Play doesn’t stop in the winter. Research shows children who play outside during the winter are healthier and more active than those who stay inside. Winter play is necessary for staying healthy and active, but there are some precautions to complete before the winter weather sets in. Check out our simple, one-stop checklist to prepare your playground for the cold months ahead.
Prepare a Maintenance Checklist
Regular playground maintenance is critical to ensure your playground is in top shape. It's especially important as we head into the cold Canadian winter months. Here's how to "winterize" a play area:
1. Prepare Playground Equipment for Extreme Cold
- If you have water equipment installed, be sure to clear and drain water lines.
- Do you have any wooden equipment installed? Frigid temperatures and rainfall can cause rapid deterioration if preventive measures are not taken. Coat wooden equipment with a non-toxic preservative to give it the extra protection it needs. You can also consider replacing some or all of a wooden playground with weather-resistant materials like steel, aluminum, and heavy-duty plastics.
- Have a plan to clear snow on your playground with a de-icing agent or manual removal. If you decide to use de-icing chemicals, check with the playground equipment manufacturer to ensure it is safe to use.
- Check on your hardware throughout the winter. Extreme weather conditions and cold temperatures can cause hardware to loosen.
2. Make Sure Safety Surfacing is Ready for Winter
- Fill in any cracks in poured-in-place rubber surfaces before ice can form within them and cause further damage.
- If you use loose-fill surfacing options such as mulch or wood chips, be sure to fill in any sparse areas to provide adequate attenuation (fall protection).
- Freezing temperatures may decrease your surfacing’s impact attenuation, so explore surfacing options designed for colder temperatures. GT Impax has great surfacing options that can accommodate any season.
3. Take Down Your Fabric Shades
- Many fabric shades can't withstand heavy snow buildup. Remove them down to avoid the risk of severe damage.
- GameTime’s shade structures have a QuickRelease™ mechanism that makes it easy to remove playground shades during the winter months.
Keep Children Playing All Year
Outdoor play is essential for children no matter the season. Give your playground equipment the extra care it needs for the winter. Review your play equipment’s unique needs and prep it before the cold weather sets in. Perform routine hardware and surfacing checks and remove fabric shades if heavy snow is expected.
Have a question about the needs of your playground equipment? Need to improve your surfacing or shade? Contact a GameTime representative to make these upgrades today and create a play experience enjoyed every day of the year.