Shade structures are rising in popularity! Not only are shades fantastic for covering picnic areas, but they provide great shelter to playgrounds, pools, and parking lots. We’ve compiled a list of the top five reasons shade structures are essential.1. UV protectionEverybody needs a little bit of sun, but it’s important to monitor the exposure your children receive while outside. Too many UV rays to unprotected surfaces can lead to skin damage, eye damage, and skin cancer. Shade structures can go a long way in protecting your children from too much exposure. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) put together a shade planner for schools.2. Temperature RegulationWe all know what happens when you put a hand to hot metal. On a sunny day, the material on park playground equipment gets very hot and risk injury to your child. Having a shade over your outdoor playground equipment prevents the sun from overheating your structures. After all, you want your child to have a fun playground experience, not a painful one.3. Weather InvulnerabilityYou want your playground structure to last as long as possible, right? Of course you do! Playground shades extend the life of your structure by shielding it from hail and other extreme weather damage. Shade structures are typically made from metal posts and either fabric or metal canopies. Metal canopies are the best option for hail protection. Shades are also popular features for parking lots, designed to protect vehicles from hail and the sun.4. Material PreservationSun exposure, over time, can have a serious corrosive effect on playground equipment. The plastic on the structure will fade and break down, and the metal playground equipment, such as fasteners, can corrode quicker under constant sunlight. A shade can slow this process down, if not prevent it altogether. Simply put, when your equipment is protected, the quality and use of your playground can be greatly improved.5. Financial IncentiveThe American Academy of Dermatology offers incentives for installing playground shade structures. The AAD Shade Structure Program offers up to $8,000 in grants to public schools and nonprofit organizations for installing permanent shade structures for outdoor playgrounds. To learn more about applying for this grant, visit https://www.aad.org/ssp/.