Parents enjoy the sounds of children laughing, screeching swings and a hesitant child’s feet dragging down the slide. Smiles are the source of inspiration for local St. Louis parents such as the Fricks and Cluneys to include their children in building a personal playground. Local manufacturers such as Bergfeld Recreation and Dream Play Recreation design and sell kits that these families can have installed or turn into a family building project. There are plenty of ways to get your kids involved to make the process of adding a playground to your backyard an enjoyable experience for the whole family.
1. Let the kids choose the equipment. Approximately seven years ago, Annette Frick’s daughter enjoyed her visit to the Rainbow manufacturer where she was granted the opportunity to plan her playground by choosing what equipment she most wanted. At the age of four, her list included monkey bars and swings. The family moved to a different house a year and a half ago, but she and her brother enjoyed the playground until moving day. Frick says, “They played on that equipment year-round in all types of weather.”
2. Get them involved in the planning and building processes. Creativity and knowledge expand when children are part of the planning and building phases. Projects such as the Kolle 37, a German public space that allows children to build their own playground, suggest that children have fewer accidents when they are involved with building playgrounds. One reason may be that children perceive a higher risk of danger when they are involved and therefore take more caution while playing.
Douglas Cluney believes that his children expanded their creativity and knowledge when they helped build their family playground. Both his eldest son and his daughter helped sort out the boards for assembly. His son helped insert screws, ratcheted in bolts and held boards in place while his father connected the pieces. Once the set was complete, the children made final inspections by playing gently to ensure that each bolt and screw was securely fastened. Cluney says, “They received a lot of self-fulfillment by being included in the process and learning all of the phases needed to complete the project. I think it helped them to enjoy their play time even more.”
3. Make it a learning and bonding experience. Children who are included in the process of building a residential playground gain knowledge, decision-making skills and creativity while also enjoying family time. Bonds can be formed while parents teach their children about project management, safety with tools, patience and many more lessons. The bonds and learning experiences help children to become more aware of the world around them.
A few local resources for playground equipment include:
Bergfeld Recreation, Inc.
14100 Manchester Road
Ballwin, MO 63011
Hours: Mon to Fri – 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sat to Sun 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
For more than 50 years, Bergfeld Recreation has provided children with fun on playground equipment in schools, parks and homes. It is a family-operated business with two locations in the St. Louis metropolitan area.
Dream Play Recreation
17373 Edison Avenue
Chesterfield, MO 63005
Hours: Tue to Sat – 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sun 12 to 4 p.m.
Specializing in residential playground equipment, Dream Play Recreation serves the play needs of children in Missouri and Southern Illinois. In its more than 20-year history, the company has expanded to include four dealers in addition to the main showroom.
SportsPlay Equipment, Inc.
5642 Natural Bridge
Saint Louis, MO 63120
SportsPlay Equipment offers a line of products that include both indoor and outdoor play equipment for children of all ages.
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Holly Fox has been writing a variety of fiction, non-fiction and journalistic pieces since she was old enough to spell. She has a Journalism and Mass Communication degree from The University of Iowa as well as a graduate degree in Communications Management from Webster University. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.