Increasingly, more family daycare businesses are becoming environmentally safe and responsible. Child care providers are special taking measures (as an important component of their daycare jobs) to ensure that the environment provides the best in health for children, offer locally-grown or organic food, and celebrate multiculturalism. Matt Haugh directs sales and marketing for BigToys, Inc., a commercial playground equipment manufacturer based in Olympia, Washington. Haugh describes green environments for daycare centers in this interview with OwnADaycare.
OwnADaycare: What exactly is a green/environmentally friendly playground/play environment?
Matt Haugh: The essence of a natural playground is one where natural behaviors are promoted and supported, so, [in addition to the technical dimensions mentioned in my article in Park & Rec Trades], we believe that green playgrounds should have at least two crucial properties: They should be made from the most environmentally friendly materials available, and they should promote not just physical activity, but also creative and collaborative social play. Ideally, commercial equipment should offer play activities that merge the physical with the social, as happen with several BigToys patented marquee events.
OwnADaycare: Is building a green playground economical and realistic? Is any playground completely environmentally friendly?
Matt Haugh: There’s never been a better time to build an environmentally friendly playground as our environment has never been more threatened, nor have there ever been more excellent options from which to build the optimal playscape. Increasingly, minimizing environmental footprint is becoming non-optional, even in tough budget times. BigToys has spent the past 40 years making tough, often expensive choices, because we believe you can’t truly care for children without doing everything possible to protect the planet they’ll one day inherit.
OwnADaycare: Please give me more background about your company, BigToys, Inc.
Matt Haugh: For the past 40 years, BigToys Inc. has been building commercial playground equipment that provides a safe, fun, developmentally appropriate play experience for kids around the world. Our structures can be found in school playgrounds, parks, childcare centers, and private communities and developments. We offer products for children from 6 months to 12 years old.
We build structures from recycled steel and 100% recycled plastic, or Forest Stewardship Council certified wood, making them the most environmentally friendly playgrounds available anywhere today. Our kid friendly wood treatment is EPA approved and BigToys’ school and commercial playground equipment contains NO PVC.
We put safety first. We are a founding member of the International Playground Equipment Manufacturer’s Association (IPEMA). Our equipment is IPEMA certified and complies with ASTM, CPSC, ADA, CSA, EN, and AU playground safety standards.
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