Outdoor play is an important part of children’s learning and development. A crucial health and safety factor with children’s outdoor environments is the appropriateness of the environment.
The “A” in the S.A.F.E.™ Playground Injury Prevention framework is Appropriate Environments.
Creating an Appropriate Environment entails:
Students who play on equipment that is not appropriate for their size, strength, and decision-making abilities may be exposed to potential injury. We recommend that adults be thoughtful in planning and managing outdoor environments that are developmentally appropriate.
Research has shown that modern playground material, along with extreme hot temperature peak periods (e.g. 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.), can expose children to unsafe circumstances. Outdoor environments must be suitable for children.
Outdoor play area for ages 2 or older should have equal opportunities for all children.
NPPS believes all children should have opportunities to play outside and have direct exposure to natural elements. NPPS On-Site Training provides participants with in-depth information on developmentally appropriate curriculum, which includes nature-based outdoor environments involving loose parts and materials.
Moogk-Soulis, C. (2010). Schoolyard heat islands: A case in Waterloo, Ontario. In 5th Canadian urban forest conference (pp.24-27).
Olsen, H. & Kennedy, E. (2018). Report for National Study of Public Playground Equipment and Surfacing: FY -17. U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Vanos, JK. (2015). Children's Health and Vulnerability in Outdoor Microclimates: A Comprehensive Review. Environment International. 76, 1-15.
Vanos, J. K., Middel, A., McKercher, G., Kauras, E.R., Ruddell, B. (2016). Hot playgrounds and children’s heath: a multiscale analysis of surface temperatures in Arizona, USA. Landscape and Urban Planning, 146, 29-42.