A Fun Indoor Playground Means Repeat Visits
There are a few things to consider when purchasing indoor playground equipment. Likely the two you'll be focused on is 1) what will best fill my space and 2) what will it cost. But if you only focus on those two factors, you'll miss out on the most important component that will guarantee your fun center's success—the playability factor.
How to choose the playground with the most playability. Here are a few tips for making the right selection for your long-term investment:
1) Empty spaces—Avoid these! A manufacturer might try to disguise this as a fun ball room with two or three 30" balls in them, but kids will rarely spend much time there.
2) Spiral slides—These have a high playability factor, but are dependent on the components around them, ease of access, and speed of descent.
3) Tube crawls—Moving from section to section through tube crawls is lots of fun, but too many can be overwhelming for the younger kids, making the feel too confined. Make sure your playground is targeted towards the age group you'll most likely be serving.
4) Slide run-out and angle of descent—The bottom part of the slide that is parallel to the ground is called the run out. Depending on the angle of the descent, and the speed kids can attain, this part may be either too long (meaning they have to push themselves out) or two short (meaning they shoot like a cannon onto the mats.) While kids may prefer the latter, safety calls for a balance between the two extremes.
5) Interaction—More and more manufacturer's are adding interactive games within indoor playgrounds to not only add excitement to their visit, but encourage return visits and ongoing game play by linking to scores and progress reports on websites. You'll be hearing more about this phenomenon later this year.
Indoor playground success
Regardless of the indoor play structure you're planning on getting, make sure you visit several fun centers and watch how kids play and interact with the different models and configurations of indoor playgrounds. This first-hand research will help you cement your choice, and get you the most ROI for your purchase.