Playground slides are a great way to get kids moving and playing. They provide hours of entertainment, from the youngest toddlers to the oldest teenagers. You can find playground slides in parks and backyards worldwide – here’s how they differ!
This post will focus on the beautiful playground slides located all around the globe. Additionally, it’ll discuss why they’re so great and how their characteristics can help inform our shopping choices for a new slide. Moreover, we’ll look at some physical and social advantages that make slides notable additions to any backyard!
Plus, I’ve included info on materials used (both good and bad), safety features regarding installation & maintenance, as well as exciting facts about these mammoth structures.
Types of playground slides
The playground slide is a staple in the world of children. There are many varieties to choose from, and you may not even know they exist before reading this!
- Incline slides
- Open Slides
- Double Barrel Slides
- Closed Plastic Tube Slides
- Curved Slide
- Wave Slides
- Spiral Slides
- Component Slides
- Textured Slides
- Water and Hydro Slides
Childhood memories suddenly flood back when you see a slide. They are one of the best parts about going to playgrounds, and for that reason, they’re always at the top of children’s wish lists.
- A good playset should have slides in addition to other structures like swings or monkey bars.
- However, sometimes there is no choice but constructing your DIY-style playground.
- The Slide being the main component to things like tunnels, ladders, bridges and rope climbers – all leading up to their ultimate goal: sliding down!
Water slides have always been a fun way to cool off on those hot summer days. They emerge in various forms and sizes, ranging from the small run-slide area you may make yourself up to giant water parks with dozens of different types! Nevertheless, before we go any further, let’s discuss what makes them extraordinary.
First off: the water slide is wet. Secondly: water slides are fast as heck-and slides can get anywhere between 15 – 30 mph quickly depending on how steep your slope is (usually). And finally: it just feels so good sliding down that high-velocity ride into an enormous pool of refreshingly cold water at the bottom, like there was ever anything more incredible than that moment when you resurface for air after coming down.
One of the earliest water slides was created in 1923 by Herbert Sellner. He made a wooden sled on which people sat and rode down an incline into a lake.
For newborns and tiny toddlers, other safer slides include foam vinyl triangles, squares, and circle blocks in different forms so children can still enjoy the slide experience.
Types of slide materials
Slide materials vary from playground to playground, but some common varieties include plastic slides, metal slides and wooden slides. Click here for slide maintenance tips and techniques.
Below I go into detail about each type of slide material!
The Classic Metal Slide
Metal slides have become rarer as a result of their tendency to overheat. Nonetheless, these metal slides travel smoother than plastic slides, and the problems have been addressed.
Metal slides seem to be less widespread due to their production process. They tend to be more robust with galvanised steel or hot painted sheet metal coated in epoxy resin and powdered paint before being smoothed off by sandblasting!
Despite all of the factors mentioned creating a slowdown in manufacturing, vital metal slides are still produced today. Unlike plastic slides, which may warp from heat or humidity, metal is durable enough for even those youngsters with grubby hands!
Concerns With Metal Slides in the Past
In the past, we used to double down the metal slide and sometimes utilise boxes and fire down at high speeds. However, they often had sharp lips that would get hot from sliding on a burning surface. You felt this burn halfway down your body as it was agonising!
Nowadays, there is an easy fix: permanent shade covering for the slides, which prevent them from getting too hot to avoid injury or discomfort while playing with friends outside.
Metal slides are a fantastic fun asset for any backyard, and these characteristics add to its appeal. Amazingly, the metal slide integrated into the terrain’s curve; provides a creative solution for architectural brilliance and safety.
Metal slides are also eye-catching because of their polished surface, simple to clean and maintain with ease due to how they’re made from a rigid material that can withstand wear & tear – perfect if you have kids!
The Wooden Slide
Wood slides are often coated with a special oil-based paint to facilitate sliding and maintain the wood. Some people prefer natural-looking finishes on their wood, while other more significant wooden slides use metal sheeting for finishing purposes.
The advantage of these materials is that if properly maintained,
- They will stay clean and in mint condition for years!
- Wood is frequently used as the primary material when building structures like this one because it’s strong yet lightweight, which means older kids can slide longer distances than before.
Why are wooden slides not seen around as often anymore?
Creating a slide takes a lot of skill and time, so it’s rare to find one. A track saw is used to make plunge cuts in birch plywood that will be reinforced using hardwood for the curves on stairs, which helps with durability.
For an outdoor play area, you can get two parts from 6 layers of 4mm birch plywood, then polish them up afterwards by applying varnish or wax (depending on your preference) for a smooth finish. Steam bending some ash wood into strips that form handgrips along the sides of this playground “slide”.
Often wooden slides are made, and then an additional material, aluminium roof flashing, is used to make it slippery enough to slide down, saving on the sanding.
The best thing about wooden baby slides is that they have wood, which feels better than plastic.
- They are constructed out of flat birch plywood with a smooth laminated surface that has been sanded or sealed with transparent varnish.
- Typically you can modify slides to meet your child’s needs and fasten them on cross beams.
The Plastic Slide
Plastic slides are cheaper and easier to clean but can disintegrate over time. The static discharge from plastic material is less than metal, though the temperature may still be too high for some skin types or conditions.
For now, this will likely remain one of the most popular materials in making slides because it offers a varied range of shapes designs that are good for both big and small sizes without costing much more money due to its low production cost with other types.
In the modern world, slides are typically made using a process known as roto-moulding or rotationally moulded plastic.
- They come infused with anti-static inhibitors and stabilisers to give them that smooth sliding experience we all love so much!
- These durable plastics also help minimise UV damage due to their high-density polyethylene composition, making them an excellent choice for your backyard!
Why are plastic slides used in playgrounds?
Plastic slide production is environmentally friendly and also saves companies money. A company can easily create a new product by re-using the same mould for different products, so making more than one Slide at once isn’t any trouble.
This process has many advantages, including minimal waste and easy recycling. Its versatility with shapes/creating multiple projects simultaneously using roto-moulding instead of traditional injection. Moulded plastics makes it incredibly hard when no pre-made moulds are available!
DIY Homemade Slides: Often made from plastic tubing pipes or a canvas tarp. If you have imagination, try using the land to your advantage with this great idea!
Types of slide shapes and sizes
Playground slides you’ll find, are unique and diverse in shape, size, and style these days. Some of the most common types include straight slides with a steady incline or curvy spiral slides that go around on an angle before descending below ground level.
The Open Slides
These slides are typically straight channels that flow via gravity and allow you to glide down, feeling the open air. The slides will vary in size depending on the age group, with a toddler having no more than 24 degrees for an incline and 30 degrees as its max slope, whereas pre-schoolers can have up to 50-degree slopes or 30-degree maximum inclines.
Not so plain playground slides from the Straight Open Slide, we frequently find Double Barrel Slides. These exciting and engaging children’s play devices provide twice as much fun with a tube for two riders side by side or two incline slides that allow you to ride simultaneously down together! And these days, there are even Triple Barrel Slides in certain parks throughout the globe.”
The Tunnel Slide
The exhilarating sensation of emerging at the bottom of a tube slide makes its way into more and more backyards. This exciting installation will offer great fun for kids!
The world’s first mega-thrilling metal tube slide arrived on playgrounds as early as 1932 when the slides were advertised in Hill Standard Co.’s Funful Playground Equipment catalogue. They’re now starting to appear all over residential communities, but the plastic versions with these beautiful additions offering potential fun everywhere you look!
Offered in two distinct forms, either L-shaped or J-shaped. Some of them curl at a 90-degree angle, while others finish with a perfect 180 turn. The chute is the part that flows from top to bottom. And can be described as an entrance canal that leads into the ground under your feet!
Wave slides have side to side zigzag patterns on their way down, making them look like waves.
If you don’t go down quickly, they’re not slides, in my opinion. However, you will see them at specific playgrounds with rough surfaces on the way down for sensory purposes.
A fun and engaging PVC Pipe roller slide is a unique addition that allows kids to have an exhilarating ride as they grow up.
Embankment Slides offers a distinct texture for the entry platform and side rails by utilising etched Terracotta, which gives an engaging non-sliding surface. They also provide rock texture slides and customised slides. I’ve never seen anything like it before – Each Slide has its unique shape with dips or grooves that create strange sensations as you’re gliding down to safety!
Where to Obtain a Playground Slide
Acquiring the right Slide for your kid is essential, and knowing what kind of Slide would work best can make that process a lot easier. For instance, an inclined slide will eliminate any need to climb, making it great to have younger children who cannot do so independently yet. Plus, since they all go down one way regardless of the type!
The availability of slides
The accessibility of slides varies owing to shipping and manufacturers. Some of the most giant slides are located in China since it is considered the centre for slide manufacturing. Slides range from character ones with themes for boys or girls right down to themed parks where children can play on them while their parents relax nearby.
If you google: “brand name and slide,” the more well-known brands include Little Tikes, Backyard Discovery, Red-Swing Swingslide Lifetime. Availability can be scarce sometimes.
Fortunately, a few online providers offer slides, including Amazon Landscape Structures Playground Warehouse The AAA State Of play” Prices vary, so it is wise to browse around first for that perfect fit for your backyard or playground project.
Types of safety features on a slide
To ensure that kids will not get injured on playgrounds. There are a few essential regulations.
- The most important one is the ground’s surface – it should be soft and cushioned to protect from falls.
- Slides also need an escape level or horizontal region for kids not to get hurt too badly if they fall off them!
- Handrails and guardrails, as well as the Slide, are, in my view, required for long straight rapid descents.
- Sharp Equipment Points avoided, as I experienced on metal slides and a hydro slide at a swimming pool.
- Surfaces Regularly Inspected, mainly if you have utilised joints, bolts, studs, or nuts to create the sliding surface.
- When toddlers are on a high platform, they can feel safer with the protective barrier that encloses them.
- The handrails and steps or ladders also make it easier to navigate for those children who aren’t as confident or agile.
- A canopy to shield from the sun now covers slides, perhaps even protecting children’s behinds.
- The recommended distance from a slide’s exit to the protecting surface is 4 feet + height.
- Injuries are less likely if you don’t end up too short or too long when landing off of slides that go fast, so it may be worth testing your backyard slide before installing them!
- Younger toddlers need more safeguards. The fall zone has to be as long as necessary, i.e. 3 feet in all directions, and there must be cushioning depth at places where one is required (access points, slide exits).
But do not forget another important safety factor, perhaps the top of them all: having a parent near to oversee.
The benefits of having a backyard slide for your family
Governing bodies reevaluated the importance of vigorous outdoor play like climbing up and sliding down a fun slide due to the current decrease in children’s fitness. Given this, playgrounds are changing to promote wellness and agility while still providing excitement through slides.
Research shows that child-led play like climbing up and sliding down a slide has significant benefits. This type of risky game can help kids learn about physiological arousal, uncertainty, and coping.
When children explore riskier games on playgrounds, they experience positive emotions such as excitement or thrill, which encourages their curiosity to explore all types of play options and safe ones.
Increased Strength and Awareness
Climbing up a slide after going down the chute is exceptionally challenging. First, you have to climb up and then decide whether or not to go on it again! Also, sliding down helps build upper body strength through frequent cardiovascular activity along with strengthening muscles.
Children can improve their spatial awareness by sliding down the Slide. It also improves balance and coordination abilities, particularly when they climb up and then slide backwards!
The Slide is like the celebrity of playgrounds. It’s usually crowded, and everyone wants to be there! There will always be a bit of a wait too because it attracts so many people.
When children are playing together, the Slide is an excellent method for them to acquire critical social skills such as cooperative play, sharing, taking turns, and developing patience and tolerance for the talents and physical limitations.
- These abilities will have a long-term effect on their social relationships as they grow, and all they know is that they’re having a wonderful time!
Exploration and discovery are essential components of the environment that allow children to learn.
- Even with the reimagining of today’s contemporary playgrounds, with new designs, layouts, and equipment, there is still an emphasis on playing goals and promoting learning in the classroom.
The Slide is a fun physics toy because of its potential to be used in different lessons.
- The inclined plane is an excellent example of gravity and friction, two key concepts to understand. It’s also pretty fun!
Fascinating Slides Around The World
All around the world, playgrounds are home to some of the most fabulous slides on Earth. From South and North America to Africa, Europe, Asia and Oceania, let’s see what makes these fantastic slides great!
Takapuna, Auckland, Aotearoa, New Zealand
The Takapuna beach reserve playground is directly adjacent to the beach, where you may have an ice cream cone. It’s a children’s paradise with two enormous tube tunnel slides that seem like they were plucked straight out of a children’s novel.
Christchurch, Aotearoa, New Zealand
The Margaret Mahy playground, which is said to be the largest in the Southern Hemisphere. a staple for children of all ages. The park features swings, climbing ropes, a flying fox (surprisingly popular during hot summer months), as well as an enormous metal slide placed on top of it all!
Wellington, Aotearoa, New Zealand
On International Children’s Day, the New Zealand Parliament opened its public playground on their front lawn. The focus of this excellent play space is a large metal slide built from sustainable beechwood sourced in Palmerston North. One remarkable feature – it has protectors made out of recycled rubber tires! It’s safe for all ages to join in, so come along and enjoy!
NZ Parliament. (2019, November 20). Playground at Parliament | NZ Parliament [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MBh_XoBYsnA
Hobsonville, Auckland, Aotearoa, New Zealand
The majestic 10-meter high Slide constructed by designer Philipp Meier at Harrier Point Park is Te Kanohi O Te Manu – The Eye Of The Bird. Although it was initially causing problems, children can now enjoy this structure entertaining them around New Zealand.
Lovely Girl from Cool Parks shows us Harrier Point’s bird-shaped Slide.
Cool Parks. (2021, February 3). Harrier Point park [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EE2HxlJVdSY&t=55s
Waterloo, Sydney. Australia
Wulaba Park has a lot to offer. From swings, climbing walls and tunnels you can even play tennis on one of the courts! But if I had to pick my favourite part about this park, it would have been its Giant Metal Tube Slide. It truly is an awe-inspiring experience that everyone should enjoy.
Located in Stuart Park, The Moduplay Skytower is a half-size replica of the Eiffel Tower. It features two twisting fibreglass slides that are 8.6 meters long and spiral down to the ground for an exciting slide experience!
Moduplay Group. (2016, January 25). Moduplay – Stuart Park, Wollongong Video [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3KTJdUnmaRk
Katanning, Western Australia
Katanning’s All Ages Playground has been transformed with a $5 million upgrade, making the slides more fabulous than ever before.
Shire of Katanning. (2020, April 20). Katanning’s All Ages Playground [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P_7qPruAgZU
India’s Jubilee Park is one of the nation’s biggest attractions. There are tiny and giant slides for kids of all ages, as well as some lovely gardens.
If you’re interested in water slides and a little splashy fun, then I recommend going to Wonderla. They have 12 great water slides, including Drop Loop that drops riders from meters high! Fun Racer is also there, which allows you to challenge your friends on racing mats before continuing with three intertwining Twister slides. There’s everything here for the perfect day of splashing around on Water Slides!”
Micky Krish. (2020, April 29). Wonderla Bangalore Water Rides [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UhcGvjbXVsQ
There is a long roller slide of 300 metres in length inside Kobokuen Park. The descent down the steep path on some cardboard will be both exciting and rough, allowing you to go at an exhilarating speed.
Stars and Stripes. (2019, September 27). Japan’s longest roller slide is not for the timid [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bke_Z7uHzBM
Bentenyama, Koen, Japan
“Kids will love this nearly 90-degree open-slide tunnel at Flower Park.”
The playground-focused destination, Admiralty Park, has many slides. It features cargo nets and bridges with hills and tunnels leading to the slides themselves, with one being 9 metres tall by 23 meters long – perfect for thrill-seeker kids!
Sassy Mama. (2018, January 3). Admiralty Park Playground: Huge Slides for Kids of all Ages [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=shk-yhU29NM&t=7s
The giant water slide at a theme park on Teluk Bahang, Malaysia, is the longest inner tube ride globally. The Slide itself measures 1,111 meters long!
Madrid City, Spain
A creative twist was added to the metal slides in this park situated along a river with beautiful landscaping.
In the Books Playground, visitors can climb a book-themed watchtower that leads to a super-fast metal slide with a curved shape.
Heaton Park is a great place to play, with some excellent metal tube slides. The treehouse cocoon-like platforms are also quite cool and distinctive!
mymummyspennies. (2017, May 27). Treetop Nets Manchester Heaton Park [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=73GShCKiiR4
The Monstrum whale playground in Plitka park also has an excellent metal tunnel slide worth trying out.
Richmond BC, Canada
Terra Nova Adventure Park is nature at its finest, with glimpses of the Fraser River and an impressive 10-meter treehouse. The park also features some pretty unique slides for kids to enjoy!
Six-year-old Sahanna gives us a tour of Terra Nova Adventure Park on her youtube channel. Check it out!
Sahanna Shows You. (2021, July 9). Terra Nova Adventure Park – Richmond BC -Playground Review [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lAgPW-xO26c
New York, United States
Brooklyn Bridge Park is not only a place for Tarzan swings and attractive slides but also has water stations, New York’s most giant sandbox, and more.
It is a theme park and resort. You may discover the tallest and highest water slide on the planet here. With an astounding height of 41 metres, Insano has a plunge velocity of about 4-5 seconds.
ThemeParkHD. (2014, June 24). [HD] Insano Water-Slide: Reverse POV at Beach Park (Fortaleza, Brazil) [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BFz-5P9KJPI
If you’re looking for a primary, child-friendly water park, Bahia Principe is a must-see under the Caribbean heat.
At Adem Park, you’ll find several fantastic water slides. Start with the Tornado Slide and work your way up to more intense rides like The Storm and King Cobra Slides.
Cape Town, South Africa
Cool Runnings is a water park nirvana, with the most exciting element being an exhilarating toboggan slide.
Diver’s Digest Old. (2012, April 21). Cool Runnings Toboggan, Belville, Cape Town, South Africa [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h3dCSBpOEHk
If you’re looking for an exciting time, why not go to the playground? There are types of slides that exist in nearly every corner of the globe. And there’s always one perfect for your needs.
Whether it be an intense ride or something more family-friendly, we hope this article has helped you get started on finding what type is right for your backyard!
If all of these types sound too intimidating – let us know.
It’s essential to ensure everyone is adequately treated, sliding fun in the backyard!
Sources of Information
PlaygroundEquipment.com. (n.d.). What You Need to Know About Metal Playground Slides | Family-Owned & Led | PlaygroundEquipment.com. Retrieved August 29, 2021, from https://www.playgroundequipment.com/products/commercial-playgrounds/slides/metal-slides/
M., K., K., Y., Y., K., Y., K., & Y. (n.d.). Playground Resource | Your Playground Information Resource. Playgroundresource.Com. Retrieved August 29, 2021, from https://playgroundresource.com
email@example.com. (2020, July 10). Playground Equipment Then and Now. All-Inclusive Rec. https://allinclusiverec.com/playground-equipment-then-now/
Brothers Make. (2019, October 30). How to Bend Wood into a Slide! [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VX2rccpy4dg&t=123s
Dodd, H. F. (2021, January 19). Adventurous Play as a Mechanism for Reducing. . . Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review. https://link.springer.com/article/
Curran, E. J. (2021, May 3). 12 mind-bending playgrounds around the world. Travel. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/travel/article/best-playgrounds-around-world-