The Key Elements of Inclusive Playgrounds
Although playgrounds are designed for children, many designers fail to keep their playgrounds accessible for all kids.
As a result, many children with disabilities are unable to play and have fun in the same space as their peers.
If you want your playground to be more inclusive, you first need to know what the elements of inclusive playgrounds are and how you can add them without compromising what you have already built.
What are some things that you can change for accessibility? How can these new ideas be implemented? Keep reading below to find out what you should know.
Overview of What Accessible Playgrounds Look Like
Accessible playgrounds should be fun places for a wide variety of children to play in. They should be welcoming to children of different ages, play styles, skill levels, and disabilities. Much like designing a disability-friendly home, there are many factors to consider.
Inclusive playground equipment will benefit various senses and skills. This includes pieces that serve auditory senses, touch, movement, balance, and visuals. All children should have the opportunity to play in ways that benefit all their senses.
Specific Elements of Inclusive Playgrounds
Serving auditory senses in an inclusive manner has two primary directions. There should be means to explore sound (such as musical instruments), but there should also be places for quiet.
Both serve distinct purposes and should be placed so they don't counteract each other. Some children enjoy being loud, and some children hate anything but peace and quiet.
Try to provide a variety of surfaces to touch. This can be very beneficial for children at play. You can use rocks, sand, smooth and rough surfaces, and objects that encourage touching or grasping.
Be careful not to let these surfaces make it difficult for children with disabilities to use the playground. For example, a sandpit shouldn't restrict wheelchair access to the rest of the playground.
Movement is very important for children's development. Try to give equipment that allows kids to run, jump, play, and move around as they wish. But be conscious of the restrictions some kids have and find ways to still allow them access to active play.
Swings, balance beams, and spinning equipment are playground additions that allow children to experiment with balance and gravity. To maintain an inclusive playground, consider adding wheelchair-accessible swings, easy-to-use spinners, and similar pieces. These provide fun while remaining accessible to a wide range of abilities.
All throughout your playground, you should include visually stimulating and fun colors and shapes. But, always keep in mind that too much color and visual busyness can overwhelm some children. As with sound, you should include a visual "quiet" place, where kids feel less overwhelmed by the colors around them.
Get Started Today and Become More Accessible
These are some elements of inclusive playgrounds to consider, but they are only part of the puzzle! Try to keep these in mind as you design your next playground to make it as accessible as possible. Or, keep an eye out for these traits when you take your kids to your own local playground.
While this is a good starting point, there are a lot of specifics to research. If you have questions or want to get more detailed information about this topic, please contact us! We'll be happy to help however we can.
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