Welcome to our seven-part series on inclusive playground design. If you are interested in jumping ahead to all seven parts, then request a copy of our free guidebook, Me2®: 7 Principles of Inclusive Playground Design. It will help you put research into practice!
If you have ever asked, “How do a I design an inclusive playground?” or “What makes a playground inclusive?” then this series is for you. The answers to these questions are part of a larger conversation on inclusive play, specifically why it’s important and how it benefits communities.
Our Me2® guidebook offers answers to questions like these and provides guidelines on how you can design a meaningful inclusive playground. It was developed by PlayCore in partnership with Utah State University Center for Persons with Disabilities and is a resource for communities who want to create truly inclusive play and recreation spaces. Me2 outlines seven principles that are a critical first step in offering high-quality spaces that are physically and socially inclusive. No two universally-designed play environments are alike, but we know children want to be and feel fair, included, smart, independent, safe, active and comfortable during play. In this post, we will explore the first of those principles: Be Fair.
To “be fair,” an inclusive play environment should promote:
- Equitable use for people with diverse abilities
- Multigenerational play
- Active participation by all
When a playground’s design incorporates Principle 1, you will find:
- Opportunities for physical, social-emotional, sensory, cognitive and communication development
- Multisensory activities that provide tactile, visual, auditory, motion and movement experiences
- Dramatic play opportunities for imaginative play
- Cooperative play or gathering areas that promote socialization
Some examples include musical instruments or talk tubes for auditory enrichment or games and panels for dramatic play.
Multigenerational components such as musical instruments also offer developmentally meaningful experiences for people of different abilities. When designing GT Symphony, GameTime’s line of musical instruments, we incorporated ease-of-use features such as a patented grip mallet and 35-degree-installation for user comfort.
Lastly, an inclusive play area that allows everyone to feel fair should include learning opportunities and programs that teach children and families how to successfully play together. The companion guide to Me2 is called 2Play Together®, and it was developed by PlayCore, in partnership with the National Lekotek Center, to be a resource for schools and organizations who want to strengthen communities through character education. This resource equips programmers with tips and activities that will promote play, understanding and fun between children with and without disabilities.
To learn more about inclusive playground design, we invite you to request a free copy of the Me2 or 2Play Together guidebooks. Please contact us to speak with a local GameTime representative in your neighborhood.