Playgrounds are a very valuable community resource for children. They provide a stimulating environment, where children can enjoy themselves, all the while learning through play. Playgrounds help children with a plethora of skills, from their cognitive skills as well as their physical and emotional development.
During COVID-19, while playgrounds have been shut down, their sheer importance within society has been made all the more evident. That being said, while lockdown may be easing for a great many of us, the virus is still very much a threat. That inevitably means that not only must we still maintain social distancing at all times where possible, it also means an emphasis must be placed on the cleaning of playgrounds if we’re to ensure they remain a valuable part of society during these very pressing time.
Top Tips For Cleaning Playgrounds During/After The Pandemic
To give you the best advice possible, we spoke with one of the UK’s leading playground equipment manufacturers, Sovereign Early Years. Here are their tops tips to help ensure playgrounds remain the safe space we need them to be.
- Clean High Traffic TouchPoints - with scientific advice suggesting the virus can live on surfaces for up to seven days, strict and regular cleaning regimes must be put into place, focusing on touchpoints. Particularly those with heavy traffic. Solid cleaning regimes must be put in place for equipment such as crawl tunnels, tube slides, exercise bars, or seated areas. Focus should also be placed on climbing frames, monkey bars, and even semi-enclosed play huts.
- Encourage Sanitation - cleaning of one’s self should also be actively encouraged. This can be done by providing handwashing stations, or hand sanitiser stations. Posters can also be placed at strategic locations around the park to encourage the cleaning of equipment by users once they’ve finished. This would be especially beneficial in areas such as clear touchpoints i.e. swing rockers, seesaws and monkey bars, etc.
- Make Sure Safety Messages Are Accessible For All - when promoting safety messages as well as instructional messages i.e. ‘Bring own hand sanitiser’, do make sure these messages are accessible for both sight and hearing impaired.
- Use Disposable Paper Towels In Hand Washing Facilities - you may also want to provide automatic soap dispensers to avoid people touching the equipment.
- Provide More Litters Bins - encourage people to wipe their hands and immediately dispose of paper towels. Prevent the use of roller towel style drying facilities in toilet areas.
Adapt And Overcome
Just as the guidance on this pandemic changes daily, so too may your management of your play area. Whether you decide to set a maximum number of visitors to one area at any one time or limit the number of children on one particular activity, we advise being open to adapting and changing your approach where and when possible.
As we find out more about this virus, more advice may come to light that provides a preferred way to avoid the spread. What is worth remembering however is right now, keeping on top of a cleaning routine has never been so important. Hopefully, with the above advice, keeping vital play areas open will be easier than many may have first thought and children can once again begin enjoying vital outdoor space.
For more help and advice on your play area, contact Sovereign Early Years today on 01702 804198.