Maintenance Tips for School Playgrounds

School playgrounds are places where students learn through play. They are an extension of your school building and should benefit from the same level of maintenance. School administrators should regularly review playground maintenance tips with staff to help ensure the longevity and durability of the equipment.

A well-maintained playground has many benefits, including encouraging students to enjoy healthy outdoor play. Proper maintenance may extend the life span of play equipment by minimizing wear and tear and damage caused by the elements.

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How to Maintain a School Playground

A school playground is a place where students learn through play. It’s an extension of your school building and should benefit from the same amount of maintenance. There are many steps to maintaining your school playground, including creating a maintenance team, using the right equipment and installing protective elements.

Use these playground maintenance tips to help keep your school play space well-maintained, attractive and lasting for years.

1. Decide Who Will Be Responsible for Maintenance

Maintaining a school playground is most effective when you designate a committee or hire a service and look for local service providers. These designated personnel are responsible for checking for problems and conducting maintenance practices. It’s best if these people are properly trained and have experience maintaining playground equipment.

2. Have Professionals Install New Play Structures

When replacing old play structures or adding new play pieces, be sure professionals configure and install the equipment properly according to performance specifications. There should also be ample space around each item to ensure kids and adults have ample room to navigate the playground. Take note of the maintenance requirements for every new structure or piece you install so you can care for them correctly.

3. Schedule Routine Equipment Inspections

Routine school playground inspections help promptly identify potential hazards to enhance playground equipment longevity. Staff should schedule playground inspections weekly when the playground is in constant use. You should also engage professional inspectors a few times annually, such as when students are on break, for more extensive inspections and detailed reports.

Have the playground inspected often for normal wear and tear, equipment damage, signs of vandalism, litter and debris. Keeping a schedule of visual inspections helps confirm staff is routinely inspecting the playground and can verify that the space is free of hazards.

4. Set Up a System for Reports

Students, teachers and parents need to know how to identify and report any problems with play equipment or the general play area. The school should have a central system to collect this information so you can promptly fix any issues. Try to make it as simple as possible for school staff and community members to alert the right people of whatever issues they find.

5. Install a Fence and Protective Barrier

Your school playground is meant for students to learn and have fun, and you want to ensure no one else is using it and potentially causing damage. Installing barriers such as fences and gates, or even an alarm system, can help you reduce maintenance tasks and keep the area more secure.

6. Understand Local Weather

If you live in a wetter climate, you may need to treat wood structures to prevent rot or opt for metal alternatives. If you live somewhere that experiences harsh winters, clearing ice and snow off the equipment can reduce the chances of it collapsing and closing the playground when conditions are slippery.

Canopies and shade structures help reduce UV damage, which can help reduce damage — such as paint fading from the sun — and thus help your investment last longer.

7. Conduct Prompt Repairs

Being proactive with playground equipment repairs prevents small issues from turning into bigger problems. Look out for wear and tear, rusted or corroded parts, loose screws, missing plugs, and loose anchoring, and fix these damages as soon as possible.

Always assess the severity of the damage to determine whether the parts need repair or replacement. You can consult the relevant product manuals to confirm the recommended timelines for playground equipment replacement. If you discover that extensive repairs are needed, you’ll want to close off the playground until the repairs are made.

How to Clean School Playgrounds

A significant part of playground maintenance is keeping your playground clean. Pay attention to the maintenance steps listed above and the following cleaning guidelines to reduce students’ possibility of injury or infection.

  1. Basic cleaning: Use a nontoxic cleaning product that’s safe for playground equipment to remove dirt, debris, grease and other contaminants from equipment surfaces on a regular basis. Wipe down contact surfaces, such as rails, grab bars and playground structures, to reduce students’ exposure to germs, dirt and other substances.
  2. Deep-cleaning: Deep clean with a playground-safe nontoxic cleaning product during the summer and other school breaks to remove accumulated dirt and debris and prepare the equipment for extensive use when school is in session.
  3. Disinfecting: Finally, remove any remaining germs — including bacteria, fungi or viruses — from your playground equipment by using disinfectants.

For extensive messes, like bodily fluid accidents, secure the area by blocking off the playground. Some professionals specialize in larger-accident cleanups, which you can add to your maintenance plan. You can also hire people for your maintenance crew specializing in playground cleaning.

The Benefits of Regularly Cleaning and Maintaining Your School Playground Equipment

Regularly cleaning and maintaining school playground equipment has many benefits. The frequency of these activities varies per play area depending on the usage rate, types of surfacing and unforeseen incidents, such as graffiti. Here are the top ways your school can benefit from keeping up with playground maintenance:

  • Reduces injury or illness: Students frequently use school playgrounds. Their hands-on interactions with equipment subject them to germs or broken equipment that could cause injury or illness. Having a maintenance and cleaning plan significantly reduces the chances of these issues.
  • Lengthens your playground’s life spanPlaygrounds are investments. School playgrounds can last you many years with the right maintenance, including consistent certified inspections, visual examinations and barriers that can protect from unwanted visitors or vandalism.

Contact Miracle Recreation for Expert Maintenance Advice