For schools and nurseries, the safety of children should always be the top priority, this goes for both inside and outside of the classroom. During outdoor playtime, children are exploring and learning new physical skills every day, and it’s crucial to provide a safe place for these activities.
Many playgrounds now have specialist wetpour surfacing installed to help prevent injuries and ensure that kids enjoy playing on equipment safely. The flooring can be installed by a safety surfaces specialist onto large play areas or under things like climbing frames and swings to absorb impact from falls. It’s made of rubber so it provides a soft landing surface, meaning children are less likely to hurt themselves if they do fall.
What Exactly is Wetpour?
You may have seen this particular safety surface before, or you may never have heard of it. Many people mistake it for tarmac as it does have a similar appearance, but it’s much softer which is why it’s suitable for adding safety to playgrounds.
A typical wetpour surface is made up of two layers, with the first being known as the ‘shockpad’ or base course. This forms the base of the surfacing and is made up of SBR rubber granules mixed with binder; the mixture is then spread onto the desired area and smoothed down before being left to cure.
The top layer is known as the wearing course, and this is what will be visible on the playground. The wearing course is made up of EPDM rubber granules mixed with binder, and is laid on top of the base course using the same method. Once the full system is completely dry and set, it’s ready for the children to play on!
Key Benefits of Playground Safety Surfacing
There are many clear advantages to having a specialist surface like this installed onto a school or nursery playground. It’s also sometimes chosen for local parks, residential homes or other areas where safe flooring may be needed. Here are a few of the main benefits:
- Protects children from injury when playing outside
- Suitable for large and small areas
- Children of all ages can play on the surfaces
- Can be fitted beneath equipment like climbing frames, swings, slides, obstacle courses etc.
- Black wetpour can blend into existing tarmac areas for a seamless appearance
- A range of colours are available for vibrant designs
- Educational shapes, words and patterns can be incorporated into the wetpour
All of these things make wetpour a popular choice for nurseries, primary schools, public parks and even domestic gardens. It’s customisable to suit a range of shapes, patterns and designs as well as offering the necessary safety requirements. The depth of the surfacing can even be altered to suit the heights of different equipment you may have in the play area.
During the early years of development, it’s great for children to have the opportunity to play outside and interact with one another. There are so many different games and activities which can be provided by schools, and often you don’t need lots of fancy equipment to take part.
Designing and Customising Wetpour
Although many people choose to just have simple black wetpour installed to their playground, it actually comes in a range of different colours. Some of the most popular are red, blue, green and purple, there are also mixed colours available to create an even more interesting design. It’s also possible to incorporate a particular colour scheme to make the playground unique to your school.
One thing that schools have been doing recently is installing Daily Mile tracks which children use to run or walk a mile each day. These can be installed in wetpour or a range of other surfaces in various shapes and sizes. It’s a great way to get kids active and doing 15 minutes of exercise each day.
The main purpose of this surfacing is to provide shock absorption and keep kids safe during their playtime. However, it can actually be used for a range of activities itself by adding different patterns and shapes onto the flooring. This is done by adding wetpour graphics into the surface during the installation process. Some of the most commonly chosen graphics include:
- Geometric Shapes
- Throwing Targets
These things can all be used for educational games as well as adding a more fun and interesting look to the playground. Having roadways incorporated into the play area helps children learn about road safety in a controlled environment where there is no risk of accidents. Other designs like hopscotch and throwing targets help kids with learning physical skills and coordination.
Why Playing Outside is Great for Children
So much research has been done into the benefits of outdoor play for children, both in and out of school. Taking part in physical activity helps boost muscle development as well as agility, fitness and coordination. This is why it’s important for primary schools and nurseries to offer a diverse outdoor play area with different games available.
Not only does playing outside have physical benefits, it also improves mental health and makes learning a lot easier for children. It has been found that many kids actually learn better by playing games or completing physical tasks, as opposed to listening or reading in the classroom. This is why it’s so good to have things like phonics, numbers and shapes on the playground.
During playtime, children can also interact with each other and form social bonds. It is the perfect time to learn about sharing, playing cooperatively and working together. By using different pieces of equipment or making up games, kids are communicating with each other and learning important social skills.
While outdoor play has so many positive benefits for kids, it’s necessary to keep the playing environment safe to reduce the risk of injuries. This is why soft playground surfaces like wetpour are becoming more and more popular. They give children the opportunity to take controlled risks, such as climbing up on a high jungle gym, but offer protection in case they do happen to fall.