Celebrating the magic of play this holiday season

Magic of Play - little boy

As the festive lights twinkle and the air fills with the melody of carols, it’s a wonderful time to pause and reflect on the year that has passed. At Landscape Structures, the holiday season holds a special place in our hearts. It’s a time when the transformative magic of play shines brightest, mirroring the spirit of this season.

The Magic of Play

We’re privileged to witness how play acts as a canvas for imagination, connection, and joy. In parks, playgrounds and communal spaces, we’ve seen laughter ring out, friendships form and creativity take flight. These moments are a testament to the enchanting power of play.

A Canvas for Creativity

Our commitment to creating playful spaces is more than just a mission. It’s a passion fueled by the wonder we see every day. Play spaces become arenas where imagination and creativity are not just encouraged but celebrated. They are where the mundane gives way to wonder. And where every swing, slide and sandbox becomes a part of a larger story of joy and community.

Gratitude and Wishes

As we approach the end of the year, we want to extend our heartfelt thanks to you. Your support and belief in the power of play have been vital in our journey. Whether you’re a parent, a caregiver, a community leader, or simply someone who believes in the importance of play, your role has been invaluable in shaping a world where play and creativity flourish.

This holiday season, we wish you moments brimming with laughter, joy and enchanting experiences. May your days be filled with the cheer of celebration and the delightful spark of play.

We are excited to continue this beautiful journey with you into 2024, and look forward to creating spaces and experiences where the wonder of play can thrive.

Celebrating Excellence: General Recreation, Inc. is our 2023 Rep Organization of the Year

In a world where outdoor play and community spaces take on ever-increasing significance, recognizing those who make these spaces possible is not just necessary, it’s inspiring. That’s why we’re thrilled to spotlight a remarkable achievement in the world of playground and recreational space development. We have named General Recreation, Inc. of Newtown Square, Pa., as the 2023 Rep Organization of the Year.

2023 Rep Organization of the Year

A Testament to Commitment and Impact

This distinction is more than just an award; it’s a testament to General Recreation’s unwavering commitment to the core values and mission of Landscape Structures. Their dedication has significantly impacted communities across Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware, bringing joy and enrichment to countless lives.

Pat Faust, president of Landscape Structures, explained, “General Recreation has been awarded the 2023 Rep Organization of the Year for their unparalleled commitment to our core values and their extraordinary impact on communities.”

Building Relationships and Championing Innovation

What sets General Recreation apart is not just their adherence to values but also their approach to business. Rooted deeply in fostering long-lasting relationships, they have been a beacon of innovation in the industry. Their team, known for its passion for enhancing children’s lives and expert knowledge, has consistently led as visionaries and leaders in the field.

The relationships established within their team and with their customers are the cornerstone of their success. Known for their loyalty and active participation in state parks and recreation organizations, local ASLA chapters, and school organizations, they extend their warmth and commitment to every client and community they serve.

A Culture of Innovation

Innovation drives General Recreation. The team, an incredibly tight-knit and supportive group, skillfully brings new products, designs, and other innovations to their customers. They ensure that the latest and greatest offerings are available, keeping communities engaged with fresh and exciting play options.

“We are honored to be recognized as the 2023 Rep Organization of the Year,” said Andy Cush, president of General Recreation, Inc. “This award highlights our team’s hard work, dedication and passion. We are most grateful to our customers, whose trust and collaboration have been vital to our success.”

A Long-Standing Partnership

General Recreation’s partnership with Landscape Structures spans nearly four decades, representing a legacy of commitment and excellence. In addition to Landscape Structures playground equipment, they offer SkyWays® shade structures and Aquatix® splash play products.

As one of more than 50 independent sales organizations representing Landscape Structures worldwide, General Recreation’s achievement is particularly noteworthy. They’ve set a high bar for excellence, not just in meeting but exceeding the standards cherished by Landscape Structures.

Their recognition as the 2023 Rep Organization of the Year underscores the importance of dedication, innovation, and community engagement in creating spaces that enrich children’s lives and foster community bonds.

Celebrating General Recreation’s accomplishment reminds us of the power of play and the impact it has on our communities. Here’s to many more years of innovation, excellence, and joyous play for children and communities. Congratulations, General Recreation, and thank you for your exceptional contribution to creating better play spaces and stronger communities.

Educational playground designs: Enhancing play and learning by incorporating educational elements in playground equipment

Playgrounds offer learning and growth opportunities, not just fun and physical activity. Incorporate educational elements into your playground designs to foster cognitive, social and physical development. Explore some effective ways to infuse educational playground designs into your school, childcare or community playgrounds below.

Lower Huron Metropark playground overhead image

Themed Playground Structures

Consider incorporating educational playground design themes into the design of your playground environment. Whether it’s a nature-inspired structure or a space-themed play area, themed elements can spark children’s imagination and encourage imaginative play. Themed playground components like climbing walls resembling mountains and entire structures offer endless learning possibilities.

Alphabet and Number Panels

Integrate alphabet and number panels into your playground. These play panels, installed on walls or integrated into climbing structures, help children learn letters and numbers as they play. Encourage interactive learning by incorporating sensory elements, such as different textures and braille.

Musical Play Equipment

Including musical elements like our Rhapsody® Outdoor Musical Instruments in your playground can enhance auditory skills and creativity. Install a selection of chimes, metallophones and drums to engage children in musical exploration. These features encourage collaboration, rhythm recognition and the development of fine motor skills.

Science and Nature Zones

Create dedicated spaces where children can explore scientific concepts and nature. Incorporate planters for gardening, sensory paths for tactile experiences and weather stations to teach about climate. By encouraging hands-on learning, you can foster curiosity and a deeper understanding of the natural world.

Sensory Play Stations

Incorporate sensory play elements into your playground design. Sand play like fossil digs, water play areas, and interactive sensory walls stimulate children’s senses and promote cognitive development. Sensory play encourages problem-solving, fine motor skills and social interaction.

Storytelling and Reading Nooks

Designate areas for storytelling and reading within the playground. Install benches, small libraries or even mini amphitheaters where children can gather for storytime. We also love incorporating Talking is Teaching panels from Too Small to Fail into the playground design. Story trails along a walking path also encourage children and caregivers to talk, read and sing with each other. Encouraging literacy in a playful environment fosters a love for reading and language development.

Incorporating educational elements into your community, childcare and school playground designs create an enriching play space for children. Themed playstructures, alphabet panels and outdoor musical instruments are a few examples of how to infuse learning opportunities into the playground. Remember to consider age-appropriate designs and create an inclusive play environment that caters to children of all abilities. The combination of play and education will not only ignite children’s creativity and curiosity, but also provide a foundation for their lifelong love of learning.

The magic of play

At Landscape Structures, we see connections made every day. Everywhere. This is the beauty of play. An extraordinary opportunity for interaction and imagination. Coordination and cooperation. Freedom and fun. Play lets us connect to who we are and see our wonder amplified in the connections we make. That’s why, in everything we do, we celebrate the beauty of play.

We are proud to lead the conversation about the power of play with our videos. Watch the trilogy of Shaped by Play below.

We Come Back to Play
Play Will Always Shape Us
For a Better Tomorrow, We Play Today

The beauty of play is that it’s not just play at all. It’s magic. An opportunity to make connections. Use our social media toolkit to share your story of how play has helped you make connections throughout your life.

Most importantly, share the magic of play with your community by contacting your local Landscape Structures playground consultant to get started on your upcoming playground designs today.

A cost-effective, simple approach to building community splash pads

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.

See all of the AquaSmart Packages—Package A through Package H.

The HydroLogix Activation Bollard starts the AquaSmart splash pad packages with the push of a button
HydroLogix Activation Bollard

Best of all, the HydroLogix system is now available as an alternate mechanical system. Include the HydroLogix system in splash pad designs for a cost-effective and simple approach to installing a community splash pad Learn more about the patented HydroLogix system, and contact your local Aquatix consultant today.

Legacy of Play H2O Contest allows Minnesota Kiwanis Club to create safe aqua play solution

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.

2021 Legacy of Play contest winner creating destination play space for all ages and abilities

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.

Jump start your playground with the Legacy of Play Contest

2021 Legacy of Play Contest

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.
OmniSpin® Spinner

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.

Partner with the Kiwanis club in your community to apply for the 2021 Legacy of Play Contest to make your playground project a reality! Use the Club Finder at kiwanis.org to connect with local Kiwanis members, or contact your local Landscape Structures playground consultant to help introduce you.

Encourage active lifestyles with community fitness parks

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.

50 Years at Play

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.