Mar 09

How to Design a Park with Inclusive Playground Equipment

Some of our cherished memories from our childhood are the days where we would set out and enjoy time on a playground.  All kids deserve to have these types of memories, which is why it is important to design a playground with equipment that is accessible by kids with all abilities and backgrounds.

Establishing Playground Rules

We were all taught at a young age how ‘sharing is caring’ and how we should always ‘treat others the way we want to be treated’.  The same standards should be set in your playground so that everyone feels welcomed and free to join in on the fun!
●   Children who share learn important life skills like how to compromise and how to be fair.
●   Sharing allows children to learn how to take turns and negotiate.

Access Flexibility

Designing a park that suits children with disabilities helps to assure that everyone can participate in the action.  Adding equipment that reaches all five developmental needs: physical, cognitive, communication, social-emotion, and sensory, helps to create an environment where everyone can be included!
●      The revised 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act changed the accessibility standards for playgrounds, mandating that compliant playgrounds need to be accessible via ramps and barrier-free travel routes.
●      9 in 10 Americans say communities should offer all-inclusive play options at all playgrounds.

Cooperation & Socialization

Playgrounds with equipment that encourages bringing kids together allow kids to expand their cooperation and socialization skills.  By having equipment that welcomes children with all types of abilities, they are able to break out of their comfort zones and learn to play with peers that they might not have had the chance to play with in other settings.

●      61% of children in cooperative-learning classes achieved significantly higher test scores than those in traditional classes
●      Children now spend more than seven and a half hours a day in front of a screen; a playground can help to get kids outside and socializing with others

Safety

Building a park that everyone can enjoy also requires taking proper safety precautions to limit the amount of injuries that can occur on a playground.  Elements such as proper safety surfacing and railings can go a long way to prevent children from seriously injuring themselves.
●      79% of all playground injuries involve falls, so having the right safety surface that absorbs impact can help to ensure kids’ safety. Every type of surfacing has its pros and cons; however, all meet or exceed ASTM standards for safety.
●      67% of playgrounds are ex
posed to full sun during its peak hours.  It is important to take the sun into account as an injury factor as it can cause equipment to get hot and lead to burns

Play Time for All

Mental and physical abilities differ for everybody, yet it is essential that all children are granted the opportunity to build enchanting memories at places that are designed around fun.  Playgrounds are the perfect place for all kids to learn and develop core values that they will carry with them for the rest of their lives.