Inclusive playgrounds, recreational areas, and outdoor fitness spaces play a crucial role in bringing Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Nevada communities together. They promote physical activity and foster lasting connections. Our partners at Burke have identified the top five essential factors to consider in the design of inclusive playgrounds:
1. Diverse Play Experiences. Recognizing that people have distinct needs and preferences, a wide range of play activities is vital. Offering various play opportunities across different categories—such as sensory experiences, spinning activities, and swinging—ensures that everyone's needs are met. This comprehensive approach to play addresses various developmental areas, maximizing the benefits children gain from their playtime.
2. Age Consideration. Designing age-appropriate play spaces is essential for children's growth and enjoyment. These spaces should offer challenges that are appropriate and enjoyable for each age group, fostering both development and fun. Moreover, it's not just about catering to children; promoting multigenerational play, like the ELEVATE® Outdoor Fitness Course does, encourages people of all ages and fitness levels to engage in outdoor activities together, creating a shared sense of movement and enjoyment.
3. Play Equity. Every child should have access to play and recreation spaces that are enriching, comfortable, and diverse, regardless of their abilities. An inclusive design ensures that all children can engage in similar play experiences, irrespective of their physical capabilities or preferences. Take swinging as an example: incorporating various swing types, such as multi-user swings, the Freedom Swing, the Konnection® Swing, and the Brava® Universal Swing, guarantees that all children can enjoy swinging in a way that suits them best.
4. Barrier-Free Design. An inclusive play space should be free from obstacles that might limit participation. This involves creating a play area that is not only physically accessible but also engaging and fun for individuals of all ages and abilities. Employing a mix of surfacing, play structures at different levels, and diverse experiences eradicates barriers, ensuring that everyone can not only enter the space but also actively participate in it.
5. Focus on the “Can.” Shifting the conversation from limitations to possibilities transforms the way we approach both product and space design. Focusing on what individuals can do rather than what they can't empowers us to create environments that cater to people of all ages and abilities. This positive approach to design fosters true inclusivity and embraces the diverse capacities of all individuals.
To learn more about planning your ideal play area and crafting inclusive playgrounds, turn to Buell Recreation for guidance. Contact us today to begin your journey toward creating a space that welcomes everyone and encourages active, joyful play.