Archive for What’s New In Play

Cutting Edge Playground Equipment For 2018 – What’s New In Play

Sometimes it’s hard to believe it has been a year since I joined the LuckyDog Recreation Team. Traveling the state of Utah to meet with architects and representatives from cities and schools have become my favorite part of this job. To say the least, joining forces with you in the “Pursuit of Play” is an exciting adventure.

I am sure you will agree that the play industry has grown by leaps and bounds. This growth has spurred some of the most amazing new innovations in playgrounds, nature parks and community spaces.

You will find that the playground equipment companies that come under the LuckyDog umbrella are the leaders in the play industry. They stand above the fray with cutting-edge products.

Playcraft Systems™

• Playcraft Systems™ has a newly designed catalog for 2018. The new Contour line is designed to develop coordination, balance and decisiveness in a compact structure that reduces barriers and isolation.

New Playcraft Contour - Utah, Idaho Wyoming

Berliner Play Equipment™

• The Berliner line is pushing the boundaries of design with their custom creations. Amazing playground projects come from your ideas of how you want to use the Berliner line. We always have access to fabulous Berliner pieces to revitalize your play spaces which we can deliver for installation in as little as 2 weeks.


• PlayTime® is a recent addition to the LuckyDog portfolio. When you want to add a spark of whimsy or something completely unique to revitalize your play area, PlayTime® is the way to go! If your school mascot is a dragon, let’s replace a standard slide with a vibrant dragon – enter his mouth and slide down his back….so cool!

You imagine it — they bring it to life.

Let’s Create…Call Me Today!

Rhetta McIff, Utah Creative Play Designer, LuckyDog Recreation

P.S. Call for your new playground equipment 2018 catalogs.

LuckyDog Recreation at URPA 2018 Tradeshow in Provo, Utah

Thank you! We enjoyed meeting everyone that stopped by our booth at the URPA 2018 tradeshow in Provo, Utah.

As you know, every year we like to do a drawing for a big prize. This year the drawing was for a Freenotes Harmony Park™ outdoor musical instrument. Karen Yocum of Park City Recreation was the winner!

“Thanks for the great addition to our play! We are going to place it at our bus stop next to another sound toy for our community enjoyment.” Karen Yocum, Park City Recreation

Congratulations Karen. We are excited for your community.

A BIG thank you to our education breakout session presenters – Kate Morrison of Freenotes Harmony Park and Dr. Brett McIff, Physical Activity Coordinator at the Utah Department of Health.

In Pursuit of Play,
Nicole Stoddard and the LuckyDog Recreation Team

LuckyDog Recreation team at URPA 2018

In Pursuit Of Play With Freenotes Outdoor Musical Instruments

Now you can bring music to your playground, park or facility with Freenotes™, the industry leader in outdoor musical instruments, invented by Grammy Award-winning musician Richard Cooke more than 20 years ago.

Whether it is the little diddy that keeps rolling around in our heads, or the tunes we love to play on our way home from work, or the music that guides us through a movie, there is no doubt that music plays an integral part in our lives.

“Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent.”- Victor Hugo

Freenotes Outdoor Musical Instruments™ are based on the pentatonic scale, a musical scale with five notes per octave. Think the 5 black keys on the piano: no matter how you play them, they sound great. Pentatonic scales are encountered in music all over the world. It is the basis for Chinese music, Celtic folk music, blues, jazz, country music and gospel music, to name a few.

The pentatonic scale plays a significant role in music education. The creative improvisation of the pentatonic scale makes the Freenotes™, xylophones, bells, marimbas, chimes and drums native to our ability to play freely and be in harmony with any other instruments being played at the same time. There are no wrong notes.

Benefits of Outdoor Musical Instruments

1. Inclusive Play – No matter the limited ability of a person, outdoor musical instruments provide play that other playground equipment cannot.

2. Music is Universal – Music does not differentiate between ability or language. Musical instruments are for everyone, everywhere, regardless of social, educational, mental or medical differences. Musical play is for teens, adults, the elderly and children alike. This important concept is often missed when determining what to offer in a Park or Playground.

3. Builds Community – A musical playground brings community music-making directly into your public space, for community use.

5. Everyone is a Musician – Freenotes Outdoor Musical Instruments™ are pentatonic scale instruments designed for improvisational play, created in a way that allows success for every player.

6. No Special Surfacing Requirements – Because of the nature of the instruments, you do not need to provide special safety surfacing. A well-designed musical space will give easy access to everyone visiting the area.

7. Low Maintenance – The all-weather instruments look like variations of xylophones, chimes, marimbas and drums. Made of aluminum, fiberglass and other durable materials, they require very little maintenance.

What is the Perfect Space for Outdoor Musical Instruments?

The simple answer would be wherever people could possibly gather. But to spark your imagination, here are some ideas:

1. Exercise trails – Make going from the drudgery of exercise to the chance to stop, create and experience joyful music.

2. Walking loops around park and playground facilities – Encourage more walking by appealing to the senses with musical instruments.

3. Outdoor common areas of your business – Imagine the fun employees and families will have creating music together, building a community.

4. Outdoor Waiting Areas of Hospitals – Relieve stress and bring the pleasure of lighthearted sounds to your environment.

5. Lake and River Walkways – These visual works of art are interactive and a delight in beautiful natural settings.

6. School Playgrounds – Spark imaginations and improve academic performance, the power of musical instruments is an undeniable force in any educational setting.

7. Public Parks – Outdoor musical instruments provide play activities that interest kids, teens, adults and seniors. Most public parks provide play for kids but leave the rest of us with very little to do.

8. Residential Communities – As we see more and more residential communities going up in our cities, a musical park would be most appreciated by teens and adults of your community. Because kids of all ages flock to the instruments, your residents will be delighted.

9. Museums – Imagine these beautiful works of art at the entrance to your museum. Enhance the experience of your visitors with an interactive musical experience that will surprise them.

10. Community Gardens – Freenotes is the perfect fit for any nature environment. The pentatonic scale instruments are soothing. Selecting a diverse variety of instruments will bring a sound texture equal to the rich textures of a community garden.

11. Libraries – A musical park could not be more appropriate! Music is a wonderful multi-sensory enhancement.

12. Senior Centers or Assisted Living Facilities – Promote social activities and bonding. Decrease depression and feelings of loneliness.

13. Business Centers – Bring a sense of community and enchanting interaction to your business area. Provide distinctive unique experiences that will make your center stand out.

“At a Freenotes Harmony Park, there are no insurmountable disabilities, and there are no wrong notes.” Freenotes

Social Proof

“I get more positive comments about the musical playground than anything. People actually pick up the phone – after a trip to Moab – to tell me, ‘That was the greatest thing we have ever seen in a park. We loved it. We want a musical playground for our community.’ People, from all ages, usually have a big smile on their face when they play the instruments. Here we are in Moab, surrounded by gorgeous National Parks, and we have visitors telling other visitors that they must go to Rotary Park and play the instruments.”
– David Olsen, Moab Community Development Director

“One of the best things about these instruments is that they provide all ages and abilities an opportunity to interact with spontaneous creative expression.”
–Jeannene Bragg, PACE Center’s Cultural Director

“Without question, the best resource I have ever seen for nurturing the musician in every child is Freenotes Harmony Park™ outdoor instruments and playgrounds by Freenotes.  The instruments are designed by Richard Cooke who feels that everyone can and should be a musician, even without formal training.”
 – Patricia Jones, Teacher Support Force

“Combining music with nature has such a profound impact on us – not because science tells us so – but because of how it makes us feel.” Freenotes 

Want to create a whole musical park or add outdoor musical instruments to your project?

Call us, we can help you with creating your Freenotes™ design and help you choose the right musical instruments for your particular installation.

In Pursuit of “Musical” Play,

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

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


URPA 2018 Educational Sessions Presented by LuckyDog Recreation

“Natural Harmony: A guide to blending Outdoor Music and Community”

10:45 am – 12:00 pm  –  Presented by Kate Morrison, Freenotes Harmony Park

Music is an expressive language that is woven throughout the cultural fabric of all generations and all civilizations. There is a growing body of research that confirms music in nature positively engages the brain, builds social cohesion, and even creates the conditions for building harmonious communities.

Music transcends age, gender, ethnicity, and mobility. It is a gathering force that promotes kindness and helps us build stronger community connections.

Recent brain-based research explores synchronicity between music and nature and the impact it has on our physical, mental, and emotional health. The collective benefits can lead to more harmony within a community.

Explore the connection between music and nature in a park setting where every member of the community benefits.

Because few communities have a music program available and affordable to everyone, we will explore how a permanent installation of musical instruments can change that. With a simplified system of musical instruments that allow anyone to play regardless of age, training, or ability, individuals or several people all at once can enjoy music.

  • Participants will learn how musical instruments in a group setting create meaningful ensembles.
  • Participants will also learn to design musical settings for their own communities.

URPA 2018 educational session with Kate MorrisonKate Morrison is the Sales and Business Development Manager with Freenotes Harmony Park. Freenotes is the industry leader in outdoor musical instruments, invented by Grammy Award-Winning musician Richard Cooke, more than 20 years ago. LuckyDog Recreation is the distributor of Freenotes Harmony Park equipment for Utah.

“The Power of Place – Why Parks Matter For Health”

4:30 pm – 5-45 pm  –  Presented by Dr. Brett McIff, Physical Activity Coordinator at the Utah Department of Health

It has been said that your zip code is as important as your genetic code when it comes to health.

Public health agencies across Utah are working with communities to build healthy behaviors and environments.

In this session, we will discuss how health data can help you make the most impact in your communities, and how you can best access that data.

  • You will learn how to use local data to identify what people want when it comes to parks and playgrounds.
  • As a result, you will know how to make the healthy choice, the easy choice for everyone.

 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.

Time – Date – Location – Register URPA Tradeshow 
Tuesday, March 13th
Floor Event – 8:00 to 3:30
Utah Valley Convention Center
220 W. Center St.
Provo, UT 84601
Register here.

Introducing Playground Designer Rhetta McIff

Earlier this year we were fortunate to have Rhetta McIff join the LuckyDog team. Rhetta is our new Creative Playground Designer. Her years of experience working with local municipalities have already paid off. Her playground designs are spot on when it comes to innovation and fitting the wants and needs of the customer.

Before joining LuckyDog Rhetta worked for the Utah Department of Health collecting student injury data from all Utah School Districts to assist with safety and prevention practices. Most recently she worked at her local city office building strong community engagement through revitalization efforts including local parks and playgrounds.

Rhetta and her husband Brett are parents of two active and dynamic children who keep them laughing every day.

We are honored that Rhetta has joined the LuckyDog Team and know you will love working with her on your playground projects. As the Creative Play Designer for LuckyDog Recreation, she is unique in her approach to every playground design she creates.

In Pursuit of Play,

Nicole Stoddard

A New Generation of Playgrounds Engaging Kids In Free Play

Dynamo rotating climbers make it easier than ever to create playgrounds that challenge kids physically and socially by engaging them in free play.

The rewards of working in the playground industry are just plain fun!

The people we work with are passionate about bringing the power of play to kids, schools and communities. Plus, we get the great satisfaction of seeing kids and their families actually experiencing joyful play.

There is something magical in taking down the construction safety nets and opening the playground up to the kids. Their imaginations are as wild and contagious as their laughter.

Modern playground equipment has evolved from the standard slippery slide and jungle gym to electronic play boards, rope climbers, rotating climbers, rock climbing walls, spinners and challenge courses.

New playgrounds are designed to promote exercise, good heath, motion, social activity, spark imaginations and engage kids in free play.

In some of my favorite playground designs we were able to include climbing playground equipment by Dynamo Playgrounds, a leader in the playground industry. Rope climbing playgrounds not only encourage free play, they encourage self-imposed goal attainment.

Dynamo Astro with Rob Lockhart and the LuckyDog Crew

The LuckyDog Crew with Rob Lockhart on the Dynamo Astro Rotating Climber.

Rob Lockhart, Dynamo Playgrounds, is the perfect example of someone who is passionate about play. He definitely brings with him a better play experience…

“The motives for good activity choices in free play are many, starting with the need for children to be physically active to build fit and strong bodies. These incentives extend with the benefits of active play in promoting better academic success, continue in the indirect learning opportunities, and include the enhancement of essential life skills such as decision making and self-confidence.”  Rob Lockhart, Dynamo Playgrounds – Read More

Yes, it can be a challenge to create playgrounds that are appealing to kids of all ages, playgrounds that are engaging enough to draw them out doors, playgrounds that engage kids in free play.  That is where we have had huge successes with Dynamo:

“We live on Stierman Way, near Orval Krasen Park. Our boys have grown up playing there since we moved into the neighborhood 9 years ago. I wanted to thank you for the new playground equipment. First, our boys love it. Second, it has brought the kids “out of the woodwork” from around our neighborhood.”

Tonight there were more kids than I’ve ever seen enjoying the new spinning cone [Apollo Rotating Climber], playing kickball, swinging, and generally recreating at “our” park. We now hear the joyful sound of kids playing with ours in our neighborhood. This is something I’ve waited 9 years for.   Thank you.”


“The Apollo Rotating Climber has been a great addition to the playground. Kids run to it first and it seems like they can’t get enough of it.”    J. Christensen, Bothwell, Utah

A big thank you to all the playground professionals who have joined us in “The Pursuit of Play”.

Nicole Stoddard – Sales Rep for Dynamo Playgrounds

P.S. Interested in a playground that engages kids in “Free Play”? Call me.

Playground Equipment Utah Call Button


Play and Playground Magazine for Utah & Idaho

Attention Playground Professionals:
Architects, Installers, Schools, and Park & Recreation in Utah & Idaho

I would like to invite you to subscribe to “Play & Playground Magazine.”
You will find that the magazine keeps you up-to-date no matter what field you represent.
The quarterly magazine articles are written by Play and Playground professionals across the nation.

Utah Playground - Magazine

Get all the current information on:

  • Playground Safety
  • New Innovations in Play and Play Equipment
  • Playground and Park Equipment
  • Playground and Park Design
  • Creating New Areas for Play
  • Valuable Construction Information
  • Licensing State by State

New Articles in the Spring Issue

Recently my own “Playground Professionals” were featured in the Spring Issue:

“An Interview with Curtis Stoddard”
By: The Play and Playground Magazine

Curtis Stoddard has been a playground contractor for over thirty years and has constructed thousands of playgrounds across the Intermountain West. He co-founded the International Playground Contractors Association (NPCAI) and has been involved with ASTM International (ASTM), the National Playground…
Read More

CJ  added his expertise in an article on playground drainage for keeping your playground equipment and surfacing safe, in working order and free from repairs.  Read More from CJ

How to Get Your Very Own Subscription

Receive every issue of “Play & Playground” Magazine in your email inbox ABSOLUTELY FREE!
The quarterly digital magazine is free and the beautiful print edition is only $17.95 a year.

Subscribe today – you have nothing to loose and loads to gain.


Nicole Stoddard, Playground Sales and Service

P.S. I highly recommend getting the printed version of “Play & Playground” Magazine for you and your staff to enjoy. It is such a good deal!

Idaho Recreation & Parks Association, IRPA Conference 2014

IRPALuckyDog Recreation Participates, Educates, Displays at 2014 IRPA Conference, Twin Falls, Idaho

Dynamo Playgrounds Idaho

Lucy, the official “fun-tester” for LuckyDog Recreation with Dynamo “Two Towers” display.

LuckyDog Recreation Drawing Prize

Winner of the Certified Playground Safety Inspector Kit Eric Newell, Recreation Director, Moscow.

Nicole Stoddard, VP of Sales for LuckyDog presented an education session on Rope-Based Playgrounds, at the 2014 IRPA Conference.

“We wish to thank everyone for supporting the Idaho Parks and Recreation Association Conference in Twin Falls this past month” said Stoddard. “What a great way to visit with park professionals and get new ideas for making the great outdoors of Idaho even greater.”

The LuckyDog Recreation booth was a big hit. The display showed a  miniature “Two Towers”  climbing net from Dynamo Playgrounds. The “real life” towers can be anywhere from 13′ high to 25′ high. Yes, 25′ tall! The “Two Towers” were a great conversation piece and because the miniature display was so large, 6′ wide by 2′ tall, it took a crew from the hotel maintenance staff to get it in and out of the Conference room. They staff was super about helping and all of the miniature figurines were able to hang onto to the rope climber while in transit.

Eric Newell, Recreation Coordinator for Moscow City was the winner of the CPSI Inspectors kit given away in a raffle from LuckyDog Recreation, a $200 value. “We encourage Idaho communities to have at least one CPSI on their staff,” said Stoddard. “And, Idaho is sponsoring the CPSI class coming up on February of this year.” Certified Playground Safety Exam

The little darling in the picture with the Dynamo Playground display is Lucy, the daughter of CJ Stoddard, LuckyDog Construction Manager and Jordyn Goebel, LuckyDog Distribution Manager. Lucy is the official “fun-tester” of playgrounds installed by LuckyDog Recreation!

Like the Dynamo “Two Towers” Climbing Nets? Read On! The Two Towers series is a double pyramid-style climbing structure featuring two climbing nets joined together. It is made of steel-loaded polyamide cables with UV guard.

Dynamo uses the highest steel content in the industry, including a steel-wire core in our edge ropes, to ensure long life of the games and maximum safety for the children. These games help bring movement, balance, exercise and fun back into the playground. Net Climber Specifications

Call Nicole Stoddard for your Dynamo Rope Based Playground in Idaho and Utah

Dynamo Playgrounds Announces Launch of a New Net Playground Equipment

On June 25th 2014, Dynamo Playgrounds unveiled hot new net playground equipment called the Nebula series. At LuckyDog we are excited with the 8 new net climbers, especially the ones made for tots.

” Each structure displays a futuristic look that is sure to spark the curiosity of all playground users. Due to their compact configuration, Nebula nets can hold a large number of children in a limited space.” Dynamo Playgrounds

“These structures are a reflection of the latest developments in playground design!”
– Richard Martin, CEO of Dynamo Playgrounds

Net Climbers for kids of all ages:

The Nebula Flux

Utah Net Playground equipment - Dynamo and LuckyDog Recreation

Capacity 50 – L -18′ 9″ W-18′ 9″ H-14′ 5″

The Nebula Twister

Net Climber Playground Equipment Utah by Dynamo

Capacity 17 –  L-24′ 0″ W- 2′ 9″ H-14′

The Nebula Vortex

Net Climber Playground Equipment Utah by Dynamo

Capacity 75 – L-26’10” W-22’10” H-39’1″

Net Climbers for tots:

The Nebula Nano

Nebula Nano

Capacity 21 – D-13’7″ H-8’2″ D-25’6′












Nebula Mini I

Net climbing playground equipment - Dynamo and LuckyDog

L-16’10” W-2’0″ H-8’6″

Nebula Mini II

Utah Playgrounds - Net Climber

L-20’2″ W-2’2″ H-10’1″

Nebula Mini III

Utah Playgrounds - Net Climber

L-20′ 2″ W-2′ 2″ H-10’1″

Nebula Mini IV

Idaho Playground equipment - Net Climber

L-16′ 10″ W-5′ 11″ H-8′ 6″

New Net Climber Components

Of course every net climber playground has been built of the finest materials. Dynamo uses the highest steel content in the industry to ensure long life of the games and maximum safety for the children. And every playground is backed by the Dynamo Warranty.

All nylon ropes are UV protected and come in a fun array of colors.

Rope Colors for Dynamo Playground Net Climbers

Net Climber Safety

IPEMA CertifiedDynamo playgrounds has received written validation from the independent laboratory that the products(s) associated with the use of the IPEMA logo conforms with the requirements of the indicated standards. Dynamo has delivered playgrounds to over 50 nations worldwide.

Congratulations to Dynamo Playgrounds for being the leader in innovative net climbers. We love your new products. Dynamo net playground climbers have been a favorite on the playgrounds we have installed. Kids gravitate to them and can’t get enough!

I hope everyone is as excited as we are to have these fabulous net climbers ready to be delivered and installed on your playground.

Call and lets get some fun started today!

Nicole Stoddard – Dynamo Playgrounds Rep for Utah and Idaho

Playground Equipment Utah Call Button

Meridian Idaho Playground Construction – Dynamo Rope-Based Play System

Construction Manager, CJ Stoddard and Installers, Ryan Brunell and Thomas Bright with Manufacturer Rob Lockhart, give the new rotating climber a test drive.

Construction Manager, CJ Stoddard and Installers, Ryan Brunell and Thomas Bright with Dyanamo’s Rob Lockhart, give the new rotating climber a test drive.

LuckyDog Recreation unleashes “New-Fangled” playground equipment in Idaho.  Construction takes place this week in Meridian at new Coleman Homes Community, Bellano Creek.

Climbing playground equipment is the new buzz word in the world of children’s play and LuckyDog Recreation, a locally based playground construction company, is blowing the market open in Idaho for this “new-fangled” style of equipment.

“The next wave of exciting playground equipment is rope-based playgrounds,” said Nicole Stoddard, of LuckyDog Recreation. “The reason they are ‘so hot’ is that they engage children ‘of all ages’ …including grown-ups… in dynamic community play. Unlike traditional playgrounds that tend to ‘segregate’ able-bodied activities from activities intended for people with limited abilities, rope climbing playgrounds are designed to be universally inclusive. So everyone can have the same fun at the same time on the same toy,” continues Stoddard.

Attention landscape architect and park and playground planners: Meet and Greet playground experts –LuckyDog Recreation will unveil the second rope-based playground game, the Astro Rotating Climber, in the Treasure Valley tomorrow, Weds. April 30th at 1:00 PM at Bellano Creek, a Coleman Homes’ property and third community in Meridian, ID, located North of the intersection of Ten Mile Road and Ustick Road.

Landscape architects and park and playground planners are encouraged to take this opportunity to meet and greet the rope climbing playground equipment experts from LuckyDog Recreation and special guest, Rob Lockhart, engineer and rope climbing playground expert from Dynamo Playgrounds, the company that is pioneering the resurgence of this unique form of play equipment world-wide.

Rob has worked with Dynamo for more than a decade to take their innovative products to new heights, including the new Quad Pods double-rotating climber, and the new World’s Tallest Pyramid Net standing 50 feet tall.  As a leader in the commercial playground industry, Dynamo is an active participant in the IPEMA program and other ways to ensure safe play for all children.

Rob sits on both the IPEMA Equipment Certification Committee as well as the ASTM Subcommittee on Playgrounds for Public Use, as well as being an advisor to the CSA Technical Committee in Children’s Playspaces & Equipment. Rob is knowledgeable about every aspect of the design and construction of rope based playground equipment, as well as all of the world’s major safety standards, is a great resource for anyone looking to better understand all of the possibilities of this non-traditional way of play.

About Coleman Homes, Bellano Creek –For over 40 years, Coleman Homes has established a reputation for building premier communities and quality homes throughout California, Nevada and Idaho. As a second generation, family-owned real estate company, Coleman Homes is committed to the preservation and appreciation of home values in the Treasure Valley.

For the Bellano Creek project, Coleman Homes broke ground on their sales center and model home complex, featuring three fully decorated model homes, in late December 2013 and opened the models to the public in the middle of March this year.

Bellano Creek will be a wonderful neighborhood for families as it will feature parks with playground equipment built by LuckyDog Recreation and a swimming pool. Coleman Homes is the exclusive builder at Bellano Creek; providing a reliable, personal and financial long-term investment for the homeowners of Bellano Creek.

Urgency for Park Planners – The sense of urgency for park planners & providers of play equipment to provide equipment that challenges, engages, and gets families involved in outdoor physical activity is ever increasing. Dynamo Playgrounds is leading the world-wide charge by changing the way children perceive their play environment. Thanks to LuckyDog Recreation and forward thinking home builders like Coleman homes, the new “landscape of play” has arrived in Idaho.

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