Common (and Less Common) Playground Terms

In the market to build a new playground? If so, expanding your knowledge of these different playground terms will help you separate what makes a great playground and what makes a "just okay" playground. 

Let's dive in:

Accessible: Playground equipment that can be accessed by users of all abilities.

ASTM: ASTM International is the international governing body for standards. The applicable playground standard is F1487.

Border: Material that outlines the footprint or safety zone of a playground. Borders contain loose full surfacing, mitigating displacement and maintaining the fall height.

CPSI: A Certified Playground Safety Inspector (CPSI) has the knowledge to inspect and determine the safety level of a playground.

CSA: Canadian Standards Association (CSA), the governing body for standards in Canada. The applicable playground standard is CSA Z614.

Critical Height: The maximum height of play equipment that a life-threatening head injury is not likely to occur at.

Elevated Play Component: Play equipment that can only be accessed from the play

Embankment Slide: A slide that follows the contour of the ground and is not greater than 300mm above the ground at any point. An embankment slide is commonly known as a hill slide.

Entanglement: The event where something on a user’s body is caught on the play equipment.

Entrapment: The event where a body part has entered, but cannot be removed from between two or more play components.

Fall Height: The distance that could result in injury from a potential fall.

Footing: The method and location of anchoring the play equipment to the ground.

Footprint: The area reserved for play equipment.

Ground Level Play Component: Play equipment that can be accessed from the ground without having to climb onto a play structure or component.

Inclusive: A play experience that users of all abilities are able to enjoy and participate in.

Independent Play: Play equipment that is not connected to a play structure.

IPEMA: The International Play Equipment Manufacturer’s Association (IPEMA) provides certifications indicating that the playground equipment or safety surfacing has met the requirements of the CSA standard.

Independent Play: Play equipment that is not connected to a play structure.

Kinetic Play: Play equipment that rocks, rotates, spins, or swings.

Loose-Fill Surfacing: Surfacing that is surrounded by a border to keep it in place. Common examples include pea gravel, sand, engineered-wood-fiber.

Modular Play: Play equipment that contains loose parts and does not have a safety zone.

Natural Play: Play equipment that is modeled after the environment.

Play Types: Activities that can be found throughout a playground. The 6 most common play types are swinging, sliding, climbing, balancing, spinning, and brachiating.

Play Structure: Play equipment that is linked or built together to form a cohesive play experience.

Projection: An extension from the play equipment that can be either an entanglement or a protrusion, or both.

Protrusion: An projection that has the potential to cause injury upon impact

Safety Surfacing: Material that absorbs shock and helps prevent injuries from falls.

Safety Zone: The area surrounding play equipment that requires safety surfacing.

Transfer Platform: A component that allows a person with limited mobility to navigate from their wheelchair onto the play structure.

Unitary Surfacing: Surfacing that is held together by a binding agent. Common examples include poured-in-place rubber, rubber tiles, and turf.

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