Playgrounds and public parks are areas designed to encourage the community to spend time outside and socialize with one another. In particular, these playgrounds are valuable to kids because they offer such a free form of play that allows them to run and climb and interact with other kids. There are few places that provide the unique benefits of a playground, so you want to ensure everyone can take advantage of it. Here are a few tips for making your playground more accessible and inclusive.
Opting for ramps instead of stairs on your playground will help children in wheelchairs or others who have similar physical handicaps play and maneuver on playground sets alongside their friends and peers. These ramps should also include handrails just as an extra safety measure for all kids, no matter their condition.
While allowing kids to reach higher viewpoints is a start, it doesn’t change the fact that slides, see-saws, and fireman poles are inaccessible to these kids with handicaps. A playground should include plenty of ground-level activities for them to play with to compensate. This means providing structures that can be entered and exited at the ground level or equipment such as tetherballs or merry-go-rounds that stay on the ground.
Swings are a playground staple, and every kid should have the chance to experience gliding through the air. For kids with conditions such as autism, swings are great for processing sensory information through the smooth and repetitive motion of swinging back and forth. For kids whose conditions make it difficult to coordinate their balance on the swing, there are swing options that provide support and security so they can swing worry-free.
Surfacing is important for reducing the severity of injuries whenever a kid falls on the playground. The problem is that many playgrounds use loose-fill surfacing such as woodchips or sand that makes it difficult for kids in wheelchairs, crutches, or canes to move on. So, the best tip for making your playground more accessible and inclusive is by using a pour-in-place rubber surfacing kit for an impact-absorbent surface. Such a surface is solid and easy for kids with physical disabilities to move and play on.