Accessible Playground Features
Swings can be considered an accessible playground feature with an emphasis on physical experience. Swings must be placed on a route available to both people with movement impairments and those without them, giving every child an opportunity to play. A special construction for at least 50% of swings can also make them wheelchair accessible and secure. Playing on swings includes the physical movement component of play, and can be easily included into a playground setting.
Jungle gyms can be an effective way to promote problem solving in children. Their construction encourages and adaptive play, where kids are able to move around in a way that most suits them. In addition, they can interact with a variety of surfaces, appliances and structures contained within a jungle gym, which promotes their decision-making skills.
Playhouses can be used as a module of communication for children. Spaces such as this primarily act as a mediator between children, and a space for them to engage in interactive play. These pieces of equipment can be enhanced with appropriate and accessible transportation points, as to encourage equal participation.
Sandboxes present a good example of a space for social-emotional development. They exist as a space where many children can play alongside each other, having to navigate a limited space and possibly interact on a deeper level. Children often have to share and cooperate in order to maximize their play experience, improving their ability to work within social constraints. This can include sharing toys, engaging in role play with others, or talking.
3 Features that Should be Incorporated
First, ramps for wheelchairs must become a usual part of the playground setting. This includes any points of access to elevated play spaces, such as playhouses and complex structures. Specialized stairs and smooth transitory points between various parts of the playground are a necessary part of a modern setting for children. Aside from ramps, this can include the necessary space for movement in the play space, and placement decisions.
As outlined in the guideline video, it is possible to design a playground with the needs of both disabled and able-bodied children in mind (ILRBham, 2012). Another feature that should be incorporated is the inclusion of accessible pieces of equipment, such as swing sets with specialized seating and large stairs. An addition that is effective towards promoting childhood learning is the inclusion of problem-solving spaces, such as mazes in the playground. Appliances that promote decision-making are often overlooked in traditional play spaces. All of the above features I would want to be included in playgrounds in my area.
Why They Are Recommended
I think that the features discussed in the previous section can be generally seen as both important and necessary for the modern playgrounds to have. A use of more inclusive spaces is beneficial to the promotion of equality in children’s areas, and the process of enhancing every child’s active learning. Their presence can significantly assist more children in having enjoyable playground experiences. Swing sets are likely one of the most often included pieces of equipment in any children’s space, and they fulfill their role well. I would want the playgrounds in my neighborhood to include more ramps, because presently, there is an evident lack of accessibility in the area. The playground is largely adapted for non-disabled kids, and using many of the features it presents becomes a problem for those with more physical needs.
In addition, I want to make sure that more able-bodied children can become accustomed to the presence of disabled people and their accommodation. With the promotion of better accessibility, both work and recreational spaces are increasingly adhering to better standards of diversity. Exposing children to the need for special accommodations early allows them to understand the importance of the practice in society.
How They Promote Participation, Inclusion, and Learning
First, all of the additions work as a way to promote better participation from more children. The range of possible activities increases, allowing kids with varied interests to play and enjoy their time at the playground. Those that are keen on social interaction and like to build can play in the sandbox. Active children that enjoy making quick decisions can use the jungle gym, and the ones looking for a more calm way to spend time can use the swings. The range of accessible devices promotes different modes of play. In addition, the appliances are made more inclusive through the use of special ramps, staircases and other construction methods.
Constructing play spaces in a way that enhances the experiences of disabled children and makes them a natural part of the play space helps better integrate the two groups of kids with each other. If disabled kids feel no barriers while playing with their able-bodied counterparts, they will be likely to play together. In terms of learning, the inclusion of different modes of play helps form a wider variety of skills. Problem solving, creative engagement and physical exercise can all be learned through engagement with these pieces of equipment.
ILRBham. (2012). Ada Accessible Playground Guidelines. [Video]. YouTube. Web.