How To Design Inclusive Playgrounds
Does your community playground need some refurbishment? Are you involved in playground planning at your school or worship center here in Maryland, Virginia or DC? If so, you have a wonderful opportunity to create an environment that will be fun and welcoming for your kids– including the “differently abled” kids with physical or mental challenges for whom navigating traditional play structures is difficult.
No matter what your budget or the planning group’s vision, your top goal should be creating an inclusive environment in which every child has a chance to play to the limits of their ability. Keeping these five concepts in mind while planning and building your play space will help ensure that every child has a great time at recess:
1. Select Bright Colors. Choosing playground equipment in bright colors will make it visible to children with low vision, making it more attractive and inviting from a distance.
2. Include More Ground-Level Play Activities. Because not all kids have the upper body strength to be able to climb, ground level activities like boards, swings, and ropes allow everyone to have fun.
3. Minimize Narrow Spaces and Uneven Surfaces. Keeping areas wide and surfaces flat will help kids with mobility issues move more easily and accommodate an adult aid when needed.
4. Add Modified Swings. Swings are a perennial favorite among all kids. Thankfully, there are many creative and budget-friendly ways to modify swings to help special needs kids enjoy this playground classic.
5. Consider Sand Tables. An elevated box makes sand play accessible for kids for can’t bend or stoop.
6. Add Extra-Wide Slides and Stairs. Wider staircases and slides can make equipment more manageable for children of all ages and physical abilities.
Once you have an inclusion mindset, you’ll be able to think of even more ideas to incorporate in your play space to create a fun and welcoming environment for all kids. If you’d like some help incorporating any of these ideas– or some of your own– contact Metro Recreation at 240-409-2870. We’ll be happy to help you envision and execute your new playground or reimagine the one you have!