Trike Paths Give Kids Safe Avenue to Explore

Tricycles are a great way for toddlers to explore the world around them. However, neighborhood sidewalks aren’t usually the safest place for small kids and their tricycles. Driveways in front of our homes don’t often give kids enough space to discover either.

Even if you are lucky enough to have sidewalks and driveways that are relatively obstacle-free and spacious, the harsh concrete surfaces inevitably lead to scraped knees, painful “road rashes”, and bruised egos.

Kids need a safe place to learn the “rules of the road.” Bike playgrounds have been popular in Europe for years and are becoming more and more common here in the States. But what about something for younger kids on tricycles? Don’t forget to include them when you’re planning a playground, park, or play area.

Kids on three wheels need their own space to learn how to ride. They need a designated space where parents can keep an eye on them while they explore, build self-confidence, and work off some of their seemingly inexhaustible reservoirs of energy.

No Fault Safety Surfacing for Trike Paths

No Fault Sport Group has durable, cushioned, permeable, slip-resistant poured-in-place (PIP) rubber surfacing that is ideal for city parks and school playgrounds. Playground designers love to use it for trike paths around play areas. These tracks typically are a simple PIP pathway colored differently from the surrounding surfacing material. They give kids an easy-to-follow “road” that keeps them from running into the other children on nearby playground equipment.

Our No Fault Safety Surface is a seamless “unitary” surfacing that is ADA accessible. Tricycles can move easily over the surface, unlike with gravel, sand, or mulch. Because it is a unitary surface, PIP does not move or shift around.

No Fault Safety Surface also comes in different thicknesses, depending on the maximum critical fall height you need. This gives you the utmost safety for all the kids you are responsible for.

Cleanup usually takes little more than a leaf blower, though an occasional hose-down will keep it looking good as new. Our safety surfacing even gives you a wide range of color, design, and theme options.

See No Fault Trike Paths In Action!

Ready to see the trike paths we’ve built? No Fault Sport Group teamed up with Allplay Systems to create a beautiful “natural forest” themed playground in Tulalip, Washington. This unique playground features a tree fort, trike paths, wood cabins, stepping stones, hollow “logs”, and animal benches.

We installed more than 21,000 square feet of No Fault Safety Surface in green, tan, and blue (representing soil, grass, trees, and flowing rivers). We typically install our PIP rubber surface in colored “rings” around the playground equipment area–still on the playground but in a space designated for little tykes on their little trikes.

No Fault Safety Surface including trike path at the Tulalip Early Learning Academy in Tulalip, WA

For another project, No Fault Sport Group and All Inclusive Rec teamed up to install 4,000 square feet of No Fault Safety Surface at The Jackie Joyner Kersee Center in East St. Louis, Illinois. Stunning shades of green, tan, and blue were matched with the Little Tikes play equipment. Colorful Olympic rings were incorporated into the rubber surfacing along with a trike path (the blue ring around the larger play structure in the photo below).

No Fault Safety Surface including trike path at The Jackie Joyner Kersee Center in East St. Louis, IL

Whether you’re planning a playground, jogging track, or trike path, No Fault offers coast-to-coast installation service to give you reliable quality. You can be sure our poured-in-place rubber surfacing will be versatile, durable, and attractive for years to come. The staff at No Fault would like to help you incorporate a trike path into your next project; contact us today and let’s talk!

 

No Fault Project Spotlight: Edna’s Child Development Center, Gulfport, Mississippi

Beautiful things come in small packages! No Fault partnered with Jefcoat Recreation to provide our No Fault Safety Surface in a stunning blue color for Edna’s Child Development Center in Gulfport, MS. Safety and beauty combine to make this a very appealing place for kids to play. The attractive Miracle Recreation play equipment provided by Jefcoat has a clever “general store” theme along with the letters of the alphabet to spark children’s imaginations and set the stage for learning.

Ms. Edna Nelson, owner, stated, “The children and I love the surfacing! It is really soft to walk on.” 
At No Fault, we always strive to make our customers happy! We want you to love your new rubber surfacing, and enjoy it for many years to come. Please contact us so we can help you plan your next playground project, whether large or small!

Danger or Risk? Do You Know the Difference?

A top priority for those of us who create industry-leading playground safety surfacing is minimizing the risk of injury. However, that doesn’t mean we don’t understand the importance of active, adventurous playtime that allows kids to challenge themselves, discover their physical abilities, and develop their self-confidence.

It’s important that the people who design and build playgrounds understand that “danger” and “risk” are not the same thing. Whether we’re a parent or a parks administrator, it’s our job to eliminate the danger, and also to preserve the safe risk-taking that fosters creativity, challenge, and discovery.

Defining “Risk”

Many children’s activities come with some risk of injury or accident. Sports, like swimming and soccer, come with a higher risk than playing on a playground — especially when the playgrounds use safety surface products to keep kids safe.

Still, according to the Centers for Disease Control, 200,000 children under the age of 14 are injured on the playground each year. The dangers are real, and we must do everything we can to prevent these accidents from occurring.

Modern play equipment design and regulations are making kids safer every year. Heavy metal swings, high “trapeze” rings, and rusty merry-go-rounds are a thing of the past, and no one is saying these dangerous playground features need to return.

However, let’s not forget about the “reward” that comes with a healthy level of risk. Playing outside (whether on a playground or in a team sport) helps kids develop mentally and physically and can also set them up for healthy habits as they become adults.

A lack of outdoor activity means less movement and less interaction with other children. Behavioral issues, social difficulties, and developmental delays have all been connected to a lack of outdoor play. That’s why eliminating physical risk entirely can run a much greater emotional risk.

Are Americans too Risk-Averse?

In today’s litigious society, concerns about playground safety are linked with concerns about liability. Even if a school or community wanted to have a giant metal slide, rope swing, or big trampoline on its public playground, American Standard Testing Methods (ASTM) and Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) guidelines would prohibit their use. Equipment manufacturers won’t sell them because they don’t want to increase the liability they would face in the event of an injury.

In Europe, however, public trampolines aren’t uncommon. Safety is enhanced by keeping them low to the ground and surrounding them with safety surfacing. They are usually small enough to discourage too many children from using them at once. Everything considered, there are no more injuries caused by trampoline use than by using any of the “safer” features in European parks.

In some cases, the overabundance of caution in America is due to a misinterpretation of safety data. Neither ASTM nor CPSC standards prohibit teeter-totters or merry-go-rounds, but schools and cities have been removing them from playgrounds for years due to a perception that “moving parts” create a danger to children. On the contrary, studies show that only three percent of all playground injuries involved moving equipment.

Statistically, falling is a much more significant risk on the playground. Although, this danger is becoming smaller thanks to increased use of playground safety surface materials which are ASTM F-1292 compliant and meet all critical fall height standards and requirements.

Why Tolerate Any Risk at All?

Researchers from Iowa State University, North Carolina State University, and the University of Georgia collaborated to publish Making Room For Risk In Play Environments And Playground Standards. The authors argue that making playgrounds safer in the last couple of decades has also been “associated with a decline in creative, challenging, and exciting play.”

Risk-taking comes with a chance of injury. But did you know that risk helps kids develop gross motor skills that will help them reduce the potential for future harm? Balance and proprioception help kids feel more secure on their feet. Additionally, allowing children to engage in beneficial risk on the playground helps them learn to set safe limits on their behavior and evaluate potentially risky situations in the future better.

Put another way, reasonable risk keeps kids engaged on physical and mental levels, teaching them the skills to better assess and negotiate challenging situations and obstacles on their own.

Conclusion

On the playground, danger is not the same as risk. Eliminating all risk within play runs the possibility of removing creativity, challenge, and discovery. Furthermore, risk-taking opportunities on the playground can benefit a child’s health and learning in all the following ways:

  • They improve children’s physical, social, and cognitive health.
  • Children who are allowed to take risks tend to be more physically active and have lower obesity rates.
  • A healthy level of risk develops cognition and helps instill a greater sense of self-assurance.

Contact No Fault Sport Group today to discuss ways you can make your playgrounds safer by adding safety surfaces such as poured-in-place rubber surface, rubber safety tiles, rubber mulch (bonded and loose-fill), and synthetic play turf.

Renovating Your Playground on a Budget – Part 2

This is the second post of the two-part series on renovating playgrounds on a tight budget. It looks at a number of ways to find the funds necessary to make improvements.

Funding shouldn’t be a barrier in order to provide kids with a quality play space. But let’s be real — without money, your grand plans will never leave the drawing board. Budget considerations include safety surfacing, site preparation, shipping of equipment, installation, and ongoing maintenance.

Playground grants can help you bridge the gap between your budget and necessary costs. There are many charitable foundations and nonprofits devoted to children’s fitness and well-being that allocate funds. Many local and federal government agencies offer assistance as well.

When you apply for playground equipment grants, you’ll need to provide detailed information about your plans including what type of equipment will meet your goals. You’ll also want to consider any compliance stipulations set forth by the granting group. Make sure you are up-to-speed on safety guidelines to assure these agencies that your proposed plans will meet all appropriate safety standards.

Ultimately, a successful playground renovation gives children a better opportunity to enjoy vigorous exercise and creative expression. It improves the space kids have for organized games and unstructured play.

If increasing the physical size of your playground and purchasing new equipment are beyond the scope of your budget at this time, you and your team can get creative. Parks and Rec departments and schools working with tight budgets implemented the following small-scale changes and saw a real impact as a result:

Put On A Show. Create a “performance” area, a small area for a stage with seating in front of it. It’s an affordable way to give kids a place for creative expression. For not a lot of money, you can buy a supply of loose props to help kids unleash their inner thespian or musician.

It’s Just a Phase. If your group can’t undertake a full-scale renovation all at once, consider doing the work in phases. You might consider building out play structures for younger kids (kindergarten and elementary school), then focusing on larger, more challenging installations for older kids. Kids get excited about each new phase and can’t wait to see what’s next.

Get Everyone Involved. A handful of volunteers can make a big difference. Ask a church youth group to come paint aging play structures. Know some retired folks who are handy with tools? Ask them if they’d be willing to make benches or picnic tables. Get the community involved, and they’ll become a partner in keeping your playground nice. The kids and their families can enjoy small improvements over time and the community volunteers will feel pride and a sense of accomplishment. After all, parks and playground renovations benefit entire communities!

Give Budding Artists a Canvas. Install an outdoor chalkboard or “graffiti wall” for drawing murals and other artwork. No, you don’t have to hand the kids cans of spray paint (that’s a BAD idea, in case you’re wondering), but they can have endless creative fun with water-soluble paints or colored chalk.

Get Your Game On. With some paint and some imagination, the top of a picnic table can become a chess/checker board. An unused area of asphalt can become a hopscotch area. Turn under-used surfaces into games and other opportunities for collaborative play.

Think Inside the Box. If you need a low-cost addition for the youngest visitors to your playground, a sandbox is a no-brainer. Keep it stocked with plastic shovels and pails and you’ll keep toddlers occupied. Keeping the sand clean and within the box is important, so make sure you have the resources for ongoing maintenance.

Include Inclusivity. If you only have enough money to make a few changes, use it to ensure your playground is accessible to all children. Inclusive equipment will help children with disabilities feel included and give them the developmental benefits of outdoor play.

Upgrade the Surfacing. If safety is the main motivator behind your planned upgrades, look for opportunities to protect kids from falls. Gravel and wood chips don’t offer the protection you need, and they make it harder for children who use walking devices or wheelchairs to get around. Replacing wood chips with poured-in-place rubber surfacing or bonded rubber mulch makes play areas easier for kids who need walking assistance. It makes the play area safer for everyone, too.

Public school administrators, commercial park owners, school boards, and parks administrators have a lot to consider when planning a playground renovation: accessibility and ADA compliance, sustainability, safety, maintenance costs, and child engagement. No Fault Sport Group can help you find affordable playground surfacing for a fun and safe space to play.

Renovating Your Playground on a Budget – Part 1

No Fault Safety Surface installed for Arkansas Children’s Hospital Playground in Little Rock, AR


This post is the first of a two-part series on renovating playgrounds on a tight budget. It addresses the need for planning. Part 2 will examine a number of ways to fund such renovations.

Playgrounds offer opportunities to learn through imagination and exploration. Having a fun and safe environment can make a big difference in a child’s life. Keeping a playground “fun” and “safe” is an ongoing challenge, however. Many communities and schools want to update or renovate their play areas, but find themselves constrained by tight budgets.

Not sure where to start? Whether you’re upgrading a playground for your school, church, or community, there are some things to remember as you make a plan.

You don’t always need a big budget to revamp your playground. What you do need is a schedule. To create one, you’ll need to thoroughly assess your available space, how much you can spend, and the needs of the kids who play there. Whether you’re seeking additional funding or trying to make the most with what you have, it is a good idea to get a clear vision of what you need to achieve. Ask yourself (and your team) these questions:

  • What outcome do we need?
  • What is the need/primary use for your playground?
  • Who currently uses the play area?
  • Who do we want to attract to the play area?
  • What benefits will the play area bring?
  • When is our deadline?
  • Do we have enough space?
  • Do we need planning permission?

Start by looking at what your playground has now and what it lacks. Is it space you need? If there’s not enough open space for running and other gross motor activity, look for ways to create that space. Is it more equipment you seek? A renovation should add or improve opportunities for children to engage in both group and individual play.

Focus on the areas that need the most attention. If there is any broken equipment, should you fix it, replace it, or remove it entirely? Is there a section of the playground that doesn’t get used much? Consider doing something with that space that might be more popular.

Don’t make assumptions about what you need without fully understanding how your playground is being used today. Simply observing kids in their natural habitat (your playground) will give you this understanding. For example, are the kids standing around waiting their turn on a popular slide? If so, think about adding another one.

Also, seek input from the adults who come to your playground — parents, teachers and other community members. Ask what they would like to see. Natural features, landscaping, and safety surfacing around playground equipment are all things that children probably won’t think about, but their parents will.

(That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ask kids for their input, however. They are the ones who will be using the playground. Their insights may be just as vital and informative.)

Public school administrators, commercial park owners, school boards, and parks administrators have a lot to consider when planning a playground renovation: accessibility and ADA compliance, sustainability, safety, maintenance costs and child engagement. No Fault Sport Group can help you find affordable playground surfacing for a fun and safe space to play.