Here at No Fault Sport Group, we get asked a lot who can paint safety surfaces and equipment when it’s time for a playground renovation.
Most community playgrounds (whether at a park, school or church) are on tight budgets, so buying supplies and hiring someone to do the playground work isn’t always a realistic option. But there is good news. If your playground serves your community, chances are there is a service organization willing to help you paint and perform other needed maintenance and renovations.
In fact, here are a few service organizations that might be willing to help you paint your playgrounds.
The Association of Junior Leagues International, Inc.
The Association of Junior Leagues International, Inc. (AJLI) is an organization of women promoting voluntarism and improving communities through educational and charitable activities. Since its founding in 1901 by social activist Mary Harriman, The Junior League has evolved into one of the oldest, largest and most effective women’s volunteer organizations in the world, with 150,000 members in 291 Leagues in four countries.
The Junior League of Baton Rouge is a great example. Their Painted Playground project focuses on playground revitalization and includes painting and purchasing new equipment to promote physical exercise and outdoor play. Click here to find the Junior League nearest you.
You may have heard the saying, “A burden heavy to one is borne lightly by many.” This philosophy is at the core of the Moose organization. Moose is an international organization dedicated to bringing communities closer together and celebrating life.
Every year, the Moose organization contributes up to $100 million worth of monetary donations, volunteer hours worked, and miles driven. With a combined membership of over 1,000,000 members in the Loyal Order of Moose and Women of the Moose, their presence is felt in over 1,500 communities.
National AMBUCS, Inc.
Founded in 1922, National AMBUCS, Inc. is a charitable service organization dedicated to creating mobility and independence for people with disabilities. The organization awards scholarships to therapists and donates AmTryke therapeutic tricycles, which have hand and foot operations for those with disabilities.
In Amarillo, Texas, the AMBUCS Southwest Chapter donated $394,900 toward building an accessible playground with swings and a zip line specially made for children in wheelchairs. It was Amarillo’s first playground with equipment accessible to children with disabilities. Click here to Find an AMBUCS chapter near you.
The National Exchange Club
Founded in 1911, The National Exchange Club is a service organization serving communities through more than 650 local-level clubs. These chapters use their time and talents to benefit their communities through projects in Americanism, Community Service, Youth Programs, and the organization’s National Project, the prevention of child abuse. Members strive to inspire communities to become better places to live. Click here to see if there is a club near you.
Optimist Clubs around the world are dedicated to “Bringing Out the Best in Kids.” Adult volunteers join Optimist Clubs to conduct positive service projects in their communities aimed at providing a helping hand to youth. With their upbeat attitude, Optimist Club members help empower young people to be the best that they can be.
For example, in Stephenville, Texas, playground equipment at parks and schools bears the name and logo of the local Optimist Club. Since being chartered in 1966, the chapter has raised more than $1,000,000 for youth projects. All donations stay in the community and are used to fund projects that range from uniforms for t-ball teams to afterschool programs to scout houses and playground equipment. Click here to find an Optimist Club near you.
Here are a few more service organizations that you might find in your area:
- Civitan International, founded in 1917 and based in Birmingham, Alabama, serves individual and community needs with an emphasis on developmental disabilities. Civitan has member clubs in 37 countries, all working through direct financial support and hands-on projects to assist people affected by developmental disabilities.
- Since 1915, Kiwanis clubs, located in 75 nations, keep service at the heart of every project. Members plan 150,000 projects and raise nearly $107 million every year for communities, families and projects.
- Founded in 1917, Lions Club International are men and women who volunteer their time to humanitarian causes making their community better. As the world’s largest service organization (with 1.35 million members worldwide), Lions are best known for their vision programs, including the world’s largest blindness prevention program. Lions also volunteer for many different kinds of community projects such as caring for the environment, feeding the hungry and aiding seniors and the disabled.
A Final Note About Paint
If you’re lucky enough to enlist a local service organization to help paint your playground, you’ll need to make sure they have the right materials. Questions we hear a lot include: Can the poured-in-place rubber (PIP) be painted? What about tiles and mulch? Is there a certain kind of paint to buy?
No Fault Safety Surface (poured-in-place rubber) and No Fault Safety Tile can be painted; the mulch can’t. However, our No Fault Rubber Mulch comes in a variety of colors (black, dark brown, green or terra cotta), and our colors are resistant to fading even after many years of use.
Remember, a good semi-gloss acrylic coating made for industrial and marine applications should do the trick. Or you could use an industrial latex paint (the same kind used to stripe tracks.) Our playground material is EPDM rubber, which is the same rubber that’s used on running tracks — it just has larger granules.
Finally, if you’re not sure about how to care for or paint your playground equipment (including No Fault products) just contact us at 1-800-NFSPORT (637-7678, and we’ll be happy to help!
Spending time with your child on the playground is truly one of life’s simple pleasures. You know these precious years are fleeting, so you want to enjoy them while they last, right?
Exploring the playground alongside your child is a great way to enjoy this time together, but there is one instance when you should step back and let your little ones explore alone. Some parents have found out the hard way that going down the slide with their kids can result in sprains, fractures, or worse.
Heather Clare’s story (from US Weekly magazine) is just one example. In 2015, she went down a slide with her 12-month-old daughter. The photo (linked in the article above) shows the exact moment when something horrific happened.
Parents like Heather think they’re keeping their child stay safe by going down the slide with them, but the risk of serious injury is significant. A heavy adult behind a small child means a leg turned in the wrong direction can quickly bend too far. That’s what Heather’s daughter (Meadow) experienced when her leg broke while the mother and daughter rode down the slide together.
According to the US Weekly Article written by Rachel P. Abrahamson, Heather shared the photo hoping to spare other parents and children from the same pain her daughter felt and the guilt that she feels over the incident. Abrahamson goes on to mention that the emergency room doctor advised there is no safe way to go down a slide with your child, and that the weight of a person behind the child doesn’t allow them to stop if a limb gets caught.
How does it happen? Shoes with rubber soles create traction. When a child goes down a slide wearing rubber-soled shoes, the shoes can stick to the surface of the slide. Legs can bend and torsos can twist. Normally, the child pulls his or her leg back in the correct direction and continues down the slide. But when you add the weight of a full-grown parent behind the child, there isn’t time to stop and straighten out the legs. They keep getting pushed forward.
According to an abstract from the U.S. Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, the injury is often a tibia spiral fracture (break of the shin bone). Every year, orthopedic specialists see toddlers and young children with these injuries. An estimated 352,698 children under the age of 6 were injured riding a slide while on a parent’s lap in the United States between 2002 and 2015. One study tracked kids at Winthrop Hospital in Mineola, New York and found that nearly 14 percent of pediatric leg fractures over an 11-month period involved toddlers riding down the slide with a parent. The study also showed that every single slide injury for kids under 3 happened while riding on a parent’s lap.
If you have a very small child and don’t feel comfortable letting them ride alone, place them on the slide at the halfway point while you stand next to the slide. Hold their hand as they go down. Take off their shoes if they’re wearing rubber-soled sneakers, and make sure your child’s legs don’t touch the sides or sliding surface.
While you’re on the playground, watching your little one go down the slide, there are a couple of additional things to be mindful of. Hot slide surfaces can be very consequential. Direct sunlight can heat plastic and metal slides enough to cause serious injuries. Surprisingly, it doesn’t even have to be all that hot outside.
Be sure your kids are wearing long pants if the play equipment feels hot to the touch, and always be sure to touch the surface of the slide on a sunny day before letting your child climb on.
The other common slide safety issue is insufficient safety surfacing. Falls around slides are inevitable, so the area around a slide needs to provide some protection. Asphalt and concrete don’t offer any shock-absorbing protection, but grass and dirt aren’t much better.
Safety-tested poured-in-place rubber surfacing or rubber mulch from No Fault can help prevent injuries. This surfacing should extend at least 6 feet around play equipment and be professionally installed. Give us a call at 1–866–NFSPORT (637-7678) if you need to protect the hard surfaces in your play area; our experts will be happy to answer your questions and “slide into” the right safety surfacing products to fit your needs.
No Fault partnered with Northland Recreation to provide our No Fault Safety Surface for the “Wadewitz Dream Big Playground” at Wadewitz Elementary School in Racine, Wisconsin. Wadewitz Elementary School is a large kindergarten through 5th grade school with more than 600 students in the Racine Unified School District. Because they currently have 12 children in wheelchairs and many other children with different physical and developmental disabilities, they had a need for an inclusive playground. In fact, 22% of the school’s students have special needs. Their old playground was not accessible at all, almost 20 years old, and in very bad shape.
The Wadewitz playground committee was a small group of 7 teachers/staff members plus the principal. They had a “big dream” of making their playground an area where all students could play together. Northland Recreation started working with the school on planning its playground in September of 2016, and the committee never stopped their fundraising efforts.
Their hard work fundraising over the past few years combined with the generosity from the community made it possible for the dream of an inclusive playground to become a reality. To help control costs, the school decided on a community install. Northland Recreation sent several supervisors to help manage the week-long equipment installation. The community of Racine stepped up and put their construction skills to work assembling this large playground.
The total project was around 6,200 square feet and featured a bright green poured-in-place surface. Having the full rubber surfacing was an important part of making this playground accessible and welcoming to all the students. The No Fault Safety Surface is perfect for this inclusive playground since it’s slip-resistant, safe, and allows greater accessibility for wheelchairs and other mobility devices. The beautiful green color of the surfacing really complements the play equipment that was chosen. Beauty and safety combine to make a unique and attractive play space!
The new playground has two main areas. The first area is ramped up to 48” and features many inclusive components. It includes different sensory play panels and slides. This main structure is linked by the Little Tikes NRG Hoop Alley to a secondary area. This secondary structure features components that are a little taller and more challenging for the older children. In addition to the structures, there are many independent and ground level activities that are fun for everyone. Some of these include the revolution spinner, two of Little Tikes’ new Concerto musical components, the wobble sphere, and more play panels.
Just like any other project, there was a tight timeline to get this playground area completed for the grand opening. With the cooperation of Mother Nature, the hard work of school volunteers, and the partnership between No Fault and Northland Recreation, we were able to pull it off. The public was elated at the grand opening celebration. The students and the community will enjoy this playground for years to come!
Lisa Johnson with Wadewitz Elementary School stated, “The Wadewitz Dream Big Playground has been a dream come true for our school and community. After years of hard work, it is so heart warming to see our kids smile and play with all of their peers.”
For more information on our No Fault Safety Surface, give us a call at 1-866-NFSPORT (637-7678). Our friendly account managers are ready to help you design the playground of your dreams. So dream big!