Playgrounds and outdoor play do so much more than expend a child’s excess energy. Playing on a playground teaches children self-regulation, how to handle stressful situations, and increase self-confidence and self-esteem. Including adventure-filled playground designs that test and challenge children of all ages and abilities increases these benefits.
We are aware of the importance of designing challenge into our playground products as well as overall playground environments. Our team of playground designers, conceptors, sculptors and artists work with clients to create playgrounds that offer exciting and challenging play activities to not only entice children to participate and be active but help them to fully develop a wide array of skills.
Creating adventure-filled play experiences
The best way to create adventure-filled play experiences for kids of all ages and abilities is to look for playground designs that encourage the progression of the play experience. Playground towers like the Alpha® Tower and Alpha Link® Towers, Super Netplex®, PlayOdyssey® Tower or custom options like the Hedra® Towers all offer a variety of ground-level play components, plus deliver multiple climbing opportunities that take kids as high as they’d like as well as slide options along the way. Each of these playground towers help kids gain confidence through repeated and slow exposure to new challenges.
Additionally, the Super Netplex provides an inclusive play experience with an easy way to transfer and an accessible route to the top of the highest tower via its center spiral belting. Kids of all abilities can enjoy the view, hang out with friends and take whooshy rides down one of the playground slides.
The research shows that if children are not provided with challenging play opportunities they may be more prone to problems such as mental health concerns, a lack of independence, and a decrease in learning, perception and judgment skills. Learn more about how to create adventure-filled playground designs using our various playground towers at playlsi.com. And learn more about balancing safety and challenge in playground design by requesting our whitepaper.
If you’re looking for ready-to-install splash pad designs, look no further than AquaSmart Splash Pad Packages. HydroLogix® powers these self-contained splash pads, eliminating the need for costly electrical installation and enabling you to install one just about anywhere.
AquaSmart splash pad packages are the right size for smaller pocket parks, childcare facilities and compact urban areas. Add one adjacent to a playground or even alongside a larger splash pad. Kids will love being in control of the action; just a push of the button and the entire splash pad comes to life. The low-flow, low-water option offered by HydroLogix greatly reduces water consumption while still providing plenty of opportunities for splashtastic play.
We’re excited to announce that the Chisholm Kiwanis Club of Chisholm, Minn., is the winner of the Legacy of Play H2O Contest and will receive an AquaSmart™ Package valued at US$50,000.
Chisholm is a mining town on the Mesabi Range in Northern Minnesota with a population of less than 5,000. While the town is built around the 158-acre Longyear Lake, it is not fit for swimming and several nearby open pit mines are not monitored or safe for swimming. That’s why the Chisholm Kiwanis Club was focused on bringing an option for safe water play to the community.
The club will install the splash pad equipment in Memorial Park, a space that already offers football and softball fields, sand volleyball, bocce ball and pickleball courts, as well as the summer recreation program. The addition of the splash pad will encourage even more community members as well as surrounding communities to visit and enjoy the beautiful town of Chisholm.
“Our club celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2020, and this project has been something we’ve been talking about ever since,” explained Shannon Kishel-Roche, Chisholm Kiwanis Club’s president. “A splash pad was a great solution to our lack of community swimming options, and it’s a great opportunity to commemorate our club’s centennial.”
While this is the first year that Aquatix®, Landscape Structures and Kiwanis International have sponsored the Legacy of Play H2O contest, we have partnered with Kiwanis to sponsor the Legacy of Play Contest focused on playgrounds for eight years.
In the U.S., we don’t always grasp that most of us will experience aging and varying abilities. The design of our public spaces often reflects that lack of understanding. Not everyone can easily navigate and use these spaces, including the veterans who serve our country and return home with a disability or change in ability.
However, there are bold minds who do consider the full range of ability in our society—and how we can build environments where everyone thrives. Army veteran Ingrid Kanics is one of these people.
Ingrid uses the World Health Organization’s definition of disability: “the interaction between individuals with a health condition and personal and environmental factors (e.g. negative attitudes, inaccessible transportation and public buildings, and limited social supports).”
In other words, disability is not an individual’s problem—it’s about how they are supported as they engage with the world. Ingrid helps people of all ages and abilities transcend barriers and build healthier lives by creating inclusive indoor and outdoor spaces where everyone can play.
The founder and owner of Kanics Inclusive Design Services, LLC, Ingrid is a powerhouse who combines a wide range of personal experiences and interests: a Master of Occupational Therapy and Master of Interior Architecture; a deep understanding of sensory play; a never-waning sense of wonder and curiosity.
At 29, however, Ingrid was on a different path, joining the Army with plans to train as a physical therapist and help soldiers rehabilitate. Everything changed when she sustained a profound injury to her spinal cord during basic training.
After emergency surgery and 18 months in rehab, Ingrid learned to walk again, but when she shifted her professional focus to occupational therapy, she truly found her stride. She decided to go “bimobile,” using a wheelchair part-time to manage her energy more efficiently. She became more active and started playing sports again.
During this time, Ingrid was working in maintenance at a sensory integration clinic. As she cleaned and organized the clinic, she got to know the children and families in treatment and developed a deep empathy for them. Her conversations and observations helped build a foundation for her future.
Ingrid earned her first master’s and worked with Pittsburgh’s Center for Creative Play before founding her consulting business in 2010. One of her first consultant roles came with Landscape Structures.
On projects with Landscape Structures, Ingrid collaborates throughout the product development process with everyone from engineers to the sales team. She prioritizes several factors. First, are they meeting an unfilled need? Before the team developed the We-Go Swing™, for example, there were extremely limited swing options that allow children and adults of all abilities to join and actively contribute to the play experience.
She also considers inclusivity and how products support different populations. In her occupational therapy role, Ingrid has worked with kids with a variety of health conditions and sensory needs. She thinks about how each kid would benefit from a new product, along with other kids of varying abilities, with a consistent goal of creating inclusive play spaces where kids of all abilities can interact face-to-face.
At Landscape Structures, Ingrid has been involved from the ground up with what she calls the “We” Collection, which includes the We-Go-Swing as well as an inclusive see-saw (the We-Saw™) that is easier to access and offers space in the middle for kids who want less movement. It also includes the We-Go-Round™, a modern take on a merry-go-round, that has room for kids and adults using mobility devices and allows them to help support motion.
All three elements are about cooperation, socialization and working together to have fun. And, all allow parents, grandparents and other adults with disabilities to play with their children. That’s important to Ingrid, who’s always thinking about Wounded Warriors who come home and want to remain vital members of their communities. Her life and experiences give her a firsthand understanding of the desire to stay involved and the vitality we all have to offer—and her work helps people live more fully, one play experience at a time.
Tap into Ingrid’s experiences and expertise! She’s available to present sessions about inclusion, inclusive play space design, multigenerational design and evidence-based playground design to your community or organization. Browse our education offerings, and schedule one today.
We’re excited to announce that the Kiwanis Club of Stuart, Florida, is the winner in the 8th Annual Legacy of Play contest. The club, which will receive $25,000 in playground equipment, plans to install the commercial playground equipment in Kiwanis Park in downtown Stuart, a place that has become a sanctuary for Martin County families. The Kiwanis Club Stuart Playground Project will provide an area for older children, completing the goal of giving children of all ages and abilities a safe and fun place to play.
The club has been working on this destination play space for five years. According to Kali Flood, who submitted her club’s application to the contest, they first built a barrier-free playground to ensure accessibility for the community. And in December, they’re expanding with a Tot Lot and Sensory Sensitive play area for children on the autism spectrum, along with reaching children with visual and auditory impairments.
Plans call for the Kiwanis Club Stuart Playground Project to be installed and ready for children by October 2022. The club, which has 45 members, will work together with the City of Stuart as well as other community groups to bring this destination playground to fruition. Read more about the winning club.
Learn more about our partnership with Kiwanis International at playlsi.com.
We all know the physical and emotional benefits to getting outdoors. Adding commercial shade structures benefits your outdoor spaces by increasing visitors to your community parks, playgrounds, sports and recreation complexes, and more. With the added protection of shade, play sessions can be extended making the benefits of play and outdoor activity even greater. We can help you add commercial shade sails to your outdoor areas with SkyWays® shade structures, which offers flexible and stylish options to make everywhere that people gather outside more comfortable.
To appreciate the commercial shade structures benefits, it’s important to understand the risks and long-term effects of UV radiation and sun exposure. Evidence from the Skin Cancer Foundation shows that sun exposure and sunburns during childhood multiply the risk of developing skin cancer. And according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), unprotected skin can be damaged by the sun’s UV rays in as little as 15 minutes—even when days are cool and cloudy. SkyWays commercial shade sails provide critical protection, blocking up to 97 percent of the sun’s UV rays while making temperatures underneath up to 30-degrees cooler.
When adequate shade is added to playgrounds and surrounding areas, kids are protected from UV exposure, and parents and caregivers are more likely to extend play sessions. Families may be more likely to extend their picnic or family outing if they’re keeping cool and protected under a shade. Additionally, schools are utilizing shade sails and structures to extend their classroom space to the great outdoors. By adding SkyWays shade sails to existing courtyards or a new outdoor classroom space, schools can embrace the benefits of nature for outdoor learning and not worry about sun exposure or inclement weather.
Even more, commercial shade sails can help protect your investment. Integrating SkyWays shade into your playground design or adding it after your outdoor space has been completed will shield it from the intense rays of the sun and protect it from harsh winter weather. Shade structures help to prevent premature fading and deterioration by keeping the color of equipment vibrant and preventing cracking that happens over time from sun exposure.
We are excited to launch the 2021 Legacy of Play Contest in partnership with Kiwanis International. This annual contest awards one Kiwanis club US$25,000 in playground equipment to be used toward a Landscape Structures playground project completed by October 2022.
The Legacy of Play Contest, now in its eighth year, helps Kiwanis clubs achieve their goal of bringing play to all children. See the timeline below, and review questions, read the official contest rules and submit your entry at kiwanis.org:
Entry Period. Connect with your local Kiwanis club and have them submit an entry now until Thursday, Sept. 10.
Voting Period. All eligible entries will be open to public vote beginning Sept. 15. Encourage your community to vote!
Selection Period. The top 10 finalists from the public vote will be reviewed by a jury of past winners, members and more.
Winner Announcement. We, along with Kiwanis International, will announce the winner of this year’s contest on or around Oct. 13.
Everyone’s a winner with Landscape Structures! We’re happy to offer all 2021 Legacy of Play Contest entrants a certificate to receive a complimentary OminSpin® Spinner with a playground purchase. Stay tuned for more details post-entry period.
Meet the newest members of the Quantis™ family of net climbers! Quantis™ A.2 + Quantis A.3 deliver an open format playscape for kids ages 5 to 12, which encourages them to navigate to the Oodle® seat at the structure’s core, balance across the SwiggleKnots™ Bridge or tackle the overhead netting and molecular-style belting. Best of all, the preconfigured, ADA-compliant Quantis playground net climbers are loaded with dynamic play in a compact design.
In addition to the new Quantis playground designs mentioned above, we have pulled together a sampling of design ideas and custom concepts. You’ll find the original Quantis playground design, Quantis 8.1, which delivers net climbers, belting, swings, gliders and so much more for an infinite play experience. A variety of net structure concepts, tower structure concepts, topography concepts and nature-inspired concepts are sure to help inspire your upcoming playground projects. Browse all the custom concepts here.
We’re excited to make the benefits of a fitness facility accessible to everyone with the introduction of HealthBeat Circuit™ Activated by FitLot®. The circular design and open layout make HealthBeat Circuit Outdoor Fitness a perfect space for community circuit training classes, and the combination of equipment—for strength, cardio, balance and flexibility—creates a fully functional fitness space that can be used for a wide variety of training methods. Best of all, community-based outdoor fitness spaces create opportunities for people of all ages and abilities to achieve a more active lifestyle.
HealthBeat Circuit includes 11 fitness stations for a full-body workout. Each piece of equipment is integrated directly into the SkyWays® shade structure to provide protection from the sun while exercising. Plus, open areas within the circuit design provide comfortable space for ground work and stretching. There are 32 locations throughout HealthBeat Circuit to attach resistance bands to add even more exercise options.
Each exercise station has signage with a scannable QR code linking the user to instructional videos on FitLot.org. The Welcome Sign also features a library of movements and additional fitness tips. While this fitness system can be used effectively without additional programming, talk with your consultant about how FitLot can further enhance and help activate HealthBeat Circuit in your community. FitLot offers a Neighborhood Coaches Training Program that teaches local fitness professionals how to lead community classes for all ages and abilities
Help build a stronger and healthier future for you community by adding HealthBeat Circuit Outdoor Fitness to your public space. Contact us to get started on your fitness park design today.
Many people remember the days of freestanding slides, swings and monkey bars. But in 1967, that idea of playground design advanced to interconnected play components. Cofounder Steve King created the continuous play concept, the revolutionary idea of combining playground activities. As his final thesis project at Iowa State University, Steve developed a system that linked play activities together to provide a continuous challenge for children. His premise was that if kids are together on one structure, they’ll learn things that they will use in real life like social and conflict-resolution skills.
While his thesis only scored him a C+ grade, Steve took his continuous play concept to his first job as a landscape architect specializing in park planning. In 1969, he put his approach in action in a playground design project for the City of Minneapolis. His first playground was a success, which lead to more interest. And in April 1971, Steve and Barb obtained a $1,000 loan and incorporated Landscape Structures to design and build playground innovation. See our company timeline here.
Landscape Structures’ commitment to playground innovation
Landscape Structures is committed to innovation. Hedra®, one of our more recent inventions, allows kids to safely navigate via their own intuition and curiosity, and invent routes, games and imaginary environments. Our long-standing commitment to inclusive play is breaking barriers with the new We-Go-Swing™, the first no-transfer inclusive swing that can be integrated directly into the playground setting. Even more, the use of innovative materials and the development of colors that are truly inspired by nature is changing the world of playgrounds.
Reflecting on the power of play
As Landscape Structures moves into its 50th year of business, we’re taking time to reflect on the power of play. We know that play and recreation has far more value than just being fun; it is essential for the health and wellbeing of communities. And that’s why our team—nearly 500 employees and the network of more than 200 playground consultants worldwide—is proud to provide unique play opportunities for all ages, abilities and backgrounds. Because no matter what’s happening in the world, we will always come back to play.