Playgrounds

How to build a playground in 10 easy steps
Building a playground should be as much fun as playing on it.   Here are 10 easy steps.
Abernathy Greenway Linear Park - Wonderwall
Three new very different playspaces have recently opened in different parts of the country - Abernathy Greenway Linear Park, Magical Bridge Playground, and Casey's Clubhouse. The different approaches that the community took to create these spaces demonstrate the vast possibilities for inclusive design.
Magical Bridge Playground, Palo Alto
The Magical Bridge playground, one of few in the nation geared to the needs of adults and children with disabilities, opened in Palo Alto to a throng of hundreds of people. The playground at Mitchell Park goes well beyond Americans with Disabilities Act requirements to provide wheelchair access on merry-go-rounds and slides, in a two-story...
Inclusive Playground - Playworld Systems
How can a playground make a difference for a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)? The playground is the perfect place to practice skills: social skills, balancing, how the body relates to the space around it, and how it reacts to height and speed. Many children with autism are in therapy programs to learn to deal with these situations.
In these days of helicopter parenting and obese first-graders, any opportunity that kids get to run around outdoors certainly has to be applauded. And yet, psychologists and designers are starting to question the value of what they call "the playground in a box," the factory-made, cookie-cutter climbing frames that dominate schoolyards and parks...
Bankshot Sports
A group of West Hartford residents is working to renovate Jonathan's Dream, a public playground for children of all abilities. Recent funding makes it possible for them to bring a set of unusual basketball hoops to the playground, called Bankshot, aimed at all ages and abilities.
Playground | Playground Design
A Superintendent of Parks for a municipal government, shares his experience with playground design. Designing a playground? This is a must read.
Play Across Rural, Suburban, and Urban Environments
Each semester I teach a seminar titled Fine Arts and Play for the Developing Child. The first assignment is to compose a 2000-word essay depicting childhood memories of play. The essays suggest that access and opportunities for play vary greatly across rural, suburban, and urban settings.
FreeDigitalPhotos - “Wheelchair” by ponsulak
John McGovern gives a clear understanding of the accessibility requirements for playgrounds as directed by the Americans With Disabilities Act. How do the rules apply to local government playgrounds, privately owned playgrounds, church playgrounds, and HOA playgrounds?
Photo by Vlado - Courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos
2014 has been another great year for inclusive play. For those sceptics that say that inclusive play is a fad, the numbers do not agree with you. I estimate that just over 100 new inclusive playgrounds opened in United States and Canada this year.
Dog Parks - photo courtesy of Creative Recreational Designs, Inc
If you ask most dog owners, they will say “My dog is a better athlete than I am,” and they usually follow it up with the statement “And I really need to get in shape.”
Play Spaces for Tweens and Teens
Many view playgrounds as spaces designed exclusively for toddlers and school-aged children and believe that by the time they become tweens (10-12 years), they have lost interest in playing outside. Research supports this and suggests that tweens and teens spend greater amounts of time engaged in indoor activities.
Slideboarding is Equal Parts Skill and Thrill - Aquatics International
WhiteWater West has figured out how to make water slides appeal to the video game generation. The waterpark attractions maker in Richmond, British Columbia, Canada recently unveiled a concept that combines arcade-style button mashing with splashing called Slideboarding.
The Healthy Playground Makeover Sweepstakes
The Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation is committed to getting as many students as possible on fun, safe playgrounds. Every year, we partner with Discovery Education to sponsor the Healthy Playground Makeover Sweepstakes, a contest where schools nationwide can compete for a brand new playground from Playworld Systems, Inc.
Playground surfacing road map
I’m always surprised, when talking to recreation managers and buyers about surfacing, to hear them say, “it’s expensive, and doesn't really add any play or fun to the site, but it’s something we have to do.” There’s good news; surfacing can actually be very playful, and new technology and formulations are adding to that ability.
Personal Best - tech on the playground
Throughout my childhood we played pretty much everywhere including the streets. Much of our play was kid-generated games and “projects.” During my daughter’s childhood, play happened in vacant lots, creek beds, and backyards. Now my grandchildren play on “safe” playgrounds, and the older kids opt for skateboarding and dirt bikes. So it doesn’t...
Sensory gardens are outdoor spaces designed to stimulate the senses and increase awareness of the body. Why they are so important for physically and cognitively disabled kids (and their able bodied peers).
The Complicated Issue of Surfacing - Mara Kaplan
You cannot even begin to design an inclusive playground if you have not dealt with that most basic concept of ensuring that everyone can access your space. The number one barrier to a playground is surfacing. When I was traveling this summer, I saw many instances of non-maintained surfacing that impacted not only the accessibility of the...
The Periodic Table of 21st Century Play - by Laura Richardson
As we discussed in our last column, Laura Richardson’s insightful The Periodic Table of 21st Century Play poster can a powerful tool in the hands of designers and communities when they seek to create truly human and engaging places that support play. As an illustration of how this can work, I will use Laura’s 11 categories, which she refers to as...
The Pepper Family Accessible tree-house
“Imagine if you could create a world for your children, one that they would never forget...a magical tree house land filled with action, excitement and squeals of delight, a tree house, fueled by make-believe and the imagination of the young or a tree house inviting journeys to far-off lands, yet still safe to explore...Imagine that your children...

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