This is the second blog article in a seven-part series on inclusive playground design. If you missed part one, you can read it here.
At GameTime, we often get asked, “How do you design an inclusive playground?” To answer that question, we rely on the research found in Me2®: 7 Principles of Inclusive Playground Design. At the core of our research-based approach to inclusive playground design is the idea of including people of all abilities in the play experience. Inclusion is more than designing products or spaces for people with a disability. True inclusion considers the whole child and every child and focuses on ways everyone play together. For that reason, the second principle in Me2® is “Be Included.”
A key element to including everyone in a playground design is offering various types and forms of play. Accessible telescopes, steering wheels, storefront panels and play houses provide dramatic play opportunities. These fun, imaginative play options encourage children to play with each other or simply among each other. Auditory panels, talk tubes and interactive panels add an extra sensory experience to a playground and encourage communication between children and adults.
Being included also requires that a playground is accessible. Ramps, links and transfer systems for mobility devices ensure everyone has a chance to enjoy as many areas of a playground as possible and to the greatest extent possible. That’s why GameTime invented the slide transfer. Slide transfers help users transfer from a mobility device into the top of the slide opening, creating an equal play experience for everyone.
Because children have different levels of skill, we believe an inclusive playground is one that offers play components for beginner, intermediate and advanced skill levels. Climbers at varying heights and handholds on equipment help people of all abilities engage in play. GameTime’s Sensory Wave Climber is designed at transfer height with grips and handholds to accommodate nearly anyone who wants to give it a try.
Finally, to “be included” a playground should offer activities that incorporate fine and gross motor skills. Large buttons, touch-sensitive panels and auditory panels with adaptive switch capability are all play components that help children develop critical skills, regardless of their age or ability.
To learn more about the seven principles of inclusive playground design, request your free copy of our Me2 guidebook. You can also contact your local GameTime representative to explore inclusive play options for your community!