Playgrounds for children are designed to get kids moving and active right from the first moment they set foot in the space. From tube slides to riding animals and sand pits, the goal of every designer is to present children with enough variety of versatile activities to keep them engaged every time they visit. At the same time, the playground designer must also consider which activities will provide the most benefits for their young guests.
Different types of playground equipment offer children different opportunities to grow and learn. From social interactions and relationship-building to motor control and muscle development, there are plenty of possibilities to explore. One type of playground component – the plastic climber – consistently appears on playgrounds throughout the world, and with good reason. This single piece of equipment challenges problem-solving skills, encourages strength and dexterity development, and builds confidence when the task is overcome.
Plastic climbers come in several different styles, which can add an extra element of difficulty in choosing the right one for your playground. Today, we’ll introduce you to what each of the different styles are, how they work, and how you can tell if a particular type of plastic climber would be the crowning touch for your playground project.
Panel plastic climbers extend vertically, with hand and foot grips on one side of the structure. They can easily be integrated into other playground structures, such as a slide platform, or can be standalone activities. Due to the completely vertical nature of the climb, these climbers present one of the largest challenges for children on the playground, since strength, dexterity, and willpower are all required to conquer it. While perhaps not suitable for toddlers, older children will relish the challenge these plastic climbers provide.
While other climbers are designed for both hands and feet, step climbers are designed purely to get those legs working. Composed of multiple separate steps or interconnected plastic steps, step climbers encourage children to master their sense of balance in order to progress along the structure. They may be provided with or without handrails (although we always recommend that if you opt for one without handrails, you make sure there is a soft, cushioning cover on the ground below).
You’ve likely played on an overhead climber yourself as a child, since one of the most common examples of this activity – the monkey bars – was and is a playground staple. Where step climbers challenge children’s legs, overhead climbers are all about arm strength. Overhead climbers don’t necessarily require a lot of space to install, since even single-component pieces like the Sky Spinner and Pull-Up Rings provide children with a means by which to pull themselves upwards. If your playground doesn’t have a large footprint to work with, overhead climbers are right up there with panel climbers in terms of space conservation.
Incline climbers are likely the type of plastic climber that you’ve seen most often. Set up at an angle, incline climbers like the Bedrock Climber and the Fredrock Climber provide a means of ascending from one level of the playground to another while simultaneously challenging children to carefully coordinate their movements. This type of climber is especially suitable for younger children, as crawling is one of the first forms of motion that children learn and the climber helps them further hone the skill, but kids of all ages will enjoy the challenge it provides.
Finding the Right Playground Equipment & Climbers
No matter what kind of plastic climbers you select for your playground, SPI Plastics has the playground equipment to bring your vision into reality. Since 1972, our in-house rotational molding system has allowed us to create high-quality plastic components for playgrounds all around the world. We produce plastic climbers for both indoor and outdoor playgrounds, and we’re able to work with you to create the custom climber you’ve been looking for.
If you’d like more information about plastic climbers, the playground equipment we supply or more details on what you need to construct a playground for children, give us a call at 1-800-269-6533. You can also send us a message online.