The most fun playgrounds are the ones where everyone can play. The ideal park includes a wide range of different options that visitors can choose from to create their preferred experience. When you’ve created the perfect park, you’ll see kids of all ages being able to play together. You might even be able to spot a few grown ups joining in on the fun. These ideas will help you get started with making sure that your park design works for everyone.
Set the Stage for Fun With Accessible Walkways
Planning an inclusive playground should start from the ground up. You can have the best equipment in the world, but it won’t matter if people with mobility challenges can’t access the toys. Start with accessible surfacing that makes it possible for people with wheelchairs and other mobility aids to make it to the equipment. You’ll still need to include loose fill around the high parts of a playground structure, but you can at least be sure that every kid can get there.
Choose an Integrated Design
Park and recreation planners sometimes make the mistake of separating different types of playground equipment. For example, you might feel like it is safer to place an inclusive piece of equipment away from areas where children might get rambunctious. Unfortunately, this tends to have the effect of segregating the children, which causes some to feel left out. Try to place a variety of different kinds of equipment near each other so that kids are encouraged to mingle.
Provide Opportunities for Self-Expression
Kids are constantly working on their communication skills, and the freedom that they feel on the playground gives them an open space to express their thoughts. Since many young kids struggle with speech challenges, it is important to add features that help bridge the gap. Freestanding musical instruments let kids experiment with new ways to share their feelings. Being able to communicate in new ways fosters friendships between kids who have different abilities.
Include Sensory Elements
Kids naturally flock to equipment that stimulates their senses. School playground equipment should help kids explore a wide range of different sensations. Preschoolers can play with sensory walls on large playground structures. Older kids can spin, slide and climb their way to stronger muscles and better coordination. Color wheels and other sensory pieces of equipment are also great for kids with autism and behavioral disorders that explore the play space in different ways.
Provide Ways for Everyone to Play Together
Kids with disabilities may prefer to play with or near their adult family members and teachers. Consider adding a few pieces of equipment that everyone can use. Expression swings and merry-go-all’s encourage positive interactions among people of all ages. Once you see that everyone is having fun, you can be sure that you have created the perfect inclusive play area.
Inclusive playgrounds are welcoming to all of the people who live and play in your community. Creating a playground that allows everyone to play involves some careful thought and planning, and we’ve got the right equipment to fit everybody’s needs for having fun.