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As trusted park and recreation equipment experts, we often get asked: How do we get people of all generations to get outside together? Well, what if we told you there are multiple ways to attract people of all ages to your playgrounds and it will significantly impact your entire community?
Keep reading to learn more about the benefits of multi-generational play and how you can design your playground with everyone in mind.
Multi-generational play has been trending in playground and park design for a while now, and for good reasons! It provides important physical, emotional, and social benefits for everybody involved.
For instance, kids who actively engage with adults, their peers, and older children, demonstrate stronger language and problem-solving skills. Adults that engage in playful activities experience reduced stress, better moves, and stronger relationships. Even teenagers who often experience anxiety due to the pressure of growing up can meet up with friends and let off some steam in a park or playground. And everyone, no matter how old they are, can enjoy increased vitamin D intake, stimulated brain activity, and improved confidence and fitness!
With so many benefits, it's vital to consider creating a space where everyone can play together. How do you go about that, though?
A successful multi-generational playground takes people of all ages and abilities into consideration. That means there should be inclusive equipment and amenities, such as adequate safety surfacing, ADA-compliant ramps, and engaging products like the Expression Swing. In fact, the Expression Swing is a prime example of an inclusive, multi-generational piece of equipment that allows parents or caregivers to interact visually and verbally with kids. You can read more about the importance of inclusive playgrounds and how they enable every one of all abilities and ages to have fun here.
For this blog though, we want to focus on designing a multi-generational playground with different equipment and set-ups that help kids and adults truly pound the pavement together! Studies show that adults and kids who exercise outdoors more than others will be more active and stay more active throughout the day. You can encourage this kind of multi-generational play by providing outdoor fitness equipment designed to get kids and adults really moving.
Take a look at some examples below.
Obstacle courses have been touted as a top fitness trend for several years, captivating children and adults alike. The appeal is quite understandable, as obstacle courses improve cardiovascular strength, agility, coordination, and muscle strength. They’re also a great way to encourage people of all ages to be more playful by offering challenges like jumping, crawling, climbing, hanging, running, and swinging. All of this also helps create and strengthen bonds between kids, teenagers, and adults.
Just consider this: when you're on an obstacle course, you may even find yourself offering a helping hand to someone nearby, creating that connection! Or, you may be on the receiving end. In either situation, outdoor obstacle courses provide a healthy outlet for all in a format that anyone of any age can enjoy.
The Challenge Course, an example of an increasingly-popular obstacle course we provide, is an outdoor fitness experience for children, adults, and families that creates multiple opportunities for fun and physical activity. The Challenge Course combines exciting obstacle course activities with precision timing systems to raise the stakes, and MRC offers both Pro and Youth configurations to meet your community’s specific needs. Fun fact: The Challenge Course was created to be a combination between the NFL Combine and American Ninja Warrior!
What are the differences? The Pro Series meets the standards for outdoor fitness equipment and appeals to adults and older children (ages 13+) in parks and green spaces. The Youth Series complies with playground equipment standards and is perfect for schools and youth organizations. Whichever you pick, the Challenge Course promotes friendly competition, encourages physical activity for people of all ages that enhance speed, agility, and strength, and provides opportunities for outdoor exercise!
The Toro Court, a colorful field with interactive panels and LED lights that react to ball impact, is another fun and easy way to get kids, adults, adults, and families playing and engaging in physical exercise together. The Toro Court has four goals, specifically promoting cooperation and inclusivity amongst kids and teens. As noted, the Toro Court supports interactive play, which empowers fine-tuning skills and training.
Other group games like basketball, tennis, volleyball, and pickleball also offer chances for people of all ages to exercise and play together. Of course, proper flooring is essential to these and the manufacturer Sport Court offers high-quality flooring that absorbs impact and offers perfect grip, creating a safe and fun environment to play basketball, tennis, volleyball, or other court games.
The Toro Court and these other traditional ball games are just another way to reap the benefits of outdoor multi-generational play because they’re accessible to everyone, attract different people, and help people beat stress through the power of exercise!
Interactive playground equipment infused with state-of-the-art technology also gives kids, teens, and families great incentives to get and stay outdoors together. Interactive and multigenerational products are simple to understand and encourage free play because they’re motivating and engaging.
Perhaps the most versatile and inclusive option is the Sona Arch. This smart arch is a dance and play product that asks kids, teens, and adults if they want to play a game immediately after stepping underneath it. From there, families can select from a library of games at the touch of a button. The play floor is freely accessible for everyone of all ages and abilities, and the software is available to edit for audio and speed to meet everyone’s needs. It’s a perfect way to get any kid up and dancing with their parents, grandparents, or guardian.
Other interactive tech-infused equipment that’s great for multigenerational play:
Whether you’re hoping to gather people on the Toro Court, dancing under the Sona Arch, or get them working through an obstacle court together, we’ve considered several possibilities for inspiring play, exercise, and connection for generations to come, and we’ve laid them on the line here.
So, are you ready to get started on your multi-generational play space? Our artists, playground designers, and engineers are leading experts in the field who listen to your needs and dreams. Reach out to see them work their sheer magic to draw people to the outdoors and one another, where wonder and fun are created again!