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Daycare Center and Family Home Forum>Playgrounds & Barkchips
Mariposa 02:17 PM 07-04-2020
(I am not new, but finally registered because I thought I could add images. Opened my in-home childcare last week. 20years experience, 15 in centers titles ranging Assistant-Director.)

My yard does not have play equipment due to bark chip (or similar-bark chip is the best option) requirements but I also really want one. Hardship is both financial (I am guessing that my 12 by 8 ft area 9 inches deep is 2.7 cubic yards. The nearby place is $42 a yard $1000 +-? (Plus tax deductible to do it now) and the work for it and making a barrier around it. My husband would make the barrier, and we are going to ask our neighbor friends to mask up and help. I physically cannot do it.

My preschool is only a 2 hour program during school days while my son is a preschooler (2 more years) then we will see if it is something I want to continue or just school age. My daughter is 7 and will probably have 2-3 more years to enjoy a playground. I wanted one before she was born, never did it. Should have

Play structures are costly as well (but tax deductable) which leads me to this question-

What is better- a structure that serves all ages (are there any in a good price range?) Or a few preschool cheaper ones that the school agers can go on if they so please but really isn't meant for them, and in 2 years after seeing how my program works and possibly moving away from preschool get a bigger structure.

Anything I am not considering? Or tips from having done this yourself?
Mariposa 03:15 PM 07-04-2020
Want to add: I think the space is pretty small and I don't want swings -space, safety, etc. And I don't most likely want the play structure right against the house where my only good play space is-becsuse there is a window. Don't want a kid to fall into it.
Mariposa 04:28 PM 07-04-2020
Looks like I cannot edit.

I realized my location was horrible so the new place is 17 by 14 so 6.8 cubic feet. Not sure of price But like 2k. Ugghhh no $ for that without the 2nd stimulus without my husband's job secured. But if we do, we have a flat play house and a mini slide already, cutting cost down for that.
284878 06:58 PM 07-04-2020
I am not sure what your regulations are but I got a used wooden swing set/fort from a family across the street $50. DH found used wood on Craigslist to frame the area under the structure $50. Then we called a local lumber yard and got wood chips delivered for a couple hundred. Recently we added chicken fence around the whole play ground for a less than two hundred.

So I have $500-600 invested plus any other improvements and upkeep that has been done over the five years.

When I was setting up, I thought it would cost more than it did. But once I talked to my consultant, they explained the regulation to me and I didn't have to do or spend as much as I thought.
Unregistered 10:14 PM 07-04-2020
Regulation is 9 inches deep and just says to be safe. Vague. And we otherwise have good licensing rules here. The local barkchip place is $41 a square foot. Didn't say cubic, so we made a guess it was not which is how we got that price. The bigger area over doubles the price.

I looked online for used play equipment and nothing now. But I don't want a swing and we have a slide. My husband does some wood work and can make monkey bars and a unique climber (2 types of climbing, platform under, and a pair of swinging monkey bars-but it would take awhile. Maybe we can get wood from someone.

Ugh and Im sorry for the first response-said I doesn't want it by the house and I meant to say did want it there...but it is funny because I realized I don't anyway. And I made some typos. Couldn't edit.

Hoping to get the stimulus check.
284878 05:45 AM 07-05-2020
Oh I took the swings off mine for DC. My DH will put one one for DD on the weekends. Our regulations does not allow for monkey bars. We do have a small rock wall that is also a ladder, that takes the kids into the fort and down the slide.

What other play equipment are you looking for?
Half of what I got, we got for free or low prices on Craigslist, Facebook, thrift stores or just taking a Sunday drive around town.

You can also just have a natural playground. (Search online for examples) Ask your social network of friends for things from their yard.
Cat Herder 06:08 AM 07-05-2020
Edit works for 2-3 minutes for everyone.
Unregistered 10:24 PM 07-05-2020
I have a playhouse and mini slide already from my kids. I also have 2 tires. I want something to climb and monkey bars- my husband can make them but I rather have it sooner than later. I designed the climber off examples I have seen, and emailed my licensor on her perspective.
I have been looking in Offer Up, Let Go, Craigslist, and FB Marketplacefor play structures-I want a wood one, but I dont need a slide and that's usually the focal point.
But if it is cheap I could remove the swings and do monkey bars, and rehome my existing slide.
Mariposa 08:49 AM 07-08-2020
Update: my licensor reminded me of the 6 ft fall zone (so in a small yard it means nothing-and I want some grass and I have a sprinkler system a stupid storm drain that causes some issues with space. The drain is kitty corner of the patio so I have two corners of space.
She pointed me to the playground standards handbook which is 60 some pages of regulations.
I am not separating kids and saying "no that is for big kids" if I can help it-avoid the power struggle, to be able to have play structures for each age group and I have not found one for both that is not expensive that fits in the space I have.

We are thinking now maybe a cool deck that lasts past kids but a) absolutely no playground then and b) even less grass and running space.
Mariposa 10:16 AM 07-08-2020
Is it really 6 feet fall space for little things like a little plastic slide, half tires, etc? Like 3 feet up maximum for 3 year olds plus.

That is what is so maddening. I get fall zones but 6 feet is huge for one play piece that is not terribly high up.

My licensor says monkey bars is front and back not side to side...
Cat Herder 10:27 AM 07-08-2020
The fall zones, fencing and mulch thickness requirements are why most have gone to playhouses, outdoor kitchens, sand & water tables and easels outdoors. It is impractical for most small providers to stay in compliance anymore.

Kids can climb on parents time.
Mariposa 10:44 AM 07-08-2020
I think that it will look so nice to have barkchips but for how long? Maybe I can have a deck that extends out to the storm drain and then have a raised platform. Keep the grass. Probably better long term.

Hmm. Ideas.

Here is another issue-we have uneven grass surface! I hate grass, too. It is not hugely noticable until you look or want to sit on a chair. But barkchips would level it.
SunnyDay 12:19 PM 07-22-2020
I would shop around and see if you can get a better price. Maybe it varies a lot by area, but here in Michigan playground mulch is only around $16/cubic yard, and colored mulch is around $27.
Mariposa 03:10 PM 07-22-2020
It was never specified if the $42 a yard was cubic or not. I assumed it was not which is why I guessed the price. But luckily it isn't. But my hard size would only allow for a little plastic preschool slide that 99% of the time is perfectly safe on grass.
So we scraped the idea.
CalCare 11:37 AM 07-23-2020
I was noticing the tax deductible part of your post. I would keep in mind, it's not fully tax deductible. Since you have your own preschool aged child, it would probably only be time/space and your time/space is probably really low since you are only open two hours. Mine is super low, 21%, because I am open short hours (4 days a week, 7.5 hours). So, any toys, tables, anything that my personal children also use apart from business hours, is only 21% deductable. It makes a big difference in what I buy. If you can make the argument that your personal child absolutely doesn't use it outside of business hours, then you're good to go on 100% deductable. I have seen providers in the Facebook childcare groups get busted on this exact situation in an audit and owe a ton. It's considered tax fraud to do a business deduction for something that's used for personal use.
Mariposa 09:09 PM 07-23-2020
That is true. I have been keeping tabs of everything shared and percentage-down to the trashbags I do have nonschool day and before|after so I calculate hours of care in the week for it, but it will get tricky during transitions to breaks.
284878 02:09 PM 07-24-2020
Originally Posted by Mariposa:
That is true. I have been keeping tabs of everything shared and percentage-down to the trashbags I do have nonschool day and before|after so I calculate hours of care in the week for it, but it will get tricky during transitions to breaks.

You really don't need to do that. You are working harder at tracking expenses than you need too.

If you use it 100% for DC, record it that way. If it is used for the household and DC than record it for time/space. (Your time space will vary year to year but mine avg 30%) If it is 100% for the household, record it that way. I use quicken, others use spreadsheets, and others use kidkare.

That is really all that you need to do for your taxes. All the work you are doing counting each trash bag used it not going to matter when you do your taxes.

If you you use a sign in sheet it will keep track of hours worked. Then you only have record hours outside of open hours that you work. Tom says you only need to track them during two months a year and then avg it out for the year.

Have you checked out Tom Copeland blog? He has great resources on how to track expenses and hours.
Mariposa 08:14 PM 07-31-2020
It is pretty simple-if I use 5 for daycare a and 1 on the weekend, I put in the percentage of what I use. It is a Costco box, lasts a bit. Same price each time.
My spreadsheet is pretty easy once set up-it has tabs and they are connected together so it shows me my overall expenses and revenue. I like to see where I am spending. I get a receipt, I plug it in. I really like it.
Mariposa 08:18 PM 07-31-2020
Thanks. I am ok, though. I love working and never keep track of hours. Never did in a job. One of the only things I liked being a center Director over the years-workjng whenever. I liked being able to go in on weekends sometimes and work without interuptions. I love being able to work freely.

Unregistered 08:43 PM 08-01-2020
Originally Posted by Mariposa:
Thanks. I am ok, though. I love working and never keep track of hours. Never did in a job. One of the only things I liked being a center Director over the years-workjng whenever. I liked being able to go in on weekends sometimes and work without interuptions. I love being able to work freely.

Check this out
Tags:kidkare accounting reports, mulch, playground surfaces, wood chips
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