It’s been nearly two years since the pandemic prompted indoor lockdowns and restrictions as we’ve never seen before. To combat the mental and physical strain, people have sought refuge at parks, playgrounds, and other outdoor recreational areas. A 2021 report by the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) found seven in 10 people have either maintained or increased their use of public parks and trails during the pandemic. Along with exercise, respondents said they frequent outdoor environments like parks to spend time with family and friends, alleviate day-to-day stress, and bring them closer to nature.
The NRPA and other industry experts say this desire for outdoor recreation will continue to increase as people realize the importance of physical and social interactions. Parks and playgrounds not only have a deeply positive effect on a child’s holistic development, but they also improve the overall physical and mental wellbeing of people of all ages.
At Furniture Leisure, we couldn’t agree more. Parks and playgrounds are the perfect places to socialize, exercise, and rejuvenate the soul. That’s why we offer an expansive collection of outdoor furniture and equipment that promotes health and positivity.
In fact, we see four trends gaining popularity in the park and playground segments that are creating safe and enjoyable experiences for more people:
- Inclusive playgrounds that attract all ability levels
- Furniture accessories that protect visitors from the elements
- Outdoor fitness spaces that offer a variety of ways to exercise
- Outside classroom settings that foster creativity and learning
As we dive deeper into these top trends, we’ll highlight some of our product solutions that serve park-goers’ needs while improving your surroundings.
Inclusive playgrounds that offer something for everyone
As people continue to live longer and more family households include multi-generational members, they need versatile activity areas that interest all ages and abilities. A variety of play equipment, seating, and outdoor conveniences promote intergenerational connections and overall wellness benefits. Provide playhouses for small children like the Ringmaster Playhouse that not only captivates them with its numbered stairs and elongated slide, it also helps them learn balance, shapes, and colors.
Encourage children to be more active and build confidence with playground sets that feature a range of activities – from easy crawl-through areas and slides to more challenging ladders and trapeze bars. Our Expedition Playground Set has all this and more, including ADA transfer areas so children of all abilities can partake in the fun.
For older visitors who want to watch their grandkids play, create comfortable seating areas nearby that contain an assortment of benches with backings and wheelchair-accessible picnic tables. By adapting your outdoor area to meet a wider age range and needs, you will create a more inclusive, welcoming environment for all visitors.
Shades that protect from the sun
If you attract more people to your outdoor areas, you must also protect them from the elements, especially in parts of the country where temperatures can reach triple digits. Shade structures over playground equipment protect children from the sun’s harmful UV rays and lower the temperature of the shaded area by 15 to 20 degrees. Furniture Leisure has shade structures for playsets that cover a 1,000 sq. ft. area and have an entry height of up to 12 feet. Made of commercial-grade fabric and heavy-duty steel, our UV-protected canopies are strong enough to deflect hail and withstand wind gusts up to 90 mph.
Provide added comfort for people at benches and tables with non-intrusive shades like our Tornado Shade Structure Umbrella, which offers protection and, at the same time, style and color to your outdoor area. Also for longevity in the utmost weather protection, a metal top park shelter can be considered. A more comfortable sitting area encourages visitors to spend more time picnicking, socializing, and enjoying their surroundings. At Furniture Leisure, we have an array of umbrellas, shelters, and shade structures for every area of your park and playground. Call Shannon, our resident shade expert, at 1-800-213-2401 to find the ideal shade products for your space.
Expanded outdoor fitness areas
The closing of indoor gyms and fitness centers at the onset of COVID forced people to find alternative ways to exercise and stay fit. Even now, as some gyms have reopened, many are not comfortable working out in confined spaces with others.
Over the years, outdoor fitness areas and obstacle courses have popped up across the country. Now, as user demand is skyrocketing, more communities are including these amenities to meet the growing need. In addition to dedicated fitness spaces, consider adding obstacle courses with equipment or walking trails with exercise stations. From sit-up benches and balancing boards to cardio-boosting air walkers and ladders, integrate a variety of outdoor fitness equipment from Furniture Leisure that accommodates all levels and abilities – including those with disabilities. Designed for use by people 13 and older, our equipment offerings have ADA-accessible options and stand up to regular use and harsh weather conditions.
Outside learning spaces that foster a comfortable teaching environment
Another trend making its way outdoors is the addition of dedicated learning areas to replace or supplement indoor classrooms. Along with providing a safer group atmosphere, outside learning spaces promote participation and play, and enable schools to provide a hybrid teaching environment where children can learn in alternate surroundings.
Browse Furniture Leisure’s extensive catalog of outdoor classroom furniture to build your own custom learning environment, or select one of our prebuilt classroom packages that include seats, a canopy, a trash receptacle, and a sanitation station.
As people’s needs evolve to adapt, so should your outdoor spaces. These 2022 trends will soon become benchmarks for parks, playgrounds, schools, and other public spaces. The warm weather will be here before you know it, so now is the time to order equipment to improve your outside space. For help with all your outdoor equipment needs, speak with one of our Furniture Leisure experts at 1-800-213-2401.