If you manage a school playground, summer is the perfect time to tackle maintenance and ensure your playground is safe and ready for another year of use. Here is everything you need to know to tackle summer playground maintenance with ease and keep students happy, healthy, and safe.
1. Schedule a Playground Inspection
The first item on our summer playground maintenance checklist is to schedule a playground inspection as soon as school lets out. This will give you as much time as possible to make any required repairs or updates before class is back in session.
The summer is also a great time to schedule out your playground inspections for the entire year. While your needs will vary based on the type of play structures and/or freestanding components you have, quarterly inspections are a good place to start.
Many schools aren’t sure where to begin when it comes to playground inspections. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, you can opt to have a professional inspection service take a look at your structure, or use a playground inspection software like Park Protector.
2. Survey Playground Surfaces, Fences, Signage, and More
In addition to having your playground equipment inspected, you’ll want to ensure the safety of your surface and any other elements near your play space. If you have a loose-fill surface, check for low spots under swings and at the base of slides. As part of your summer playground maintenance, you may also want to flush any loose-fill surfaces to clean them thoroughly and remove hazards and debris.
If you have a unitary or solid surface, look for rips, holes, and other damage. If you notice your play area has seen better days, you may want to consider having your surface tested to ensure it meets playground safety standards.
You’ll also want to inspect surrounding structures like fencing for holes and sharp edges. And, ensure you have adequate safety signage around your play area to reinforce rules and keep students safe.
3. Tackle Repairs
Once your playground inspection is complete, you can create a to-do list of repairs and maintenance tasks to have completed during the summer. Be proactive and take this time to get ahead of elements that may need repair or replacement shortly after school starts. It’s also the perfect time to consider any aesthetic updates you may want to make like repainting or resurfacing your equipment.
If the past school year has taken a toll on your playground, you may even want to consider a playground facelift as part of your summer playground maintenance. This cost-effective, environmentally-friendly restoration service helps you renew your playground equipment without replacing it entirely.
4. Check for Pests
Bees, wasps, hornets, and other wildlife can take up residence on your playground in the spring and summer. Removing nests and repairing damage over the summer will make for a safer playground in the fall without requiring a closure during the school year.
5. Assess Cleaning Procedures
COVID-19 guidelines have eased up, but safety and sanitization are still an important part of your summer playground maintenance plan. Be sure to review any cleaning procedures with your maintenance or janitorial team to ensure your equipment is being maintained properly.
It’s also a great time to review the products you use on your playground. Not all cleaning products are made equal, and many don’t meet the high-traffic disinfecting needs of schools.
Look for playground cleaning products that:
- Contain disinfecting and sanitizing ingredients (many cleaners don’t)
- Are non-toxic, non-irritating, and fragrance-free
- Are concentrated and low-cost for regular use
- Contain non-corrosive ingredients to extend the life of your playground
Looking for assistance with cleaning and sanitizing your structures? Check out our playground sanitizing services to connect with one of our experts.
6. Update Your Annual Playground Budget
Now that you’ve had the chance to take a closer look at your playground and complete your summer playground maintenance tasks, it’s time to sit down and create a budget for the upcoming school year. Your budget should account for:
- Playground inspections
- Cleaning and sanitizing products/services
- Equipment repairs
- Surfacing repair and replacement as needed
Any additional budget you may have can go toward projects like:
- Replacing outdated playground structures or freestanding components
- Improving the accessibility of your playground equipment
- Expanding or adding to your current playground equipment
7. Review Playground Safety Rules and Procedures
Reviewing rules and procedures not only with students, but also with teachers and staff, is key to playground safety. Set aside time before students arrive to go over safety information with adults who will monitor students on the playground. Don't forget substitutes and parent volunteers!
Going over this information is an often overlooked but crucial component of your playground maintenance plan. Once students return, review procedures with them as well, taking extra care to highlight any new or updated rules.