Playgrounds are a great place to encourage active play in children. Large arm and leg movements that go along with playing on the playground have been shown to greatly reduce the risk of childhood obesity. Appreciation for physical activity at a young age is also linked with the development of healthy exercise habits later in life.

Despite the benefits playgrounds have to offer, many are underutilized during hot summer months, particularly in areas with high temperatures like Arizona and Florida. This is often due to a lack of shade. When there is not enough shade, playground equipment gets too hot to the touch. Common culprits are slides, monkey bars and dark colored playground flooring. Children can more easily experience symptoms of overheating and/or heat exhaustion when sufficient shade is not present on the playground.

Ensure your playground equipment and those at play are protected this season with playground shade structures. Shades bring several benefits to playgrounds.

  1. Playground equipment is cooler to the touch. Playground shade structures enable children to use equipment more comfortably for longer periods of time, extending their periods of physical activity.
  2. Playground equipment lasts longer when protected from the sun. Once an investment in playground equipment has been made, it is important to protect it with the installment of playground shade structures and/or natural shade.
  3. Children and caregivers can more easily protect their skin from overexposure. Surprisingly, experts say one intense sunburn in childhood can cause skin cancer later in life.

For tips on how to best choose and use sunscreen as well as how to best soothe a sunburn, check Nemours Children’s Health System’s list of recommendations.

Another helpful resource includes a guide by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for schools on playground shade structures. The manual, titled “Shade Planning for America’s Schools”explains why schools should care about skin cancer, factors that affect UV radiation levels as well as strategies for providing adequate shade. Approaches include the use of solid roof structures, shade cloth structures and/or natural shade.

Playgrounds last longer in the shade! Get the most out of your equipment today.