For granddaughter, considering :
Rubber chunks (recycled truck tires) very expensive and some issues
New product called sofplay - it is some sort of astroturf like with
mat under it
Wood chips - mulch
Any thoughts, anyone familiar with sofplay
Sand draws cats, and is very hard on bare knees in summer. It also won't
stay where you put it. IMHO, grass is best, and either live with the divots
right under the swings, or stake the thing down with augers so you can move
it every few weeks, intead of putting the legs in holes.
I like the biodegradeability of mulch. I have to keep it raked every couple
of weeks to give it a little loft and occassionally I wet it to prevent
splinters. In the 23 years that I've been doing thisfor my kids and
grandkids we've had no splinters, no cat crap, nothing that makes me want to
No idea. It sort of came with the house. :)
I think you are over-planning this. Unless you are setting up your play
area over a cement pad, or the children's parents are highly litigious, you
really don't need anything under the swingset other than dirt and grass.
Chuckle. Amen, Sister! When I was a wee one, if the ruts under the swingset
got too hard, or too muddy, we'd just yank the thing out of the ground and
move it over a few feet. Posthole digger made short work of creating new
pockets to drop the legs into, if the ground was too hard to simply push the
tubes or pipes in. Even at the public park, on the big-ass swingsets, it was
(and AFAIK, still is) plain old dirt and grass underneath. In grade school,
the jungle gym had ASPHALT under it.
I never saw any of those 'safety' ground covers until the late 70s, after a
few schools or cities got sued because the little darlings got scuffed up.
Hell, I was in high school in the early 70s, before the parks and schools
all switched to the sling-style 'safety seats' on the swings, that held your
butt more tightly.
Yes, you should teach kids to 'play nice', and crowded playgrounds should
have parents or school staff monitoring to give a time-out to kids that get
hyper-aggressive or start feeling immortal. But kids on playgrounds ARE
gonna get scuffed up once in a while. It is part of being a kid, and 99.99%
of the time, is no big deal. A couple of scraped knees is a real good way to
learn that jumping off the swing at the high point isn't a good idea. Unless
the kid has unusual medical conditions like brittle bones or something,
common-sense precautions (no pieces of pipe sticking out of ground, or sharp
corners on equipment, etc.) are all that is called for, IMHO.
Look up some chart recommendations for many materials w.r.t.
"safe fall distance".
Figure what the maximum fall height is, the charts will
make suggestions as to what they think appropriate for that height,
and work from there.
Strange as it may sound, a 4-6" bed of pea gravel is just about as
good as vastly more expensive solutions like rubber. 8-10' fall
distance, doesn't grow anything, and doesn't attract cats.
Sand, depending on the type and how compacted it gets, is almost
as good, but it tracks, can grow things, and attracts cats.
The natural sand unders ours is always quite loose, so we didn't
have to bother. Didn't track, because it had grass on it ;-)
Age and Treachery will Triumph over Youth and Skill
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