Playground slides are often a focal point of the playground and are a highlight for young children. They’re accessible to children of all ages and offer an exhilarating experience in a safe environment. The type of slide a child uses will depend on their age, but, overall, playground slides for young children help to promote social interaction, increase physical activity, and require little to no maintenance in playgrounds as well as at home. Read on to learn more about the popularity of playground slides and which are the most sought after among consumers.
Global market value of playground slides
Spending time outdoors is essential for the overall development of children, especially at a very young age. As such, playgrounds have always been a popular space for children to enjoy themselves, interact with other children, and improve their mental and physical fitness. Consumers with young children are spending more time outdoors too, and playground slides, either at home or at the playground, continue to be a major draw.
In 2022, the global market value of playground equipment reached US $5.53 billion. That figure is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7% between 2023 and 2032, bringing the total value to approximately US $10.88 billion. Innovations in playground equipment, including new features and building materials, have also advanced in recent years and helped push the industry forward.
Things to consider when purchasing a playground slide
Selecting the right playground slide depends on a number of factors, such as safety, where the slide will be used, how easy it is to assemble, the accessibility of the slide, how the slide looks, how much maintenance it will require, and overall budget. Below, we’ll dive into each consideration.
Playground safety is crucial, especially when it comes to young children. Measures to consider when sourcing playground slides include the age appropriateness of the slide; the slide’s construction and materials, making sure that there are no rough edges or pieces that can cause injury; having proper installation instructions included with the slide; whether the slide includes a safety surface to install below in case of falls; and what temperature the slide will be used in.
Some slides have a metal surface, which isn’t ideal for hot temperatures as they can cause burns. Other safety measures should be put in place on the playground itself to help ensure the safety of the children using the equipment.
Where the slide will be placed is a big factor to consider. Whether big or small, a slide requires enough space around it to keep children using it, as well as those nearby, safe. Measurements for the overall height, width, and length need to be assessed before installation, and safety zones must also be measured.
It’s not just the size of the slide that needs to be considered though; weather conditions also play a big part in which slide to purchase. Areas that receive a lot of direct sunlight or may be exposed to frequent harsh weather conditions must be made from specific materials in order to ensure their longevity and safety during use.
To attract more potential buyers, it’s important to ensure that the slides are easy to assemble and come with a clear instruction manual. Even the most complex slides should be easy to assemble, only taking a couple of hours maximum.
Playgrounds and their equipment have become more inclusive over the past decade and that accessibility doesn’t stop with slides. Where possible, installing wider slides or slides that have ramp access to them will allow children with disabilities to have easier access. This will also help to promote inclusivity among young children on the playground.
Young children have quite the imagination, so choosing a slide that’s aesthetically appealing is likely to make it more popular. It’s not always possible to install a slide that has a unique design or additional features, but choosing a slide that comes in bright colors is an added bonus, especially for very young children who may be intimidated by it.
Popular slides will undergo a lot of use, so choosing one made of a durable and weatherproof material is essential. Materials that are waterproof, UV-resistant, and can withstand corrosion should not only help keep the slide in good working order but also lower the amount of maintenance required.
Price is another big factor to take into consideration. Naturally, smaller plastic slides used in gardens will have a different price point than industrial slides for communal playgrounds. Playground slides with additional features and made of better materials will cost more in the short term but are more likely to last longer, making them a better investment.
Top playground slides for young children
Playground slides may seem straightforward but there are numerous styles now available, each offering a unique experience.
The top-selling playground slides for young children as defined by Google Ads’ average monthly search volume are “tube slides,” which have an average of 9,900 searches per month. This is followed by “spiral slides” at 3,600 searches, “double slides” at 1,600 searches, and “curved” and “wave slides” at 1,000 searches each. Meanwhile, “freefall slides” have 590 monthly searches and “straight slides” have 260. Below we’ll discuss each type of slide in more detail.
Spiral slides are one of the most popular types of playground slides for young children. They feature a twisting structure that generally starts with a flat platform and spirals downward. This type of slide can be covered or open, and the suitable length and height should be determined by the age of the children that will be using the slide.
Spiral slides tend to be made of a thick plastic or metal material, which means they’re incredibly durable and weather-resistant. The platform that the slide is attached to will often be wider than the slide itself so that the children are able to safely sit themselves down before pushing off.
The straight slide is a classic piece of playground equipment that provides a straight, uninterrupted slope along its length. This type of playground slide will either be attached to a jungle gym or as a standalone slide with a ladder leading up to it. Just like the spiral slide, straight slides vary in height in order to accommodate a variety of different age groups.
The straight slides are usually made of plastic or metal and have safety features incorporated into them such as handrails, a non-slip surface at the entrance to the slide, and a landing mat at the base of the slide to help lessen the impact and prevent injuries. Many of these slides are bright and colorful to attract children to play on them.
A unique type of playground slide to consider is the double slide. This slide offers children the chance to simultaneously race one another, helping to promote social interaction as well as competition in a friendly environment. The slides are of equal length and height and made of a strong material that can withstand harsh weather conditions.
Since the two slides are side by side, the platform at the top will be wider than usual to allow two children to stand at the same time. The same goes for the landing pad at the bottom of the slides.
The curved slide is midway between the straight slide and the spiral slide. It offers children an element of variation on the playground with either a continuous curved path or multiple curves depending on the length of the slide. While some children may be too intimidated to go on a spiral slide, the curved slide is great for children of all ages as they have safety features such as handrails or barriers, a non-slip platform to stand on, and a cushioned exit platform.
Tube, or tunnel, slides are a very popular for their enclosed tube structure, which is similar to those found at waterparks. This helps to create a sense of adventure as well as anticipation that isn’t found with open-air slides.
The tube slide can have either a curved or straight design, and when installing it, it’s important to make sure that all of the surfaces are smooth inside in order to prevent injury. This type of slide is predominantly found in playgrounds but can also be incorporated into home playpens as part of a smaller jungle gym.
The wave slide is another popular type of playground slide that is more suitable for children of younger ages who may be scared of enclosed spaces or riding on spiral slides. The wave slide is straight by design but has a series of dips and waves along the surface that creates a sense of excitement.
The slide can come individually or as a set of two or more slides next to each other for racing purposes. The wave slide is often used in amusement parks and waterparks and can even be used indoors, leading into a ball pit.
The freefall slide is an exhilarating playground slide that’s designed for older children. The drop on freefall slides is significantly steeper than the usual playground slide, which creates a freefall feeling before it shifts to less of a vertical decline. This type of slide is more dangerous than others due to the drop, so it’s important to make sure all of the safety features are in place before allowing children to play on it.
There is a variety of playground slides for young children available in today’s market. Some are more suitable for younger age groups, whereas others can be enjoyed by children of all sizes. Slides are a central component of any playground, so it’s important to ensure that safety measures are in place and that the materials used are child-friendly and can withstand various weather conditions.
The top types of playground slides to consider include the spiral slide, the straight slide, the double slide, the curved slide, the tube slide, the wave slide, and the freefall slide. As more modern technologies emerge and families spend more time together outdoors, the demand for playground slides is expected to increase, just as the market value of playground equipment, in general, is set to rise.