Down at the park, along with great galloping fun for kids there’s something else happening: playground rubber surfacing. Constructed of recycled car and truck tires, this earth friendly product means fewer discarded tires, with extremely low decomposition rate, are headed to the landfill. This product seems safe, highly functional, and likely more prevalent in the future.
Childhood isn’t quite the same without the chance to swing through the air two feet pumping, the wind behind. Adjacent to the swings may be a play station just too tempting to overlook. There are chances to climb up, peek in, crawl through, and slide down. Over the bench a parent might be thinking, “They could fall off.” Indeed they can. Comes with the growing up.
In the history of activity area ground cover there’s been packed soil, grass or “more or less grass”, bark mulch, artificial turf, small gravel, concrete and asphalt. This more recent product, has shown to be a reliable choice. Safe for kids and earth friendly because of its diversion from land fill. So for people with backyard swings or climbers, or preschool leaders or municipal planners this idea may be worth considering at budget time.
Choices are many. The thickness can vary and the choice may be determined in part by the existing surface. Some types can be poured in place to cure like concrete, or pieced and locked. There are brands that click together or match like puzzles. One construction style of squares or rectangles pegs together with a doweling that presses the edges flush within a framework that matches the depth of the tile floored area. Some of the thinner styles simply roll out and are fastened to an existing surface.
Playground stations of activity might have adventure climbing, places for swinging or twirling, cooperative and coordination challenges and perhaps due to the excitement of the moment a child might arrive at a sudden stop, also known as a fall. Resiliency has some advantages. Think, quick, which surface would be a better crash landing, asphalt or rubber? Times up.
The compound can be suitable to various surfaces. Water parks, pool decks, curbs and walkways and other creative uses are on the manufacturer’s list of uses. Purchasers will need to do their own research on the different wear factors of each choice.
On bright sunny days, little feet would be hot hopping through the park. But under the sun, almost everything in sight is hot. However, the black asphalt attracts the sun and cools more slowly. These recycled products offer more than black, colors can vary from earth tones to primary brights.
Once installed these products can be low maintenance, so there would be no need for replanting, cutting, raking, renewing, or resealing. Most importantly, no sprinklers are required which means no unnecessary use of our ever decreasing resource: water
So maybe it’s time to go down to the park to swing a little, slide a bit and race through the water squealing with everyone else. Maybe playground rubber surfacing is an idea to bounce around.