GameTime Uses Research and Experience to Bless the Lives of Children Everywhere
A self-described “whole park” company, GameTime is also a “whole child” company.
The “whole park” idea comes from the fact that GameTime prides itself on offering high-quality products and services in every area of the playground. From the play equipment itself to the bike racks surrounding the playground, GameTime has components from its product line that can fill
But more important than the product line variety, GameTime has a commitment, which has been there since the company started in 1929, to the children that use the playground.
“Play is crucial to a child’s development and as manufacturers of the equipment they use, we have an obligation to make sure the play structures we produce offer children the best opportunities for this development,” said Brian Johnson, vice president of commercial marketing and product development.
The importance of the betterment of children is at the center of all that is done at the Fort Payne, Ala.-based company. Part of that betterment involves getting the children away from the television and outside on the playground where the free play exercise has multiple benefits ranging from social development to cardiovascular development.
GameTime continues to be a leader in the play equipment industry, due in large part to the research and development the company does. Photo courtesy GameTime
“Today’s children are overloaded with visual stimuli from all directions, and they are easily bored, so we have to make sure that our play components get their attention and hold it,” said Tom Norquist, senior vice president of commercial sales, marketing, and product development.
With the challenge of the video games facing GameTime and other industry members, Norquist and the other members of the team at GameTime understand the importance of knowing more about the benefits of free play and passing that knowledge onto others.
“Many schools are eliminating recess-time, taking kids away from needed exercise and free play, to give them more academic time and emphasis on standardized testing,” Norquist said. “The reality is that children would improve their academic scores if given the opportunity for more play experiences. We’re meeting this challenge head-on by conducting more research to better understand this issue and communicate it to schools and parents across the country.”
The research sponsored by GameTime extends to special needs children that might have different developmental challenges than other children. One such way GameTime is assisting these children is through a partnership with the Siskin Institute in Chattanooga, Tenn. GameTime tries new designs and products by setting up the equipment at the Siskin Institute and allowing the special needs children serviced by the institute to try the innovations first hand. This allows GameTime to make quicker, and more successful, adjustments to the equipment.
“All of our playgrounds are designed with accessibility in mind,” Norquist said. “Our goal is to make compliance an automatic part of the playground experience—something the customer wants to do, not has to do.”
The information gathered from research helps not only the end user—the children—enjoy GameTime’s products but also helps make for a more convenient playground building process all around. The unique fastening system GameTime uses in its equipment—which includes having each component bolt directly into each upright instead of using a clamp system to go around the upright—makes installation and maintenance easier on all parties.
GameTime has also welcomed the future as it comes and influences play equipment manufacturing. The company incorporates computer-assisted drafting (CAD) software that makes it easier to find the best playground set up for each situation. They are also a leading playground manufacturer in the use of roto-molded components, like the Bigfoot slide.
"Play is crucial to a child's development and as manufacturers of the equipment they use, we have an obligation to make sure the play structures we produce offer children the best opportunities for this development." -Brian Johnson, Vice president of Commercial Marketing and Product Development
Also helping GameTime’s continued leadership in the playground industry and in the development of youth is the company’s involvement in one of the hottest recreational industries today: skateparks.
GameTime has partnered with Spohn Ranch, a leader in the ramp-building industry, to create the Spohn Modular Skate Parks line of equipment.
“Possibly the hottest trend in play since M. Paul Friedberg’s linked-play concept in the late 1960s, skateparks are no longer viewed as a fringe activity, but as a mainstream athletic venue for the kids to develop a skill and enjoy themselves doing it,” Norquist said. “Through our partnership with Spohn Ranch, we are able to represent a level of equipment that fits in with our core business: the very best equipment available with the most extensive research and reputation behind it.”
So from slides to skateparks and from surfacing to shade, GameTime offers a complete—or “whole”—park that is beneficial and enjoyable to any child.
For more information on GameTime, contact the company at 1-800-235-2440 or visit www.gametime.com.