Benefits of Playgrounds on Military Bases

When you think of playgrounds, what areas do you imagine?

Schools, churches, or parks? Very few envision them on military bases but many military communities create a park and recreation area that features a community playground. Playgrounds, especially on military bases, are an effective way to provide a family friendly environment. These areas also create a means for families, who are often apart, to reconnect.

Every military community can benefit from a playground area. They encourage children to engage in active play, improve physical coordination and interact with their peers. In addition, commercial playgrounds on military bases can also serve as a wonderful tool for younger children to reacquaint themselves with their parents who are returning from a long deployment. They provide a setting that is filled with fun activities where a child can acclimate themselves with their parent’s return.

Aside from the healing benefits, a commercial playground offers a wide variety of benefits associated with childhood development. Commercial playgrounds can be tailored to a specific age group and skill level to assist in strengthening a child’s motor skills and development. For more information on commercial playgrounds, their benefits, and how to make one work on your military base call 877.777.3700 and browse our selection of playgrounds at

ParknPool | Lexington, VA | | 877.777.3700

Playground Budgeting Guide

Play is important for child development, but sometimes the funds necessary to provide our children with the playground equipment that is needed to help them grow and learn can be a tough road. Following these simple steps will not only allow you to purchase a new playground unit or replace an existing one, it is also a great way to get your community involved.

Fundraising Ideas

Idea #1: “Adopt” a Part of a Playground

Having a sketch or plan of your potential play area layout will help in your fundraising efforts. It can be used as a great marketing tool. Showing it to sponsors and posting it on message boards will create a visual reminder. Make a list of the major components of the playground unit. Set a price for each component and then break down your fundraising efforts one component at a time. Take your sketch or drawing around to local businesses and community service organizations asking them to “adopt” a part of the playground. You will have to develop a way for the donators to be recognized, whether that is on a single sign placed at the entrance to the play area or at each “adopted” unit. Get kids really excited about the new playground that will be placed at their school, neighborhood or community. The more they talk about the new playground, the more help you will get in your fundraising efforts!

Idea #2: Personalized Walkway Bricks

Parents love to put their child’s name on something permanent. If you are planning on placing a bricked walkway leading to your new playground, have a fundraiser selling these bricks individually to parents, grandparents, guardians and family members. When pricing your bricks, be sure to account for the cost of laying them, and also having each of them engraved. Not only is this a great way to raise money but it also makes your playground a more personalized place to visit.

Idea #3: Penny/Coin Drive

A coin drive is a collection of coins from those in your community, neighborhood or school to help raise funds for your new playground. Have a central location for those involved to place their coins, or if raising money for a school, place large jars or jugs in each classroom. Be sure to announce your coin drive any way you can and watch the change come rolling in!

Most importantly, once you’ve established your fundraising efforts, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Whatever you choose to do as a fundraiser, remember to invite your local paper or news channel. A little press coverage will go a long way!

How to Budget

Once you have your funds in place, it’s time to start budgeting! Having a budget in place will help you prepare for any unexpected costs and offers a clear picture of the project. To create your playground budget, it is important to gather all financial statements available, record income sources, create a list of projected expenses, and document revenue projections. Building a new playground project budget can seem like a huge undertaking but with some careful considerations, you can be prepared for any financial surprises that may creep up along the way.

Project Expenses:

It is important to keep in mind that playground equipment is not the only expense you need to plan for in your budget. Depending on your specific needs, you should also consider these additional costs.

  • Surfacing – there are several types of surfacing options and many may require leveling, drainage of playground site, a means of containment, and a considerable amount of material.
  • Shipping – most playground systems are extremely heavy so you need to take into account the cost of freight, unloading of the components, and any package removal or disposal.
  • Site Preparation – many states, counties and municipalities require the purchase of a building permit when installing a new playground.
  • Storage – this will only apply should your new playground arrive before you have completed the preparation of the site in which your playground will be housed.
  • Installation / Assembly – due to the safety regulations of playgrounds, professional installation is recommended to ensure that your unit meets all safety regulations and is properly inspected.
  • Construction Materials – this may include anything from concrete, bricks, or sand.
  • Landscaping – if your playground will be placed near a highway or other obstruction it is always a good idea to have a wall of protection and a means of containing the children inside the designated play area. Planting bushes, trees or other shrubbery can be a fairly inexpensive way to accomplish this.


Thousands of years ago – before school yards were dotted with jungle gyms, slides, money bars and swing sets – Greek philosopher Plato said it perfectly: “Life must be lived as play.”

Playtime is not just for fun; it is crucial to childhood development. ParknPool’s commercial playgrounds and outdoor playground sets are ASTM (American Society for Testing & Materials) rated for public playgrounds, IPEMA (International Equipment Manufacturers Association) Certified, and ISO 14004; 2004 Certified.

These larger playground structures are constructed for children up to age 12 and each unit has specially chosen activities to challenge and encourage the physical, social and mental development of older children. They are perfect for elementary schools, public parks and homeowner’s associations. Kids will be inspired and energized with the ladders, climbers, activity panels and slides that our included in each of our playgrounds!

ParknPool | Lexington, VA | | 877.777.3700

Your Complete Guide to Playground Surfacing

Playgrounds are found everywhere in the United States. They are designed to support children as they learn, play and grow. This guide will provide you with information to make informed decisions about what playground surfacing materials are best!

Designing a safe playground starts from the ground up. It is important to have safe playground equipment, but the surface under the equipment also makes a difference. The ground covering impacts how accessible and safe the playground is, as well as how enjoyable is it for children to play.

When it comes to playground surface options, it matters which material you choose. Children need a soft place to land when they jump or fall. Some surfaces offer superior playground fall protection, while other materials are simply unsafe. Falls onto playground surfaces are the number one reason children get sent to the emergency room.

A properly installed shock-absorbing surface is vital to creating a safe playground. The chances of being injured on an impact-absorbing surface are less than half compared to non-impact-absorbing surfaces. Kids should feel safe and happy while they play, and a quality surface material is a crucial part of that. Choosing the appropriate playground surface for your playground is not as difficult as it might seem. However, you will need to consider certain factors such as budget, playground size, and your vision. Some materials are less expensive to install but don’t provide as much accessibility and tend to have more involved maintenance. On the other hand, some surface materials have a high up-front cost but don’t require as much maintenance over time and provide a consistently safe environment. When it comes down to it, safety should always be the priority!

There are two main groups of surface coverings: loose-fill and unitary.

  • Loose-fill coverings are made of smaller pieces that are installed to create an even surface made of loose pieces. These types of surfaces are typically less expensive to install but require more maintenance and refills.
  • Unitary surfaces are comprised of singular materials installed into a level surface. These surfaces are more expensive to install but tend to require less maintenance in the long run.

Each surface type has benefits as well as health concerns, specifically with regard to maintenance and ASTM impact standards. ASTM is the world’s largest source of standards for materials, goods, services and systems. It provides guidance on the depth of fill material for playgrounds to ensure children are protected.

What are the different types of loose fill surface materials?


While sand is affordable, easy to install and provides good cushioning, it can conceal sharp objects, animal waste and other debris. In addition, children might be tempted to eat or throw sand. It can also be carried home with them in their shoes or clothes. Sand requires lots of maintenance and is not considered to be ADA accessible.

InexpensiveNot ADA Accessible
Easy to InstallEasily Consumed by Children
Good Impact AbsorptionDisguises Insects and Other Pests
Prevents Bacterial GrowthRequires Constant Maintenance

Pea Gravel

In terms of playground surfacing, pea gravel carries the same advantages and disadvantages as sand, with a few exceptions. Pea gravel is also inexpensive, easy to install and is not ADA accessible. It typically does drain rain water better than sand. Although pea gravel can cushion a fall, it is not a safe option for smaller children. As with sand, pea gravel requires constant maintenance to keep it at a safe level.

InexpensiveNot ADA Accessible
Easy to InstallEasy to Place in nose, mouth, ears, etc.
Unattractive to InsectsEasily Consumed by Children
Drains Easier than SandRequires Constant Maintenance

Engineered Wood Fiber (EWF)

EWF is all-natural, forms a smooth, accessible surface, and is more affordable than unitary surfaces. EWF offers excellent impact absorption, is easy to install, and stays in place better than sand or pea gravel. EWF still requires regular maintenance, especially in high-use areas like beneath swings.

Easy to InstallMade from Completely New Wood
Good Impact AbsorptionMore expensive than Gravel or Sand
Stays in Place BetterRequires Regular Maintenance

Rubber Mulch

Rubber Mulch has the shape and texture of wood chips but is made of rubber. Most commonly, rubber mulch is made of recycled tires, making it the most eco-friendly playground surface. There are many advantages to rubber mulch, including its mid-range cost and relatively low maintenance. Compared to similar surfaces like wood mulch, rubber mulch doesn’t decompose over time. It is also available in a wide variety of colors to match the playground equipment.

Easy to InstallEasily Consumed by Children
Best Impact AbsorptionCan be Tracked off the Playground
Won’t DecomposeRegular Replenishment Required

Having a good material to cover your playground ensures that children have a safe place to play, while also offering protection from the ground itself. If you have any questions about these surfacing options or our unitary surface options, give us a call!

ParknPool | Lexington, VA | | 877.777.3700

Learn the Facts and How to Prevent Playground Injuries

Did you know?

> 200,000+ ER visits occur annually for injuries sustained on playgrounds.

> Nearly 70% of accidents occur on public playgrounds.

> 15 child fatalities occur from playground equipment each year.

> 79% of all playground injuries involve falls.

> Children ages 5 to 9 are the most at-risk group.

Playgrounds, especially public ones, are great spaces for kids to get some fresh air, make new friends, have some fun and burn off the excess energy. As someone that oversees your public playground, it’s important to make sure faulty equipment, improper surfaces or unsafe behavior doesn’t turn a good day in to an emergency room visit.

The following equipment is responsible for the most injuries:

Parental guide for preventing playground injuries:

} Always Supervise Playtime – kids under 5 should be supervised at all times. Make sure you are positioning yourself so that you can maintain a visual line of sight on them!

} Dress children appropriately for playtime – loose clothing and drawstrings are hazardous. Make sure kids wear shoes or sneakers at the playground to protect their feet.

} Choose age-appropriate play equipment – older and younger children should play in separate areas. Toddlers are unable to use metal swings, seesaws or slides safely on their own.

} Ensure playground surfaces are safe – sand, wood chips, pea gravel and synthetic rubber mulch are best. Blacktops and concrete are not recommended. The length of soft surfacing under swings should be double the height of the swing set.

} Only visit well-maintained playgrounds – look out for sharp points or edges in equipment. Inspect the playground (especially a sandbox) for splintered wood, broken glass, sharp metal, uncovered chains, loose bolts, wet spots, or missing ladder rungs. Inspection is key ! All playground equipment should be inspected and maintained regularly.

Looking for more helpful playground information or planning on replacing outdated and unsafe playground equipment? Give us a call! We can safely say we are here to help make sure your kids can safely play!

ParknPool | Lexington, VA | | 877.777.3700