How Playground Shelters Increase Outdoor Time for School Children

As the leading supplier of engineered fabric structures, WeatherPort® Shelter Systems products are trusted by thousands of customers spanning the globe. In academic communities, WeatherPort’s playground shelters are now helping schools adapt to a more outdoor-driven educational environment. Their custom-designed, weather-proof structures stand alone, so you can easily place them anywhere to get school children closer to the outdoors.

Benefits of Outdoor Time for Children

It’s becoming increasingly agreed upon that spending more time outdoors than indoors is better for children’s overall health. Drawing on the knowledge and expertise of physicians at Harvard Medical School, Harvard Health Publishing explains six reasons why “children need to play outside”:

  1. Sunshine: Outdoor light and vitamin D boost immune health, better sleep, and feelings of happiness.
  2. Exercise: It’s recommended children are active for at least one hour every day.
  3. Executive function: Unstructured play time helps children develop self-regulation skills, such as problem-solving and creative expression. 
  4. Taking risks: Small successes and failures allow children to develop a sense of independence that they’ll continue to build off of.  
  5. Socialization: Learning to share, take turns, cooperate, and communicate thoughts helps to enrich the emotional, behavioral, and cognitive life of children. 
  6. Appreciation of nature: Playing outside helps children stay curious and stimulates their senses through active play.
Kids being pulled on a sled
Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

Changes Needed in Traditional Education Systems

The COVID-19 Pandemic

The pandemic has challenged how traditional education systems function. 

Being in close quarters isn’t recommended until national vaccination goals are met, which is why Weatherport’s playground shelters and other structures are great alternatives to current teaching facilities that don’t meet the bar; you can avoid tight hallways, ensure sufficient air circulation, and create more space to spread out seating and more. 

MedRxiv, a preprint server for health sciences, explains in a 2020 study how exhaled air will “eventually rise sufficiently high to pass over an exposed person” when outside. 

A private elementary and middle school located in Menlo Park, California, Synapse School was able to safely reopen with the help of WeatherPort’s playground shelters and outdoor classroom structures. Due to the leadership of Jim Eagan, Synapse’s Head of School, staff and students were quickly able to stay separated in different cohorts to reduce the number of individuals and intensity of any contact. 

A WeatherPort playground shelter at Synapse School
A WeatherPort playground shelter at Synapse School in Menlo Park, California 

[Related: Temporary Structures to Help Reopen Schools]

Indoor vs. Outdoor Classrooms

Along with community health concerns noting that being outdoors decreases the chance of coronavirus transmission, education boards across the country are now noticing that increased outdoor time is beneficial for overall health. 

Consider Washington’s Outdoor School, which has become a regional point of interest for parents looking to submerge their kids in outdoor activities. Their approach allows their children’s curiosity to naturally develop outside traditional classroom settings by exploring and learning in nature. 

However, waitlists and small admission numbers are drawbacks to this newer school structure that has only three branches. Weatherport’s playground structures can get your children outside without a waitlist.  

How Playground Shelters Protect Against Weather to Enable More Outdoor Time

Weatherport’s playground shelters are becoming increasingly useful as people learn more about the benefits of increased outdoor time for children. Our custom-designed structures provide full or partial coverage to combat the climate and weather conditions of your area. 

Our shade structures, playground shelters, and outdoor classroom structures can withstand snow, rain, and harsh UV rays to protect school children during their outdoor and learning activities. Employing high-quality fabric membranes, our fabric structures are designed to withstand high winds, heavy snow loads, and are mold- and mildew-resistant. Unlike inexpensive PE- or PVC-based fabrics that are UV-coated, our tensioned fabric membranes are  UV-stabilized using proprietary materials to provide long-lasting durability and protection against high solar loads — especially on those ultra-sunny days. 

All of this goes to say that whatever the weather, school children will be able to play outside under WeatherPort playground shelters, ensuring that they get their necessary outdoor time year-round.

[Related: Outdoor Facilities for Growing Schools]

Types and Uses for Playground Shelters

WeatherPort shelters can meet an array of needs. If you need partial coverage for a game, project, or lesson, our shade structures including canopies and gazebos will work for you. 

Our shelters for playgrounds and outdoor classrooms provide fuller coverage to keep the harsher weather elements away from school children as well as protect expensive commercial playground equipment. 

Our structures combine the highest-quality materials with the latest manufacturing techniques to provide our customers with the best. The common theme for all of our products is an incredibly sturdy structure with lightweight aluminum frames. Since they’re designed with portability in mind, you can easily transport them anywhere to maximize their use.

Whether your school or organization needs a fabric structure to support class work, sports practice or athletic events, theatre and entertainment needs, or meal time, we have an array of product designs and can work with you to create a facility that matches your needs. Here are some potential uses for our playground shelters and other shade structures: 

WeatherPort can work with you to come up with innovative ideas for your school or organization to help get school children outside and keep them active and learning. 

For more information on how Weatherport playground shelters or shade structures can help your school achieve more outdoor time for school children, call +1-970-399-5909, email info@weatherport.com, or contact us online.

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