Elements of an Inclusive Playground
We talk a lot about inclusive playgrounds, but what does that really mean? Let’s break down what it takes to create spaces like this that are truly for everyone.
What Exactly Does It Mean?
At its heart, inclusion means that all children are encouraged to participate. This means designs that incorporate safe, accessible equipment and an environment that invites teamwork and entertainment for all. In addition, they need to be developmentally appropriate and sensory-rich for all children, regardless of disability.
Elements of Inclusive Playgrounds
An inclusive space removes barriers that leave any child feeling unwelcome or unable to participate in healthy activities. What does this look like?
These areas provide the opportunity for kids to explore, interact, and learn. They incorporate all the senses and encourage activities that all children enjoy, such as swinging, climbing, spinning, sliding, and running.
No Child Left Out
Inclusion means that all children can participate regardless of ability. This means finding accessible equipment for kids, including wheelchair-friendly or sensory-attractive equipment. The spaces must incorporate a design that allows freedom of movement for all.
For a child who is feeling overwhelmed by the chaos and noise of their peers, safe and quiet spaces should be available. They can find relief in these areas, which would allow them to “take a break” before rejoining the others.
The unique aspect of these fun havens is specialized equipment that needs to be maintained and inspected routinely. Footing should be smooth and soft enough to cushion falls, and the equipment must be checked for pinch points, loose pieces, sharp edges, and other conditions that may cause injury.
Visibility needs to be possible at all times. Children will want to see their parents for encouragement during their adventures, and parents will want to keep an eye on their kids. Additionally, having a high-visibility design means parents can monitor nearby visitors to ensure they belong there. Ideally, there should be a wall or fence, and high visibility means the gates can be watched to make sure safety is maintained.
It’s not enough to have specialized equipment in one corner. To be truly effective, it should be scattered throughout the vicinity. You’d be surprised at how many kids want to use the specialized equipment! This encourages healthy social interaction.
Metro Recreation Solutions
Metro Recreation works in partnership with Miracle Products, a leader in inclusive playground equipment. We’re ready to help you design an area that invites healthy teamwork and social interactions in the most fun way possible! Contact us now, and let us show you how great your playground can be.