The town of Hvannasund in the beautiful Faroe Islands has a new playground and sports court, catering for a wide age group.
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Roundabouts and spinners: Rotating equipment buying guide
Rotation is one of the fundamental movements which alongside balancing, sliding and climbing is essential to children’s development. Acting upon the inner fluids of the ear, rotating improves balance and contributes to sensory development. Players working together to operate a rotating piece of equipment can promote intergenerational communication and foster a sense of belonging.
We’ve chosen to divide the range of rotating play units in two categories, Multi User Structures which includes traditional roundabouts and Single or Double User Products, generally referred to as spinners.
What user capacity should your play structure offer?
1- Multi-user structures
Compliant with the European standards of EN 1176-5 published in October 2008, these non-rocking, rotating units generally require a 2m diameter safety area and they have a minimum free fall height of 1m. The safety area can’t overlap with an adjacent play unit.
These units can accommodate a number of users and boast a low cost per user.
The traditional roundabout features a seats and handrails which are attached to a rotating deck. Children can push the roundabout and jump on, or be assisted by a friend or parent. A good example of this style of roundabout is the Merry, a playground classic suitable for younger children. The wide deck and slow rotating motion allow toddlers to discover new sensations whilst feeling safe.
A less traditional style of roundabout, the Orbit features a seat which rotates around a central axis, with riders using the central hand rail to push themselves around. The contemporary cut-out design of the Orbit has a lower visual impact and will blend in seamlessly with a play area. As there is slightly less support compared to a traditional roundabout with a deck, it offers a sense of challenge and risk-taking and will likely appeal to older or more confident children.
The Tornado overhead roundabout offers an additional challenge, with a spinning frame located above head height. This hanging roundabout encourages older children to challenge themselves and its height deters younger children from access.
This pedal bicycle roundabout is operated by the players’ muscular strength, which not only has positive outcomes on physical development but also encourages children to cooperate. Its traditional look is also the perfect fit for a classic play area.
The slanted design of the Roty has a more compact layout for a smaller number of users, but it boasts easy installation and great affordability. The minimalist aesthetic is also sought-after by practitioners willing to give their community space a contemporary look.
These hybrid designs include suspended user stations as part of a carrousel and comprise a central rotation axis and different combinations of seats to suit various needs. Meet the Titan or the alternative for younger children, the mini-Titan
2- One or two-user configurations : spinners
According to the current EN1176 framework, spinners are not considered roundabouts and therefore require a smaller 1.5m diameter safety area. Their free fall height is often less than 1m and can be as low as 0.60m.
Cost-effective and easy to install, designs such as the Whizzer or the Spinner can complement a multi-play unit or trim trail; they are also a great way to inject some colour in to a playground or add additional play value without breaking the bank.
Units like the Bronco or the Rota Roka also offer a wider range of motion, from spinning to rocking:
Which safety requirements need to be met?
1- Playground surfacing criteria
The installation of an impact-absorbing surface is mandatory for all rotating units. A variety of surfaces are available (bark, pea shingles, wetpour, sand or artificial grass). In all cases the ground clearance of the rotating elements needs to be controlled.
2- Ergonomic features
All our rotating units are designed specifically to provide children of differing ages or abilities graduated challenge as well as a feeling of safety.
Other criteria to take into account
1- Materials and aesthetics
The structural steel we use to manufacture our roundabouts and spinners have several benefits: as steel boasts outstanding durability and resilience, the equipment will stand the test of time and be well used for many years to come. By buying sturdy and durable play equipment practitioners can deliver responsible, environmental friendly outdoor facilities.
The versatility of our range also allows specifiers to choose the right look for their scheme, from neutral shapes which blend seamlessly into the environment to eye-catching pieces likely to become the focal point of the space.
Our whole range of play equipment is designed to offer a degree of challenge for all children regardless of their level of ability. We have teamed up with child development experts to deliver play structures which are accessible to a wide range of children. The perfect example is our inclusive roundabout Spinmee, suitable for wheelchair users as well as able-bodied children.