We Speak Playground

Are Inclusive & Sensory Playgrounds the Same Thing?

Posted by May Recreation Content Team on Sep 25, 2018 5:14:11 PM

Group of people representing the human sensesAll children need and deserve safe and fun playgrounds. There are abundant options for playground designs that don't just meet ADA requirements, but that also create a very special environment for inclusive play and interaction between children of all abilities. Playgrounds should offer opportunities for a thrilling experience to all children. May Recreation designs inclusive playgrounds and components that provide access and exciting interaction for all children.

What are Inclusive and/or Sensory Playgrounds?

An inclusive playground is one that offers handicap accessibility, integrates fun and engaging playground equipment that all children can enjoy, and provides an interactive environment that facilitates a physical, social and sensory experience that everyone can share together. 

A sensory playground is one that contains playground equipment/elements that stimulate one of the seven senses - touch, movement, smell, taste, sight, hearing and balance. 

Inclusive playgrounds and sensory playgrounds are essentially the same thing. The goal with both of these playgrounds is to ensure a playground design that gives all children the opportunity to play together side by side.

Why are Inclusive and/or Sensory Playgrounds Important?

Besides being beautiful and so much fun for children and parents to enjoy, the neighborhood playground contributes many important benefits to a community’s well-being. Inclusive and sensory  playgrounds enhance those benefits by providing:

  • Multisensory experiences important for motor skills, strength, sensory and cognitive development
  • Social skills development through cooperative and collaborative group play. Inclusive playground designs go further to provide every visitor with the opportunity for a successful experience, regardless of capabilities
  • Healthy physical activity
  • Relaxation space
  • High-quality bonding opportunities for parents and children
  • Youth opportunities for wholesome pastimes
  • Important mental and physical health effects of spending time in green spaces
  • Increased residential property values for park-adjacent homeowners
  • Ecological benefits and wildlife habitat

Who can benefit from an Inclusive and/or Sensory Playground?

A handicap-accessible playground allows children with mobility issues to play like all of the other children. Play is essential for learning self-confidence, social skills and other basic aspects of human development.

A sensory playground allows children with Autism or Sensory Integration Disorders to benefit from a playground by stimulating their senses, allowing them to interact on a deeper, more meaningful level than they would on a regular playground.

For all children, connecting with those of different abilities encourages empathy and develops stronger social and emotional skills that prepare them for working and living as adults in a diverse world.

Parents and grandparents far outnumber children with disabilities. Cross-generational playtime is essential to building strong family bonds. Accessible playgrounds allow adults with mobility issues to go to the park with their child.

Features of Inclusive and/or Sensory Playgrounds

An inclusive playground design goes beyond basic ADA requirements for playground equipment and wheelchair access. An inclusive playground provides:

  • Wide paths between playground components, allowing all children to walk or roll between equipment
  • Surfaces that are easy to use on crutches, in a wheelchair or with other mobility devices
  • Relaxing areas for children who may need quiet space if they become overwhelmed
  • Special-needs play equipment that is included with the other outdoor playground equipment, not separated, allowing children to play together
  • Play equipment that is versatile and can be used in a variety of ways by all children

May Recreation

May Recreation is an official dealer of outdoor playground equipment. Our playground design representatives are well-skilled in inclusive playground design. We can help you create a fully customized outdoor playground. For more information about inclusive playgrounds, contact May Recreation to schedule an appointment to meet with a playground design expert.