May 26, 2016

Site Furniture for Kids

With the school year coming to an end and children anxiously awaiting summers of parks, playgrounds and pools, we are turning our attention in this post towards the kids. When planning an outdoor space, it is important to consider your pint-sized patrons and how to best accommodate their site furniture needs and overall safety.

Thendara children's bench at a playground

The three main areas to consider for kid-friendly site furnishings are the required function, the children’s safety, and age-appropriate design.

Function

What functions should your site furnishings provide to meet the needs of families with children? Some possible examples include:

  • Accommodate bicycle parking – Bike racks are necessary in most schools, parks and playground settings – especially in neighborhoods that promote and encourage bike transportation.

    Sonance bike rack at a playground
  • Maintain clean surroundings – With kids comes a constant debris field of snack wrappers, juice boxes, tissues, gum and other litter possibilities. Keep trash in its place with well-placed trash cans and simple instructions.

    Midtown split litter and recycling receptacle with decals
  • Provide picnic areas – Facilitate all-day adventures by providing an area for kids to break for a picnic lunch. Powder coated steel picnic tables are a durable solution with easy-to-clean surfaces.
  • Offer seating for parents – While kids are off playing, make sure to offer spots for parents to sit and enjoy the view. Place benches within easy viewing distance of play areas.

    Lamplighter bench at a playground
  • Establish a “Buddy” Bench – A concept gaining attention across the country, a “Buddy” or “Friendship” bench installed at a school playground offers a way to promote inclusion and kindness among children. A bench with a simple message of friendship customized into it helps to establish an outlet for lonely kids looking for a friend.

Safety

How can your site furnishings help with safety concerns?

  • Bollards – Appropriately-placed posts can be used to deter traffic from play areas and keep children safe from moving vehicles.
  • Tables and chairs – Consider one-unit table sets or bolted seats like our Easton or Saxony table sets. These types of tables help to prevent tipping seats or children hurting themselves by lifting heavy chairs.

    Hapsburg table sets at a playground
  • Metal furnishings – Steel furnishings offer the benefit of not cracking or splintering like wood products often do. This prevents the possibility of scratches and splinters.
  • Keep kid areas smoke-free – Use ash receptacles in defined smoking areas that are far from where children play.
  • Address entrapment issues – Furnishings should adhere to building code designs and must have openings smaller than 4 inches or larger than 9 inches to avoid any possibility of head entrapment.

Design

Finally, when working on a project geared towards children, it always helps to create a colorful and whimsical space that builds on kids’ imagination.

  • Keep it colorful – Use custom colors to bring out the fun in furnishings – bright pink, lime green, sparkle colors and more.

    Children's Gathering table with bright colored floor mats
  • Kid-size amenities – To meet the kids at their level, include furnishings that are sized just for them. Keystone Ridge Designs offers a unique line called Puddin Drippins that is specifically geared towards children.

    Reading benches for adults and children
  • Unique customizations – Think out of the box on how to customize furnishings to create the look and feel of a kid-themed environment. Use colorful decal logos, playful laser cut shapes or ideas designed entirely from scratch.

    Atlanta litter receptacle with basketball themed laser cuts

In our world of electronic devices, there is always a push to get kids moving outside and enjoying outdoor spaces. Using site furniture appropriately can help to provide cleaner, safer and more enjoyable public areas for children to engage in outdoor play.

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