shops, families with kids looking to save money can utilize the playground for free. Families who are looking to spend a bit less on vacation may be interested in the addition of a beach playground and choose your location over others.
2. Offers Activities for Kids Who Aren’t Ready for the Water
Beaches with playgrounds are great for kids who aren’t ready to start playing and swimming in the ocean quite yet. It can be disheartening for kids to go to the beach before they’ve developed their swimming skills. They can feel left out or bored. Having playground equipment to spend time on helps beach trips be more inclusive and fun for the whole family.
There are many reasons why a child may not be ready to spend time in the ocean. Whether they have a physical disability or have not mastered the art of swimming, it is very beneficial to have an alternative for kids when visiting the shore. Parents and guardians can also use the playground as a way to slowly introduce kids to the beach with familiar activities.
3. Keeps Kids Active and Happy
While the beach is a relaxing place perfect for doing lots of lounging, playgrounds encourage kids to get moving. Being active is very beneficial for both children and adults. Kids ages 6 to 17 should aim for 60 minutes of aerobic activities at least three times a week, and the playground is a great place to get in those hours.
When kids have a playground to explore, they can improve their mood and mental health. Being active fights off symptoms of depression and boosts energy levels, leading to less cranky kids and happier parents.
Children who get enough exercise can fall asleep faster and sleep longer than those who are not active. Getting enough rest improves attitudes and cognition, leading to better judgments. Playing on the playground can lead to happy, tired kids with less anxiety and improved problem-solving. Beachgoers will appreciate the positive impact that playing on the equipment has on their kids.
4. Boosts Time in the Sunlight
Kids can benefit from spending controlled amounts of time in sunlight while playing on beach playground equipment. Limited exposure to sunlight has many benefits for kids and adults alike, including:
- Boosting serotonin production: Playing in the sun can boost a child’s mood and make them feel good.
- Increasing vitamin D production: Sunlight causes bodies to create vitamin D. Vitamin D is essential for lower cancer cell growth and reducing inflammation, among other benefits.
- Building strong bone: Vitamin D is important for bone health. It helps your body absorb calcium better, boosting bone density and development.
- Reducing cancer risks: While too much sun can damage skin cells, moderate exposure can help prevent certain types of cancers such as colon and pancreatic cancer.
- Healing skin conditions: A little UV light can help treat skin conditions like eczema, acne and jaundice.
Just be sure to encourage adequate sunscreen use and that kids allow it to dry fully before getting in the water.
5. Encourages Beach and Water Education
The first few trips to the beach can be overwhelming for kids. Having a playground is a nice way to ease them into the new environment, and it encourages them to then go explore the sand and sun.
Parents can use the playground to teach kids about the beach and water before the kids begin playing more freely. At a distance from the water, the playground lets caregivers talk about the waves and how important it is to swim with an adult.
A beach playground also encourages kids to practice their social skills and sharing, two very important lessons for anyone sharing the shore with others.
6. Requires Minimal Cleanup for Guests
Unlike playgrounds in traditional locations like parks or schools, beach playgrounds usually do not have any mulch or grass. Parents will love the fact that their kids can play as much as they want without getting pesky dirt or grass stains on their clothes or bathing suits.
Families visiting the shore don’t want to spend their vacation doing laundry. Beach playgrounds with rubber tiles or poured-in-place surfacing mean parents will not have to rush to a washing machine after playtime.
7. Delivers the Positive Impacts of Sand Play
The sand is one of the greatest features near beach playgrounds. Playing in the sand also encourages sensory play and inspires children to engage with the following senses:
- Tactile: Sand can help kids develop their sense of touch as they experience different textures and temperatures while doing activities like digging and adding water to the sand.
- Vestibular: By simply walking through the sand, children can learn how to balance and respond to how their body moves.
- Proprioceptive: Along with the vestibular sense, the proprioceptive sense helps kids discover how their bodies interact with the world around them.
Time in the sand can also boost imaginative thinking. Its unique texture helps kids think differently about the world around them and grasp new scientific concepts, such as:
Beach playgrounds encourage sand and water play that help kids develop their fine motor skills. Shoveling and pouring sand helps build muscles and further mature hand-eye coordination.
Another benefit of sand play is that it encourages both independent and social play. Kids can enjoy beach playground equipment solo or work together to incorporate the sand into their fun.
8. Allows for Controlled Water Play
One of the greatest benefits of having a playground at the beach is playing with the water in a controlled manner. Many kids are not ready to leap into the ocean and start splashing about. But beach playgrounds offer the opportunity to incorporate water into play with equipment such as Sand and Water Tables. The following are some of the benefits of controlled water play:
- Introduces new scientific concepts: Like playing with sand, water can teach children about volume and weight. They can explore what objects float versus which objects sink and how the water interacts with the sand.
- Encourages sensory exploration: Kids can learn about temperatures and textures while playing with water in designated playground equipment.
- Builds social skills: The playground can teach important social lessons like how to interact with others and avoid unwanted splashing, knowledge that translates to playing in the ocean.
Tips for Designing a Beach Playground
The following are some helpful tips for designing a beach playground.
Provide Shade Structures
Having a place to escape the sun at the beach is key. Shade structures offer relief from the heat and can help protect kids from sunburns. They’re perfect for when kids want to take breaks to have a snack or relax, so consider adding them above the playground itself and to the side over seating.
Shade structures can block up to 96% of UV rays. Having one of these can help make a playground more inclusive. Many people have sun allergies or are especially susceptible to sun poisoning due to medications that treat conditions like epilepsy.
Kids with sensitivities to the sun need protection from its rays, and having shade structures allows them to enjoy the playground without worry. The shade also keeps the playground equipment cooler so kids can enjoy it whether it’s cloudy or a clear-sky day.
Some structures can lower the temperature by up to 20 degrees, making the equipment cooler and more comfortable. Plus, providing shade gives parents and guardians somewhere to relax out of the sun when supervising play.
Go With a Beach and Ocean Theme
When designing a beach playground, consider going with a beach or ocean theme. There are many benefits to themed playgrounds. From inspiring creativity to being educational, choosing equipment that fits a specific subject matter is fun and immersive for kids!
When children step foot on an ocean-themed playground at a beach, it’s a special experience. Adding features like a Hammerhead Shark Climber can excite and engage youngsters, deepening their imagination. Plus, these fun pieces of equipment allow kids to get up close and personal to wildlife they wouldn’t get to interact with otherwise.
Coastal communities can create fun ocean-inspired themes for their playground to complement and celebrate the landscape. Ship Theme equipment encourages kids to pretend they’re sailing the high seas with the ocean in view. Having a theme gives kids the agency to go on a thrilling adventure.
Use the Playground as a Learning Tool
Every playground can benefit from incorporating fun elements that inspire learning. When creating a custom beach playground, consider using it as a tool to teach kids about the shore.
Here are some exciting ideas for incorporating education into a new beach playground:
- Include sea life and animals: Learning about ocean environments can be very fun for kids, especially with playground equipment like a Coral Reef Climber. With this example, parents can use this opportunity to share information about the coral reefs in nature.
- Share local history: You can share information about the local beach community and its history using interactive panels and signage around the playground.
- Add tide information: It can be beneficial to share how tide pools work on playground equipment, reminding kids about the importance of staying safe in the water.
- Share safety tips: Adding an interactive panel with beach safety information at the playground is a great way to encourage kids to follow the rules and help them know how to behave both on the play equipment and near the water.
Incorporate Fitness Equipment
Make the most of a beach playground by incorporating outdoor fitness equipment along with it. Youth and adult workout solutions encourage beachgoers of any age to be active.
Adding fitness equipment or an entire fitness course near the playground can encourage healthy habits and make working out more fun. It is an added amenity for visitors and may attract more people to the community. Parents won’t need to commit time or money to work out, especially on vacation. Instead, they can go to the playground and enjoy playtime and fitness time at once.
Consider Adding a Lookout Tower
One of the greatest joys of going to the beach is taking in all of the gorgeous views. For anyone looking to install a playground at the shore, consider adding a lookout tower for the kids.
The Scout Net with Lookout and Two Fishtails makes an awesome addition to any setup with a natural design that complements the beach. Kids can climb on the rocks and get a better view of the whole beach. Children will practice their footing, use their proprioceptive sense, gain new perspectives and learn about taking calculated risks in a controlled environment.
Even a simple Lookout Tower can inspire kids and help them to see the beach in thrilling new ways. They can use the equipment to play games like I spy or to practice activities such as bird watching. The height can help kids get a better view of the ocean and look for different things like dolphins jumping out of the water or boats sailing along the coast.
Theme your lookout tower like a lighthouse, lifeguard tower or the deck of a ship to tie in your nautical theme.
Include a Climber
It’s no secret that kids love to climb. Adding a climber to a beach playground is a great way to encourage kids to use their physical skills while also helping keep them off the dunes. Adding fun elements like a Whale Climber can inspire imaginative play and encourage kids to get creative with how they move their bodies, all while suiting a beachside theme.
Climbing has many benefits for children, such as:
- Improving gross motor skills: When climbing on playground equipment, kids get to practice stability and finding their balance while working on their hand-eye coordination.
- Increasing muscle strength: Kids have to use their arms and legs to pull themselves up. They work on finding their footing and using their strength to support their body weight and stay secure.
- Solving low-risk challenges: Climbing helps kids practice using their problem-solving and decision-making skills in a low-risk environment.
- Gaining confidence in their own abilities: Children can instill confidence in themselves and better cope with their fears by conquering a climbing challenge.
Think About Different Age Groups
Consider the age groups you want to cater your equipment to when deciding on what elements to add to your beach playground.
Ask yourself if you’re interested in having a setup specifically for a certain age group or if you are looking to install a playground that is age-inclusive.
For kids under age 5, there are some important playground considerations, such as smaller steps and elements along with lower decks and platforms. The equipment can be slightly larger and taller for kids older than 5 years old. You can include pieces that require more skill to play on, like ropes and climbers.
- Appealing to more families: Families with kids of different age groups can enjoy the playground together, making your beach and play area a more appealing option.
- Bringing families together: Having an age-inclusive playground allows siblings of various ages to play together.
- Promoting community building: When more kids can use the playground, more families can come together and create a stronger sense of community.
Use Playground Fencing
It can be very beneficial for beach playgrounds to add fencing around the play area. A secure fence will give parents peace of mind and keep kids in bounds while they explore the equipment.
Fences are a great way to mark your playground’s boundaries and separate it from the rest of the beach. They can also help keep kids from wandering away from the playground area.
Incorporating a playground fence also offers a stylish touch. You can make the most of your fencing by choosing an option that complements the rest of your equipment.
Consider the following when deciding on what kind of fence is right for your playground:
- Fence style: Bamboo and slat-style fences suit the shore, while colorful options can match a whimsical playground.
- Durability: Your fencing should be moisture resistant, like composite or certain wood types. If you go with metal, choose corrosion-resistant options to withstand the salt spray.
Contact a Miracle® Recreation Representative to Plan Your Beach Playground
For nearly a century, Miracle Recreation has been providing high-quality equipment to communities. We design our playgrounds to offer kids new and thrilling experiences that inspire imaginative play.
Our representatives can help you navigate your beach playground project, from choosing a theme to creating the perfect design for your space. We work with you to make your playground vision come true while accommodating your budget.
Interested in getting started on a beach playground? Contact your local Miracle Reaction representative to request a quote for your project today!