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What’s New at Parkreation?

Get an Outdoor Shade Structure Grant from the AAD!

The American Academy of Dermatology has opened applications for this upcoming year’s Shade Structure Grant Program! Dermatologists understand the threat of sun damage and skin cancer better than anyone, and that’s why they are offering a grant of up to $8,000 for the installation of a permanent outdoor shade structure! Many outdoor locations that are frequently visited by families with children do not have adequate shade structures for long days outside. Places like outdoor playgrounds, pools, sports fields, or other outdoor recreation areas should provide a place to get out of the sun and protect people from the harmful ultraviolet rays that you are exposed to outside. Since the AAD began the program in 2000, the Shade Structure Grant Program has funded 324 shade structures across the United States. That’s a lot of shade!

Understanding the importance of proper shade and sun protection is valuable, as skin cancer is one of the most preventable cancers but also one of the most commonly diagnosed. Board-certified dermatologist George J. Hruza, MD, MBA, FAAD, president of the AAD, says that “Nearly 20 Americans die from melanoma every day, Exposure to the sun’s harmful UV rays is the most preventable risk factor for skin cancer, and there are many simple things you can do to protect yourself from the sun.” While applying water-resistant sunscreen before spending time outside is a great start to protecting yourself from sun damage, many people forget to reapply or ultimately sweat it off during long mornings and afternoons on the playground or at the pool. Having a permanent shade structure that is easily accessible at outdoor recreation facilities is the best way for people to find relief from the sun’s rays when spending time outside.

Multi-Level Framed Sails - Shade Structures

A Multi-Level Framed Sail structure from Shade Systems provides plenty of shade and curb appeal over an outdoor area!

Applications for the Shade Structure Grant Program from the American Academy of Dermatology are open until December 31, 2019. All non-profit organizations that provide services, programs, or a curriculum to children and teenagers 18 and younger are eligible to apply. To be considered for the grant, you must receive a recommendation from a member of the American Academy of Dermatology. This recommendation is important to build a new or existing relationship between the organization and dermatologist and improve their commitment to proper skin protection. More about the sponsorship requirements for the shade grant can be found here. The organization that is applying should also demonstrate a previous commitment to sun safety, whether through an educational program about the dangers of skin cancer, or simple signs and brochures available to view at outdoor public recreation areas about proper sun protection.

Lastly, the permanent shade structure must meet the AAD’s requirements. Parkreation is proud to offer permanent shade structures from two of the most dependable brands in the industry, Shade Structures and ICON Shelters, that meet these requirements.

Shade Structures CoolNet fabric screens up to 99% of the sun’s ultraviolet rays, which surpasses the AAD’s requirements while also being durable and easy to remove for the Winter weather in Illinois and Indiana.Their triangular Sail Shades are the perfect solution for areas where post locations may be limited or a stylish, modern look is suitable. We also provide excellent shade solutions for outdoor seating areas such as baseball dugouts, bleachers, or picnic areas with our cantilever shades.

For a permanent hard-top roof shade structure, look no further than ICON Shelters. Their beautiful pre-fabricated shelters, gazebos and arbors create a beautiful and functional centerpiece to any outdoor area. ICON Shelters can also create custom shelters that blend with the surrounding architecture or natural features, creating a unique place to find relief from the sun.

ICON Shelters Indiana

This ICON Shelters looks great, matches the surrounding architecture, and provides shade for dozens of people!

Contact Parkreation for more information about shade solutions, and apply for the American Academy of Dermatology’s Shade Structure Grant Program here!

Outdoor Fitness Equipment for Children

Outdoor fitness equipment has become popular with adults, but is not often seen integrated with playgrounds. Children may have some recess time to let off some steam during the school day, but they are spending more and more of their time outside of the classroom in front of a screen. During the youth development phase, it is important for kids to get outside and be physically active so they can develop muscles and skills that are necessary for a healthy life. According to a study reported by the New York Times, only 63% of children age 11 were getting the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity a day that they should be. This lack of outdoor physical exercise does not only have negative effects on children’s physical health, but may begin to affect their emotional health and cognitive skills as well. Sitting in a desk or on the couch all day develops poor lifestyle habits than may inhibit a child from reaching their potential. We would like to see more outdoor fitness equipment for children installed in schools and public parks in Illinois and Indiana to provide opportunities to get kids active!

Our outdoor fitness equipment provider, TrekFit, are trying to solve the problem of children not getting enough physical activity with exciting and fun challenges. Learn more about TrekFit’s mission in the video below!

TrekFit specializes in elegantly designed, stationary outdoor fitness equipment that can be used by all ages and athletic skill levels. Check out one of their most exciting pieces of equipment, the Cargo Net, below! This outdoor fitness obstacle looks stunning, but also provides creative challenges for both children and adults to get active and exercise. See more of our offers on our TrekFit page here!

Dive Into the Fun at Bellaboo’s in Lake Station, Indiana!

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A day spent on the outdoor playground at Bellaboos in Lake Station, Indiana now feels like a Pirate adventure thanks to some amazing custom safety surfacing and outdoor shade structures from Parkreation!

Custom poured-in-place rubber surfacing from Pro-Techs was designed and installed with a variety of sea-life swimming through the surfacing. From turtles gliding down the path to the playground and sting-rays swimming beneath the bridge, there’s an impressive assortment of creatures to explore! The entire outdoor play area at Bellaboos is designed with the ocean in mind and the beautiful safety surfacing matches the wave slide and Pirate ship play structure perfectly. Not only does the poured-in-place rubber surfacing create a safe place to play, it adds to the imagination and adventure on the playground for children of all ages! Pro-Techs added other small details like currents in the sea and small schools of fish swimming throughout the safety surfacing to add to the fun!

Parkreation also provided beautiful commercial shade structures from Shade Systems Inc. that provides protection from the hot sun and looks visually striking. These SAIL shades not only fit the “Pirate” theme in name, but also match the play structure perfectly and provide ample shade during peak sun hours. The perfect complement to this fun outdoor play area, the Shade Systems Sail Shade offers a nice place to drop anchor!

We love using our imagination to create custom projects like the Bellaboos outdoor play area. We can help you develop ideas for your next exciting outdoor recreation project! Contact Parkreation for more information.

Prepare for Shade before Sunshine Season Arrives!

Everyone is anxious to enjoy the outdoors as the warm weather approaches the Chicago, Illinois and Indiana area. However, it can be easy to forget the dangers of sun exposure when the kids are too busy having fun on the playground! Protecting against the sun’s harmful UV radiation is important for both children and adults alike. Parkreation is proud to offer the best commercial shade solutions from Shade Systems and ICON Shelters to make sure any outdoor area is properly covered and comfortable!

              Shade Systems offers the highest quality pre-manufactured fabric shade structures in a wide array of configurations. Featuring the patented Turn-N-Slide system, these shade canopies can easily be removed at the end of the Summer season. This helps protect your investment from the harsh Illinois and Indiana winters. Even better, that also means putting your shade canopy up at the start of the season is just as simple! Shade Systems offers some incredibly unique designs, such as their stunning Tornado® shade that beautifully arches over a seating area.

Shade Systems Tornado
Tornado Shades® by Shade Systems

              For permanent shade solutions, look no further. ICON Shelters has you covered! Known for their high-quality manufacturing and designs, ICON Shelters can create the new center-piece of your outdoor area. Whether it is a large gazebo or a simple arbor, a new shelter will not only provide shade but also a gathering place for people to relax and enjoy free from the sweltering sunshine. ICON Shelters come custom-made to your specifications to ensure a perfect match to your area and surrounding architecture.

              Everyone deserves a nice shady spot to get out of the sun on a hot day at the park or playground. Luckily, Parkreation can provide a wide variety of shade structures that will look as cool as the shade they provide! Both Shade Systems and ICON Shelters are two of the most respected and popular names in the industry. However, time is running out to get your shade ordered before the Summer begins! Be sure to contact Parkreation today to get started on your new shade project!

2019 Brings Exciting New Play Equipment from Little Tikes Commercial!

The new year brings brand new products to our lineup of Little Tikes Commercial Play Systems! Each year, our designers pull inspiration from kids’ imaginations and create new ways to play. 2019 is no different, bringing two unique new product lines to explore!

First up is PlayStax, a bold reimagining of traditional outdoor play equipment. Inspired by the make-shift forts and crafty clubhouses that kids make on their own, PlayStax brings the unpredictable and unbelievable together for new patterns of play. A single PlayStax unit can connect to our other Little Tikes Commercial products to provide a variety of traversal methods, or a tower of up to three PlayStax units can be stacked for the ultimate vertical adventure. Inside are up to six different “rooms”, such as a kitchen or an observatory, to spark social interaction and creativity. Mesh enclosures ensure that caregivers have lines of sight from outside the equipment, while allowing children to look out at the world as they climb higher.

Next up is Ancient Wonders, which brings the excitement of a jungle expedition to the playground! These massive “stone” structures are made of durable Polyfibercrete© and sealed with an acrylic coating to prevent vandalism. Also, beware of the giant snake that slithers beneath the surface, which provides a daring balance feature for the bravest of children. Ancient Wonders inspires the adventurous side in all of us!

Both PlayStax and Ancient Wonders equipment are now available for your next project! Please contact us to get the fun started!

New Playground at Jewett Park Preschool!

The kids at Jewett Park Preschool in Deerfield, Illinois are jumping with joy on their brand new playground! We recently finished replacing all of their old play equipment with some of our most exciting new components, including an orchestra of outdoor musical instruments from our Concerto line of Little Tikes Commercial products. Also in the play space is our unique Matrix net structure, in addition to more realistic Nu-Edge climbers like the Fun Rock! The new playground is fully ADA compliant, which makes sure that every preschooler can reach every play piece! Even in the snow, children were enjoying every second of their first opportunity to explore their new Little Tikes Commercial playground!

You can see more of our recently installed playgrounds here! 


Jewett Park Deerfield Little Tikes Playground

Jewett Park Preschool – Deerfield, IL

A New Inclusive Playground is Coming to Goshen, Indiana!

Fundraising continues for a brand new inclusive playground in Goshen, Indiana! Located at Hay Park off of State Road 119, “Kerry’s Kids Playground” will bring children of all abilities from the surrounding community together to play.

Mayor Jeremy Stutsman was inspired by a letter from a local Goshen High School student who wanted the needs of ALL members in the community to be heard. An inclusive playground does not just allow access for wheel-chair bound individuals, but accommodates a wide variety of abilities to ensure no child is excluded. Parents and family will also have the opportunity to participate in the play activities with their children as well. Giving the entire community a safe and accessible place to play will provide years of smiles and stories.

The best part is we are already well on our way to meeting our $50,000 fundraising goal on Patronicity!! If our goal is met by December 11th, the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority has pledged to match the $50,000 with a grant! Parkreation is humbled and honored to be a part of such an important mission to bring fun to everyone. Find out how you can help make “Kerry’s Kids Playground” a reality by visiting the project’s Patronicity page today! 

You can also see some of our recent projects across Indiana here!

Unlimited Play has started at Oak Brook’s Sandlot!

Today is the official ribbon cutting for our new universal inclusive playground at Oak Brook’s Sandlot! Located at 1300 Forest Gate Rd., the playground brings children of all abilities and ages together to play. This destination playground has a baseball theme, decked out with baseball toppers decorating the posts of the Little Tikes Commercial Nu-Edge play structure, along with a baseball diamond design in the poured-in-place Pro-Techs rubber surfacing. This exciting inclusive playground is sure to make children of all abilities feel like they hit a home-run!

WGN did a featured segment about the universal inclusive playground that you can view here.

Gurnee Gets the Fun Started!

Parkreation was happy to team up with the Gurnee Park District and Gurnee School District 56 to open a brand new playground at River Trail School! Through collaboration, the park district and school district were able to share the budget and give back to the kids of the community with a larger playground. The kids watched the playground being installed from the beginning, and could not wait to start playing on it at the ribbon-cutting ceremony!

Read more about River Trail School’s new playground in this Daily Herald article!