All 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 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.