October 08, 2019

Three Ways to Maximize Your Playground Budget

A Lot of Play for a Lot Less

One of the first things people ask when considering a new play area for a school, church or youth center is "how much will a new playground cost?" High-quality commercial playground equipment that is designed to withstand decades of use and environmental conditions can cost between $15,000 and $40,000. A good rule of thumb is to budget about $1,000 per child. For example if you want to build a playground that accommodates 30 children at once, plan on spending about $30,000 for the equipment. (installation, safety surfacing and other amenities or services are not included in this estimate).

Looking for playground funding? Request a copy of our funding guide. It's filled with local, regional and national grant sources to help you build the playground of your dreams. 

When looking at an investment of this size, many customers ask "how can I get the most out of my playground budget?" This is always a good question to ask to ensure you're providing the maximum amount of play and play value within your means. You want to make sure the playground addresses the needs of as many children as possible now and in the future. 

Here are three ways to make your playground dollars go further:

1. Select Play Systems with a Smaller Footprint

PrimeTime play systems use a smaller deck to pack lots of play into a smaller space.

Many play systems use large deck platforms to provide maximum capacity in high use areas like city parks. But not everyone needs a playground structure of that scale. Smaller, but no less durable, systems like PrimeTime from GameTime, utilize our patented  DirectBolt® connections for compliant, easy installation, durable steel and plastic construction for long-term use, and an extensive collection of play components that provide a wide range of cognitive and developmental benefits for children of all ages. PrimeTime also utilizes a 36” deck platform that reduces the overall footprint of system designs, resulting in less surfacing required for your play area and a lower overall cost.


2. Use a Combination of Safety Surfaces

Consider using EWF when possible to lower your playground safety surfacing costs.


Poured-in-place rubber surfacing or tiles are low maintenance options for a playground, but carry a higher cost for installation. Engineered wood fiber (EWF) is a popular choice for projects with initial budget constraints. EWF provides superior fall attenuation at the lowest installation cost and offers an attractive, natural look. Use a combination of surfacing types to ensure accessibility to and throughout the play area and to lower overall surfacing costs. 

3. Consider Freestanding Play

Freestanding play activities, like Expression Swing, encourage social and cooperative play and cost less than large play structures.

Instead of a single large play system, consider a smaller play structure and using freestanding play throughout your play area to create fun, interactive activities that encourage imaginative and dramatic play, physical activity or social/cooperative interaction. Freestanding play activities may also be added adjacent to an existing structure to add additional play value to a playground.

We're Here to Help!

The best strategy for maximizing your playground budget is to work with a play expert who will take time to get to know your needs, and your budget. We have decades of experience helping customers create a playground that fits specific budget and space constraints. We offer one of the largest selections of play components (slides, swings, climbers and ladders, and more) so you can find the right mix of play activities at a budget you can afford. Contact the GameTime playground expert in your neighborhood, and start planning a play system that maximizes your budget and maximizes fun for families!