Author Archive for Nicole Stoddard

The Scientific Link between Quality of Life and Your Local Park

You don’t have to look very far to find the economic impact of parks on a community, increasing home values and increasing the number of people coming to your community to play and relax. However, the impact of parks and green space on individuals and overall quality of life is becoming a much more common topic in both research and community organizations.

Quality of Life and Parks

Time spent outdoors can be directly correlated with improved mental and physical health. People who live in residential areas away from green space have higher rates of diagnosed anxiety and depressive disorders. Even the distance from parks has an impact on how much physical activity you get.

But wait! Isn’t the decision to live healthy lives dependent on my choices? Absolutely, but you are more likely to make healthy choices like being active when you have access to resources like parks and green space nearby, accessible, and friendly to your preferred types of activity.

Many organizations are looking in to these relationships and how they can be used to help cities, neighborhoods, and streets be mentally, physically, and fiscally healthy. One approach is 10-minute parks, ensuring that every individual has the ability to get to a friendly, clean, and welcoming park within a 10 minute walk.

Public health agencies, community development organizations, realtors, and hospital systems are all excitedly working to help make this a reality, knowing that the impact of walkable accessible parks and green space will result in healthier, happier people.

Want to know more and get the stats behind this movement? Check out some of the following resources to learn how parks can impact your community’s health and well being.

Parks and Improved Mental Health and Quality of Life. National Recreation and Parks Association.

Everyone Deserves a Park Within a 10-minute Walk from Home. The Trust for Public Land.

Greener Childhood Associated With Happier Adulthood. NPR.

Parks, Trails, and Health. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Be active, be healthy,

Dr. Brett McIff

Dr. Brett McIff - LuckyDog RecreationDr. Brett McIff has worked in physical activity promotion for over 20 years in a variety of fields from personal training to policy development. He received his undergraduate degree at the University of Utah in Exercise and Sports Science. He continued his graduate work with a Master of Science in Public Health and a Ph.D. in Public Health at Walden University. Brett has served as President of the National Physical Activity Society and as President of the Utah Chapter of the Society of Public Health Educators and served on expert panels with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Academy of Science.  He works with committees at the national, state, and local levels to promote environments that encourage regular physical activity. 


Deseret Heritage Park In Delta Utah Gets Big Playground Update

Welcome To Delta, Utah and their newest park, Deseret Heritage Park

The City of Delta is a quiet treasure in Utah with a rich history and people with a deep love for their community. Over the last 5 years they have created a community center, new park and new neighborhood that embodies all the attributes of this strong community.

In their desire to grow and be responsive to community needs they have focused on fundraising and applying for grants to provide a new playground at their new park location, Deseret Heritage.

With a new catalog at hand and amazing Playcraft Systems® promotions, the board was able to find a design they loved, customized it to fit their needs, and added in free equipment to round out the playground! The views in this community are amazing, so the tallest tower caps out at over 17’ in height to the top of the roof, giving children an amazing perspective.

This playground is appealing to all ages. There are climbers and slides for the littlest explorer, and more complex climbers and transitions leading to tall towers and slides for the bigger adventurer. There’s balancing, swinging, sliding, climbing, stretching, reaching and jumping – everything kids need!

The colors are more muted to blend with the natural theme of the play area, but the lime green accents give it just a little pop of color! All in all, it’s an amazing playground that Delta can be proud of.

Thank you, Delta City and everyone involved, for letting us be a part of the growth in your community. We’re excited to see what you do next!

TESTED and APPROVED by Lucy, Official LuckyDog Recreation FunTester


Custom Is Standard With Berliner Play Equipment

A Shout Out to Utah Architects whose projects and leading article appear in the Berliner publication Breathtaking Pla(y)ces, Projects in Collaboration with Landscape Architects.  Download your copy here…it will take your breath away, guaranteed.


LuckyDog is proud to be associated with the Berliner brand and Mike Wonenberg of G Brown Architects, whose project at Brookside Park in South Jordan, Utah was featured on page 32 of Berliner’s publication, Breathtaking Pla(y)ces

G Brown proves that sand is still a viable playground surface, and slope on playgrounds is the current modality for ASLA desiring to distinguish their projects as unique, aesthetically pleasing, and most importantly, offer unsurpassed user engagement. Now how is that for investing in your community. 


LuckyDog Recreation wishes to acknowledge Gregory Graves, PLA, ASLA of J-U-B-Engineers, Kaysville Utah, for his contribution and dedication to dreaming and imaging play in new and exciting ways.

Gregory’s commentary starts the Breathtaking Pla(y)ces publication off with words that make one want to experience a Berliner Playground first hand. Thanks to Greg and his team of landscape architects. you can.

“They (Berliner) are always willing to look ‘outside the box’ with me for something that will provide the ‘wow’ factor I look for in each design, regardless of the size of playground. They get it!”  –  Gregory H. Graves, PLA, ASLA

See Mr. Graves’ Designs for Saratoga Springs Neptune Park on page 48 of your Breathtaking Pla(y)ces publication.

By now many, if not all of who receive the LuckyDog Newsletter have heard of, if not experienced firsthand, the Neptun XXL unlimited play and climbing opportunities at Neptune Park in Saratoga Springs, Utah, designed by Mr. Graves.


If you have not been to Neptune Park yet, what are you waiting for? From young children, to teens and adults alike, this impressive massive 30’ tall net has something for everyone.


Chelsie Johnson– Public Works Assistant for the City of Wilder, ID

Congratulations Chelsie, we are excited to see where you will be placing your new Playcraft® Buddy Bench

Adopting A Craftsman’s Mindset

LuckyDog Recreation is in the business of articulating to you, our valued customer, the quality mindset behind everything we do. While speedy delivery and installation of your playgrounds are something we aspire to, we never take shortcuts on giving you the time and attention you deserve to get a play system you will LOVE.

The expression ‘quality takes time’ can easily be attributed to what we do at LuckyDog Recreation and Playcraft Systems®, our premier playground brand. While your equipment arrival time is lessened by the shortened distance between Playcraft’s factory in Oregon to you in Idaho, Utah or Wyoming (saves you on freight too), we never take shortcuts on quality.

Each and every component that makes up an order is fabricated only after it’s ordered with the mindset of a craftsman and the care and attention to detail you have come to expect from Playcraft and LuckyDog.

Playcraft Systems on CAD Details
So let’s start today building your dream playground tomorrow. Call our Team of Professionals at 800-388-2196. Or if you need it yesterday, visit Playcraft on where we have hundreds of play system options, site furnishings and independent components. Visit: CAD

An Insider Peak Into A Playground Factory
Ever wonder what goes on inside a playground factory? It’s a mystery, right? No longer. This video offers you a taste of the craftsman’s mindset that goes into every Playcraft Systems® play structure. Enjoy!

Spring Into Play With Playcraft Systems Rewards

It is that time of year again to spring into savings with the purchase of a
Playcraft Systems playground!

Playcraft Systems Spring Rewards

This program allows you to choose one freestanding item at no additional charge. The Play Rewards Program covers all accepted purchase orders through April 30th, 2019.

So let’s get busy and create fabulous playgrounds that qualify you for clever playground equipment additions.

In Pursuit of Play,

Leslie Smith – Idaho – 208-521-8997

Rhetta McIff – Utah – 385-222-1030

Nicole Stoddard – Wyoming – 800-388-2196

GaGa Ball Pits Are Easy With This Gaga Ball Kit

GaGa Ball Pits take dodgeball to a whole new level of play and a Play Action Systems Gaga Ball kit makes the game easy to set up.

GaGa literally means “touch-touch” in Hebrew. The game is a variant of dodgeball played in a GaGa pit that is usually an octagon or hexagon shaped wall on top of a smooth surface of dirt, turf, or a rubber mat.

See the Gaga Ball Pit in Action…

gaga ball kit by luckydog recreation - play action systemsPlayers of all ages love to play this simple yet invigorating game of running, dodging, jumping and striking, making it a popular game for camps, schools, playgrounds and recreation centers.

This kinder and gentler form of dodgeball has grown in popularity because it doesn’t require the skills of other sports. It just takes the willingness to follow the rules and have fun. The Gaga Ball rules and the confined space along with the soft GaGa ball create a safe game that leans more towards just plain fun than athletic performance.

The action of a GaGa Ball Pit is addicting, the game moves extremely quickly. Players must keep moving to avoid being hit by the ball and eliminated and at the same time try to hit their opponents below the knees with the ball.

Because it is fun and easy, everyone is sure to get a workout. Of course, the last player standing is the winner.

Once the game ends, all players are back in the pit for more, guaranteed!

Play Action Systems Gaga Ball Pit Kit

LuckyDog Recreation offers three sizes of modular ‘kits’ for indoor or outdoor use.

“Each kit comes complete with stanchions and borders to create the GaGa Pit. Each ‘wall’ of the pit is constructed of 4′ sections of double stacked borders resulting in side panels that are 28″ high. The 28″ height allows for maximum ball rebound and easy pit entrance and exit by players. Our stanchions can be permanently anchored if desired (not included) and are PVC coated for maximum durability. Additionally, our stanchion design keeps the pit panels raised 4″ for easier pit cleaning of debris.” Action Play Systems

Ready to play?

Call us at LuckyDog Recreation for your very own GaGa Ball kit.

Playground Equipment Utah Call Button

P.S. You can get more information on GaGa Ball Pits over at Playpedia, our favorite resource for all things playground. Don’t forget to sign up for their Newsletter while you are there.

See You At 2019 URPA Conference In St. George, Utah

This year at the 2019 URPA Conference in St. George, LuckyDog Recreation is sponsoring an education session on inclusive rope-based play.

As you know, creating an inclusive play environment is much more that providing easy access to play equipment, it is creating an environment where everyone no matter their ability can be integrated into the group as a whole.

Interestingly, a rope-based playground are the perfect way to entice and include everyone on the playground.

Wednesday Education Session Presented by LuckyDog Recreation & Berliner

Adaptive rope-based play for expanding Inclusive Playgrounds

1) Walk away with unique examples that provide Equivalent Facilitation for playgrounds.
2) Be informed of other less-discussed disabilities and how to easily plan for them.
3) Receive a “refresher” course on Ground Level Requirements, Ramps, and Transfer Systems.

DATE: Wednesday March 13th, 2019
TIME: 3:55 PM
LOCATION: Dixie Conference Center, St George, Snow Canyon Room

On Tuesday, stop by our trade show booth to personally meet the education session presenter, Brian Chaff.

Trade Show – Tuesday, March 12 – 12 noon to 3 pm
Education Session – Wednesday, March 13 – 3:55 pm – The Snow Canyon Room

Looking forward to seeing you in sunny St. George.


Rhetta McIff, CPSI
Utah Creative Play Designer – 385-222-1030

CJ Stoddard, CPSI
Construction Manager – 208-521-5719

2019 URPA - Inclusive Rope-base play by Berliner and LuckyDog Recreation

LuckyDog Recreation - Berliner Play Equipment - The Globe






How To Be Active When The Air Hurts

New Year’s Resolution to be healthier? 
New running shoes?
Air polluted so badly that you end up coughing and feeling lousy all day? 

The winter air in many places is less than ideal due to an increase in pollutants from increased driving and heating of homes.

If you live in a place that has inversions, a condition where a dense layer of cold air is trapped beneath warm air like a lid, that air pollution can concentrate and make breathing difficult.  Those fine particles that make up the majority of air pollution can get past the usual defensive mechanisms in the body, irritating the full length of the respiratory tract. If you have breathing difficulties from conditions such as asthma or from smoking, you can really get hit hard.

Here are some things to make your exercise easier on your lungs during bad air days:

  • Be active when cars aren’t.
  • Avoid walking or running during rush hour times when pollution is highest.
  • You aren’t a car, so find a trail or other path in a park that is away from cars in order to lower your exposure.  Car exhaust is extremely irritating, stay away from places where it concentrates such as intersections.
  • If you can, be active indoors.
  • Check the air quality index each day and if it is a poor air day, stay inside.
  • However, indoor air can also be full of irritants as well, so avoid exercise after vacuuming or dusting to minimize impact.

Be active, be healthy,

Dr. Brett McIff

Dr. Brett McIff - LuckyDog RecreationDr. Brett McIff has worked in physical activity promotion for over 20 years in a variety of fields from personal training to policy development.  He received his undergraduate degree at the University of Utah in Exercise and Sports Science. He continued his graduate work with a Master of Science in Public Health and a Ph.D. in Public Health at Walden University.  Brett has served as President of the National Physical Activity Society and as President of the Utah Chapter of the Society of Public Health Educators and served on expert panels with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Academy of Science.  He works with committees at the national, state, and local levels to promote environments that encourage regular physical activity. 


What is an inversion?

What causes poor air quality?

Exercise and air quality

Utah air pollution and public health

Ten Great Reasons for Building a Climbing Wall at Your Facility

Climbing is not a trendy add-on, but rather a relevant and beneficial activity that encourages the physical, mental, social and emotional growth of each participant. Listed below you will find ten great reasons to consider as you ponder the development of a climbing wall program at your facility.

1. Climbing is a lifelong activity that is attractive to a wide range of people and can be offered in a variety of settings:

  • Camps
  • Schools
  • Universities
  • Park and Recreation Centers
  • Fitness Centers
  • Child Care Facilities
  • Family Fun Centers
  • Children’s Museums
  • Hospitals and Rehabilitation Centers
  • Occupational Therapy Facilities

2. Climbing offers versatility. Walls come in a myriad of shapes, sizes and surfaces to meet an assortment of programming wishes and requirements.

3. The activity of climbing satisfies the interests and needs of today’s contemporary society and could revitalize your programming.

River Rock - By Everlast

4. Climbing contributes to overall physical fitness through:

    • Aerobic and anaerobic activity 
    • Increased cardiovascular fitness
    • Enhanced balance, coordination and flexibility
    • Increased muscle strength and endurance
    • Improved motor planning
  • Enhanced body awareness

5. Climbing wall activities provide opportunities for social-emotional skill building:

    • Increased self-knowledge, self-confidence and self-reliance
    • Enhanced patience, perseverance, courage, trust, willpower and self-control
    • Meeting challenges
    • Positive risk taking
    • Stress management
    • Awareness of others
  • Leadership

6. Climbing wall activities enhance cognitive skills:

    • Problem-solving, including the identification of multiple solutions for challenges 
    • Decision and judgment making
    • Increased focus and concentration
    • Visualization and mental imaging
    • Following directions and safety rules
  • Goal setting

7. Climbing walls provide opportunities for cross-curricular programming in content areas such as:

    • Communication (listening, speaking and writing) through team challenges and individual writing
    • Mathematics (unique climbing activities require participants to solve math problems)
  • All subject areas (endless possibilities through collaboration with colleagues in other
    subject areas)

8. Climbing wall activities provide a setting for real-life experiences in meeting challenges, traveling beyond one’s “comfort zone” and developing character.

9. Climbing wall activities emphasize cooperation versus competition and encourage the development of a climate where “everybody wins” and success for all is the common by-product.

10. Climbing wall activities are fun, exciting, challenging and engaging!

Contributed by Eric Stevens, Everlast Climbing™ 

Everlast - A Playcore Company PM

You can download the most recent climbing catalog right here:  Everlast Climbing™ Catalog 

The LuckyDog Team is pleased Everlast Climbing™   is one of the Playcore companies we represent.

Call us today and create the perfect indoor playground for your own team.

Nicole Stoddard – LuckyDog Recreation Sales and Marketing – 800-388-2196

Rhetta McIff, Utah’s Creative Play Designer  – 385-222-1030

Two Ways to Approach Playground Maintenance

Whether you are a playground owner by default, or you inherited a play structure as part of your job, or you are a full-time parks and playground professional, this article is for you.

There are two ways to approach playground maintenance: The do-it-yourself method or you can hire LuckyDog Recreation to do the heavy-lifting for you. LuckyDog is an experienced and trusted playground contractor with Certified Playground Safety Inspectors (CPSI). LuckyDog offers an annual or bi-annual program we call LuckyDog’s Signature Inspection Service.

LuckyDog Recreation Inspections

The 4 Top Reasons For Playground Inspections

Whether you do it yourself or hire professional playground inspections here are 4 reasons you want to implement an inspection and maintenance program:

  1. Extends the life of your playground
  2. Keeps children safe
  3. Shows you are exercising due diligence
  4. Shows you have a risk management tool in place

Let’s elaborate on each of the above:

  1. Extends the life of your playground. When playground equipment is installed correctly, it should last well past the warranty dates on any of the components. Many municipalities set a pre-budget date for replacement so playground equipment can be replaced every 15 years. However, I know of many playgrounds living beyond 20 years that are still in great shape because they were installed correctly, and they are being inspected and maintained regularly. Of course, the “brand” of equipment is another factor in the mix; you get what you pay for. So, for the purposes of this article, let’s assume you purchased your equipment from a reputable playground contractor that represents top-tier equipment.
  2. Keeps children safe. Everyone’s a parent, grandparent, uncle or aunt. So it goes without saying we all have a vested interest in keeping children safe. Unlike safety restraints in a car which are regulated by law, do not playgrounds rely on a softer moral code? If it’s for the kids, make it as safe as it can possibly be while still being fun. Based on that presupposition, as a playground owner, you are morally obligated to care enough to do regular inspections on your equipment; whether you do it yourself, have a CPSI on staff, or hire LuckyDog Recreation is up to you and items 3 and 4 might help to settle the issue of WHOM you should hire to do the work.
  3. Shows you are exercising due diligence. This indicated that reasonable steps were taken by the owners of the playground to prevent an incident that could potentially send a child to the emergency room, or worse, a fatality. Should a child be injured on “your” playground, you could be found negligent if you cannot show records of your equipment having been maintained by a qualified inspector. In the playground world, qualified inspector means a CPSI. So not only do you need to do the inspections, or hire them done, record-keeping is also essential.
  4. Shows you have a risk management instrument in place. I know a city of Utah that sends one of their CPSIs to the certified training yearly. Never mind that re-certification is only required every three years. This city is dedicated to the safety of the children and tasks the maintaining of their playgrounds to the most qualified person on staff, a highly trained CPSI. The result? Better maintained playground of course and safer children of course. However, there is another not so obvious benefit for the city “paying” hundreds of dollars each year for this extra training. Should this city ever be in a litigation case, they can show without questionable doubt they have an ironclad risk management tool in place.

Now, are we suggesting you run out and become a CPSI? Or that you get your staff certified? Well, it depends on your budget, how many playgrounds you own, and other factors. However, we are suggesting that by calling LuckyDog Recreation about our Signature Service Inspections you can get service you can count on. And by the way, we do offer inspections on brands other than those we sell.* 

*When you own a LuckyDog playground, we offer a 1 Year Signature Service Inspection for free with every play structure installed; just another way we show we care.

In Pursuit of Play,

Curtis Stoddard, CSPI, Construction Manager

Playground Equipment Utah Call Button

LuckyDogr Recreation Certified Playground Inspectors

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Enter To Win A Buddy Bench

Buddy Bench is a simple way to create friendship on the playground. Now You Can WIN ONE!

·DONATE IT to your favorite nieces/nephew’s school, for example

Playcraft buddy bench

Foster Friendship - Enter To Win A Playcraft® Buddy Bench - Enter Here