Elevating education: Celebrating assistant principals and enriching playgrounds

Elm Grove Elementary School, Texas

Celebrating the pillars of our educational community, particularly assistant principals, is more than a gesture—it’s a commitment to acknowledging the foundational role they play in our schools. We’re proud of our 15-year partnership with the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) through which we partner with these educational professionals to promote healthy children, successful futures and encourage a place where children of all abilities can play, learn and grow together. We’re also excited to continue our sponsorship of its National Outstanding Assistant Principals® (NOAP) Program. This initiative shines a light on the extraordinary efforts of assistant principals across the nation, recognizing their dedication and the positive impacts they have within their school communities. See the Class of 2024 National Outstanding Assistant Principals.

Celebrating the 2024 National Outstanding Assistant Principals

Our commitment to enhancing the educational environment extends beyond accolades. Understanding the critical importance of play in child development, we also focus on the role of school playgrounds. These spaces are not just areas for recess, they are vital for encouraging physical activity, fostering social skills and enhancing cognitive development. Research underscores the significance of outdoor physical activity, not only for children’s health but also for their academic and social progress. Creating age-appropriate and developmentally suitable playgrounds is pivotal in ensuring that children receive the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity daily, as suggested by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

To support this vision, we work with schools to bring these playground projects to fruition so children can thrive both inside and outside the classroom. For more detailed insights on planning and implementing school playgrounds, go here. Then contact your local Landscape Structures playground consultant to get started on designs for your upcoming playground projects today.

The advantages of including playground spinners in your play space design

Playground spinners are a remarkable enhancement to any outdoor recreational area. They offer a multitude of benefits for children across all age groups. The key benefits of integrating playground spinners into your play space include the following:

  • Boosts balance and coordination skills: Playground spinners present an exceptional opportunity for children to enhance their balance and coordination skills. The act of spinning requires children to maintain their center of gravity and modify their body movements, developing their motor skills and body control.
  • Encourages social interaction and teamwork: Many spinners on the playground are designed to accommodate multiple children simultaneously to promote social interaction and teamwork. This encourages essential social skills such as collaboration, sharing and turn-taking.
  • Offers sensory stimulation and vestibular development: Spinners provide a thrilling sensory experience. The spinning motion stimulates kids’ vestibular systems, which aids in balance, spatial orientation and sensory processing. This sensory stimulation contributes to a child’s overall sensory integration.

Browse our selection today and offer children the opportunity to enjoy the many benefits of playground spinners.

Choosing the ideal playground spinner

Selecting the right spinners for your play environment demands thoughtful consideration of the needs of your children and their safety. Here are some factors to keep in mind when making your decision:

  • Age Appropriateness and Safety Guidelines: First, factor in the age range of the children who will be using the spinner. Playground spinners are typically designed with specific age groups in mind, so it’s crucial to choose one that suits your user’s ages. Furthermore, adhere to the safety guidelines provided by the manufacturer to ensure safe usage of the spinner.
  • Space Requirements and Installation Options: Before choosing a playground spinner, work with your playground designer to assess the available space in your playground. They will help ensure there is enough room for children to use the spinners safely. Additionally, consider the installation options. Some spinners require concrete footings, while others can be surface-mounted, which may offer flexibility in placement.
  • Explore Various Spinner Designs and Features: Playground spinners come in a variety of designs and offer different features to enhance the play experience. Spend time exploring the options available to find one that suits your community’s needs. Consider features like transfer points, high-backed seats and speed limiters to ensure an inclusive play experience for individuals of all abilities.

We offer a broad range of playground spinners that prioritize safety, inclusivity and fun. Our spinners are engineered to meet the highest safety standards and deliver endless entertainment for children of all abilities.

Establishing safe spinning environments

Safety should always be paramount when it comes to playground design. Creating a safe play environment involves several key steps to ensure children can enjoy hours of fun on playground spinners and all the other play components.

First and foremost, it is essential to ensure proper surfacing and impact attenuation around all play equipment. For spinners in particular, the area surrounding the component should have a suitable surface to absorb impact and minimize injuries in case of falls. Regularly inspect the surfacing to ensure it remains in good condition and promptly address any issues.

In addition to surfacing, regular inspection and maintenance of spinning play equipment is critical. This includes checking for any signs of wear, loose bolts or broken components. Regular maintenance helps identify potential hazards and ensures playground spinners remain in optimal working condition.

Finally, educating children on safe play practices is crucial. Teach them to use spinners responsibly like sitting or kneeling instead of standing when appropriate, and not overcrowding the equipment. Encourage children to take turns and be aware of their surroundings. By instilling these safe play practices, you can help all users at the playground prevent accidents.

Learn more about the benefits of playground spinners, and contact your local Landscape Structures playground consultant to get started on a play space design that incorporates our high-quality, safe and inclusive spinners.

Soar into fun with Volo™: Elevating play with imagination and adventure

Volo™

We’re excited to introduce Volo™, the latest in the Smart Play® collection. Volo marks a new era of play that melds adventure, imagination and inclusivity for children aged 5 to 12. These innovative playgrounds are designed to encourage limitless adventure and imaginative exploration in a welcoming, inclusive environment.

Volo reimagines the playground experience. There’s an option for integrated shade. Plus, the design of the play-packed structure invites children of all abilities to discover and tailor their unique play styles. These innovative playgrounds balance high-energy fun with calm exploration, making it a perfect fit for parks, schools and neighborhood play areas.

At the core of Volo’s design is the patent-pending LSI Flexx™. Our revolutionary steel-reinforced cable netting serves as a central hub creating a new model for playground access and inclusion. This innovation connects the inner ring of Volo, offering children a spectrum of play sensations. Kids can find tranquility in lounging or exhilaration in bouncing and climbing. Best of all, Volo promotes a seamless transition across activities for endless engagement and discovery.

With 20 interconnected activities, Volo maximizes play value without compromising space. Elements like slack lines, bridges and hangout spots activate every corner of the play area. We offer a wide variety of carefully selected color palettes for Volo, allowing customers to select one so their playground complements the surrounding environment. Or customers can choose colors that reflect their unique vision.

Experience Volo, and see how this playground design elevates imagination, inclusivity and adventure at playlsi.com/volo. Then contact your local Landscape Structures playground consultant to get started on your Volo playground project today.

Exploring the future of play: Our exciting 2024 catalogs

At Landscape Structures, our commitment to play is not just a profession… it’s a passion. We understand that play is more than just fun—it’s an essential part of growth, learning and community. As we step into 2024, we’re thrilled to unveil our latest offerings that embody this spirit. Check out our 2024 playground equipment catalogs, where innovation meets imagination, and every design is a doorway to adventure.

Our 2024 Playground Equipment Catalog: A world of play awaits

2024 Playground Equipment Catalog | Landscape Structures

Imagine a playground that not only captivates children’s imaginations but also nurtures their growth. That’s the vision behind our 2024 Playground Equipment Catalog. Packed with groundbreaking innovations like Volo™ and eye-catching designs, our catalog is a treasure trove for anyone looking to create or enhance a play environment.

From freestanding play components that challenge and delight, to outdoor fitness equipment that brings communities together, we’ve thought of everything. See our digital catalog for a burst of inspiration for your next playground project, and don’t forget to request a physical copy to keep the ideas flowing!

SkyWays® Shade Products: Your oasis of comfort

2024 SkyWays® Commercial Shade Products

Sunshine and play go hand in hand, but comfort is key. That’s where our SkyWays® Shade Products come in. Our 2024 catalog showcases a wide range of stylish, effective shade systems that are perfect for transforming any playstructure, splash pad or activity area into a cool, welcoming oasis.

Whether you’re envisioning a modest canopy or an expansive shelter, our catalog presents a variety of options to suit your needs. Browse our virtual catalog to explore the possibilities, and request a copy to start planning your shade projects with confidence.

Aquatix®: Splash into imagination

2024 Aquatix® Splash Play Catalog

Water play is an exhilarating way for children to explore, create and learn. Our Aquatix® splash play line does just that by blending water and imagination to create unforgettable experiences. The 2024 Aquatix catalog is a splash of inspiration featuring products that promise thrilling water adventures and imaginative play.

Explore our digital catalog to discover the endless possibilities for your water play destination. Whether you’re planning a new splash pad or revitalizing an existing space, our catalog is your first step towards a splashtastic project. Request your copy today and let the waves of creativity take you on an unforgettable journey.

Building better play for all

We don’t just create play environments, we craft spaces where memories are made, skills are developed and communities come together. Our 2024 catalogs are more than just collections of products—they are invitations to join us in a world where play is a path to a brighter, happier future.

Let’s build this world together—one playground, one splash pad and one shade structure at a time. Welcome to our world of play, where every day is an opportunity to make a difference.

Ready to start your journey? Contact your local consultant and let the adventure begin!

Playground Swings: The perfect addition to your play space

Are you involved in the design or decision-making process of playgrounds? Or perhaps a parent of a child aged 2 to 12? Then you’ve landed in the right place! At Landscape Structures, we take pride in crafting top-tier commercial playground swing sets that are a notch above the rest. Below, you’ll learn about our commercial swing sets, the benefits of playground swings and how to select the perfect swing set for your needs.

Setting our commercial swing sets apart

With a focus on quality and safety, our commercial playground swingsets endure years of play. With high-quality, weather-resistant materials, we ensure our playground swings—posts, chains, seats, etc.—retain their structural integrity over time. The safety of children is our highest concern. We’ve incorporated numerous safety features into our swings, adhering to the strictest safety standards and certifications.

Understanding that every play space is unique, we will collaborate with you to bring your unique vision to life. Whether you’re interested in a particular color scheme to align with your school’s colors or want to include custom features, our experienced design team will create a tailored playground swing solution for you.

The advantages of investing in playground swings

Commercial swing sets are a fantastic addition to any play environment, offering numerous benefits for children’s overall development. They not only provide hours of fun but also foster physical activity, promoting coordination, balance, and strength.

Even more, playgrounds with swings enhance social and cognitive development, teaching children essential skills such as sharing and cooperation. They also encourage imaginative play, fostering friendships and strengthening social connections.

Our playground swings also facilitate inclusive play. We offer a variety of swing seats that allow children of all abilities to transfer and swing. Additionally, we designed the We-Go-Swing®, the first no-transfer inclusive swing that can be integrated into the playground setting. By investing in playground swings from Landscape Structures, you’re creating an inclusive environment where every child feels welcome and can fully participate.

Selecting the ideal commercial playground swingset for your playground

Choosing commercial playground swings involves careful consideration of several factors. From the age range, capacity of the playground swingset, variety of swing seats to the available space and installation requirements, each aspect is crucial in ensuring you select the perfect park swings for your needs.

Consider the warranty and maintenance options provided by the manufacturer. A solid warranty provides peace of mind, while maintenance options ensure your park swings remain in top condition. Go here to learn more about commercial playground maintenance in our infographic.

We understand the importance of choosing the right commercial swing set. We’re confident you’ll find the perfect fit from our diverse selection—tailored to meet all ages and abilities. Backed by a comprehensive warranty, our playground swings are guaranteed to deliver lasting enjoyment.

Wrapping up 2023: Our top 5 blog posts of the year!

As we bid adieu to 2023, it’s time to look back and celebrate our journey together. From innovative playsystems to empowering movements, each moment was a story worth telling. A huge shout-out to our fantastic customers, incredible playground consultants and dedicated employees… you’re the real MVPs! Let’s dive into our top playground blogs of 2023 that captured your hearts and imaginations this year:

The contemporary new anywhere playsystem

We kicked off the year with a bang, introducing the Forma playsystem. Perfect for any space, Forma redefines versatility with its a modern twist on play that’s been a hit among communities.

Play Connects Us

The magic of play

Who said magic was just for fairytales? Our new video for 2023 shared how play sparks imagination and creativity in kids, making every playground visit a magical adventure.

Sand + Water Play

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

This spring, we explored how playgrounds can be more than fun – they’re learning hubs! With clever designs, playtime can be turned into an educational experience.

Playground Maintenance Tips

Five tips to keep your playgrounds in top shape

It’s important to us to that your playground stay safe and fun for everyone. That’s why we shared our top maintenance tips to show that a little care goes a long way to ensure years of safe play.

Disability Pride

Empowering Disability Pride: Taking back the language that defines us

July is Disability Pride Month, and we embraced the power of language and inclusion with a blog post from our inclusive play specialist, Jill Moore. Not only are we committed to celebrating disability pride, but advocating for more inclusive play spaces.

Each of these posts represents a piece of our shared journey in 2023. We’re grateful for your engagement, feedback and stories that continue to inspire us. Here’s to more playful adventures in 2024!

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.

Partnering to develop the most innovative playground designs

2024 PLAY Book

Well-designed play brings everyone together. It’s why landscape architects and playground designers are constantly creating wildly original and wondrous kid-centric worlds. Like incorporating moments of landscape play that provide multiple options for a child’s next move, a key strategy for adding play value. Or featuring innovative playground designs that help play spaces blend into—or stand out from—their surroundings.

Thoughtful and imaginative design has always been central to how we work. Creativity is our playground, and getting to explore ideas that boost the wow factor and inspire kids, well that’s how we play. View the virtual publication and request a copy of the 2024 PLAY Book.

To us, innovative playground designs can only function in service to play. It’s a perspective that continues to influence our entire industry. And it’s why we are recognized for building the best playgrounds in the world. And why we appreciate partnering with landscape architects and communities to keep stretching design, and play. Contact your local Landscape Structures playground consultant to get started on your next playground design, and view all of the unique designs of the 2024 PLAY Book in the video below.

Empowering Disability Pride: Taking back the language that defines us

We’re excited to have Jill Moore, inclusive play specialist at Landscape Structures, as our guest blogger today. She’s here to help wrap up Disability Pride Month by discussing the varying language preferences across the disability community.

The language of disability is changing, and the impact of this is so much deeper than it appears. In six years in inclusive play, I’ve carved out a niche in disability advocacy and true inclusion. I’ve grown up with my disability. It’s always been a part of my identity. It defined me and my pursuits, but discussions about it weren’t always positive. I grew up when the Medical Model of disability was mostly used, and people referred to me as someone that needed to be “fixed.” At that time, it was the individual with the disability that was the problem, not the environment or the society we live in. Recently, the disability community has shifted away from this mindset, actively reframing our language to show disability pride.

Avoiding disability to comfort others

I remember the first time I told someone I was disabled, or rather, when someone first told me it wasn’t okay. Around kindergarten age, another student asked me why I was using crutches. I cheerfully explained that I was disabled and used crutches to move around and play with my friends. His mother quickly became flustered and told me, “You shouldn’t call yourself that! You’re not disabled, you’re handi-capable!” My kid-brain didn’t know what to make of this proclamation, but afterwards, I stopped calling myself disabled. I was told being disabled was bad and I needed to be more able. That impacted how I viewed myself into my late 20s. I avoided ‘disabled’ to comfort others, not for myself.

I had never viewed my disability as a bad thing. It is a part of who I am, so why should that be something to shy away from? I remember when I got my first wheelchair. It was so exciting! Finally, I had a tool that would allow me to go faster, keep pace with my friends and not tire so quickly. But so many people in my life—adults and friends—would say things like, “Your wheelchair isn’t permanent is it?” or “You’re still going to try to walk, aren’t you?” As if I needed to find a way to explain away my wheelchair and the needs that came with my disability.

I’d hear the words “adapt and overcome” all the time, and that was how I learned to feel about my disability. I should adapt to the world around me instead of making the world inclusive. Society taught me to hide my disability, comfort others about it, and overcome rather than celebrate it.

This view had even seeped into the media. We didn’t isolate the Medical Model of disability to a few conversations; it was all around us. In ‘Avatar’, the wheelchair-using protagonist sought to erase his disability, influencing our views.

Learning acceptance through inclusive play

Entering the world of inclusive play introduced me to the Social Model of disability. In this space, someone first told me that my abilities weren’t the problem, but the designed environment should accommodate me. Exploring the social model of disability, I realized my abilities and needs weren’t the problem. I began to find myself frustrated with person-first language (i.e. person with a disability). Wasn’t this essentially saying that the disability facet of our identity had to come second? If I had to use language to separate myself from my disability trait, then that trait suggests a negative. It was within the learning space of inclusion that I discovered identity-first language (i.e. disabled person).

I’m proud to say we are pushing to take our words back, and be confident in our disability pride. Within the disability community, you might hear us using identity-first language. We prioritize our identity label as it’s a key part of who we are. You may hear the word “disabled person,” and that’s okay. Some may identify as Blind or Deaf, and neither is negative. You may see media campaigns surrounding the changing language. You may even still hear disabled individuals using person-first language. All of that is okay, too.

The point is that it’s our choice. Able-bodied individuals no longer own the conversation space about what we should be called. It’s nothing about us, without us. The social model means that we don’t have to be fixed or changed. We don’t need to change to fit a preset mold of disability; we aren’t the problem. Differing abilities are all of us. And we get to be proud of that.

Supporting Parks and Recreation Professionals with the 15th Annual State Speaker Scholarship Program

We’re excited to share that we’re standing strong in our support of parks and recreation professionals with the launch of the 15th Annual State Speaker Scholarship program. The 2023-2024 scholarship program is about bringing in amazing keynote speakers—experts in topics like play, inclusion, equity, urban parks planning or any professional development—to state parks and recreation associations’ annual or regional conferences.

So, what’s in it for the lucky recipients of the 2023-2024 scholarship? They will receive $3,000 to support the appearance of these remarkable speakers at the conferences. We’ve increased the parks and recreation speaker scholarship amount to ensure that these conferences are filled with insightful discussions and eye-opening presentations.

The application is open! You can apply for a scholarship until May 31, 2024, to support a brilliant speaker at your conference. Head on over to playlsi.com/speaker-scholarship/ to fill out the application today!

Let’s take a moment to reflect on the impact this scholarship program has made over the years. Since 2009, we’ve awarded 350 scholarships totaling over $867,000 for speakers at national conferences.

It’s time to take action. Apply now to bring an inspiring, challenging speaker to your conference. Head over to playlsi.com/speaker-scholarship/ and fill out that application. This is just one more opportunity to get and stay connected through play and recreation.