Playgrounds are essential components of any school or care center. They provide children with the opportunity to play, exercise and develop their social skills. However, one common dilemma that school, daycare and park administrators face is storage. With so many toys, balls, and equipment, playground storage is essential to keep everything organized, safe, and accessible. Here are some tips for effective playground storage.
1. Label Everything
When everyone knows what goes where, it’s easier to locate items quickly (and to put them away at the end of the day!) It also makes it easier to keep track of which items need to be replaced.
Labeling doesn’t just help with organization – labeling promotes it. This valuable tool helps to establish good habits and shows children the importance of staying organized and responsible. As a result, labeling can build a foundation for better time management and a more efficient storage management system, making playtime more enjoyable and stress-free.
Another underappreciated benefit of labeling items is that it serves to build the children’s vocabulary and promote literacy.
2. Install Storage Cabinets
Cabinets are a great way to store and organize larger items and outdoor classroom manipulatives. They provide a safe, secure, and effective solution for keeping equipment organized and easily accessible while protecting them from theft, damage, and the elements.
One of the primary benefits of cabinets as a storage solution is their versatility. They can accommodate a wide range of items, such as art materials, science equipment, and classroom manipulatives. Cabinets can also have shelves that are adjustable, providing flexibility in determining how to store items of different sizes and shapes.
Another benefit of cabinets is their ability to provide security. Outdoor classrooms or playgrounds with valuable equipment that is not stored securely may be prone to theft or damage. This also means that the equipment will be better protected from the weather and other environmental factors, such as wind, rain, or snow.
3. Use Storage Carts
Storage carts are versatile organizing tools that can be used in a variety of settings. They are designed to be compact and mobile, making them easy to move around and transport from one place to another. This feature allows them to be used in multiple areas at once, such as in different classrooms or play areas, keeping essential supplies at hand.
One of the main advantages of storage carts is that they are ideal for storing smaller items such as balls, jump ropes, and cones. These items can be challenging to keep organized due to their size, but storage carts provide a simple solution. The carts make it easy to find what you need, and can often be customized to suit your specific needs, such as adding hooks or additional compartments.
Another benefit of storage carts is that they can be easily moved and repositioned, allowing you to rearrange your space as needed. This is particularly useful in schools, where activities may change regularly. An advantage is that storage carts can be tucked away when not in use, saving valuable floor space.
4. Use Shelves and Storage Bins
Shelving and bins are ideal for storing items like helmets, pads, and other gear that need to be organized but are not too large. They also provide easy access to items and make it easy to see what is available. Storage bins come in various sizes and are perfect for storing smaller items like chalk, toys, and jump ropes. They can be stacked, making the most of vertical space, and can be easily labeled for quick identification.
Bookshelves with lids are a great addition to any outdoor preschool playground. These bookshelves can keep books safe from the elements, such as rain or snow, as well as from curious little hands who may want to take them home. The lockable lids ensure that the books are not only protected but also controlled, allowing teachers to monitor who has access to them. Moreover, these bookshelves can provide organization and cleanliness to the playground, making it more visually appealing and conducive to learning.
5. Create an Equipment Maintenance Plan
Regular maintenance of playground equipment is crucial for its longevity and for the safety of the children who use it. Even with high-quality materials and proper installation, playground equipment is subjected to wear and tear, weathering, and occasional damage. It is vital that staff members understand the importance of regular maintenance and make it a priority.
Having a schedule in place can help staff members keep track of when and what maintenance tasks need to be carried out, identify shifts in usage patterns and increase their awareness of damage or hazards that may arise. Additionally, regular maintenance can help identify issues before they become major problems, allowing for timely repairs, and extending equipment lifespan.
The Adventurous Child has created several safety checklists that can help you create a safer play environment for children.
Stay Organized, Have Fun
Effective playground storage helps to keep the outdoor classroom clean, safe, and organized. It also allows children to enjoy their playtime without the risk of obstacles or injury. By implementing these tips, administrators can maximize space, maintain equipment, and provide a safe environment for children to play.