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 all 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. That’s right, we’ve increased the scholarship amount to ensure that these conferences are top-notch and filled with insightful discussions and eye-opening presentations.
The application is open! From now until May 31, 2024, you have the chance to apply for a scholarship, which will help support the appearance of a speaker who will dazzle your entire conference with their brilliance. 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 its inception back in 2009, we’ve awarded nearly 350 scholarships to state associations, contributing over $867,000 to support the appearances of these incredible speakers at park and recreation conferences across the nation.
It’s time to take action. Apply today, and let us help bring a speaker to your conference who can inspire, challenge and ignite our passion for play. 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.
Playgrounds are more than just spaces for fun and physical activity—they are valuable opportunities for children to learn and grow. By incorporating educational elements into your playground designs, you can create an environment that not only promotes play but also fosters cognitive, social and physical development. Explore some effective ways to infuse educational elements into your school, childcare or community playground designs below.
Themed Playground Structures: Consider incorporating educational 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. From climbing walls resembling mountains to slides shaped like rocket ships, themed playground components and entire structures offer endless learning possibilities.
Alphabet and Number Panels: Integrate alphabet and number panels into your playground. These play panels can be installed on walls or integrated into climbing structures, helping children learn letters, numbers and basic math concepts 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. Install sand play—sandboxes, elevated sand tables, fossil digs, etc.—water play areas, and interactive sensory walls to 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, or story trails along a walking path to 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.
By incorporating educational elements into your community, childcare and school playground designs, you can create a dynamic and enriching play space for children. Themed playstructures, alphabet panels, outdoor musical instruments, science zones, sensory play stations and storytelling nooks are just 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.
Forma™ brings a contemporary vibe to any play environment. With its architectural influences, endless color possibilities and open sightlines, create the perfect complement to any play setting, whether you’re looking for a nature-inspired style or something more modern. Kids will love the dynamic, challenging and inclusive play opportunities provided by Forma’s clean, angular design and sensory-rich mix of materials. Experience Forma here.
Forma Alpine® Slide – Ages 5 to 12 – An easy-to-traverse belting ramp makes it easy to reach the slide and then swoop back down to the ground along the slide’s banking curve.
Forma SlideWinder2® Slide – Ages 5 to 12 – A belting ramp makes it easy get to the top of the Forma SliderWinder2 Slide, then the slide whooshes and curves riders back to the ground.
Fortress™ Multi-Climber – Ages 5 to 12 – With climbing challenges of varying difficulty, the asymmetrical shapes, unique angles, and mix of materials create play that looks and feels like nothing else.
Folio™ Balance Climber – Ages 5 to 12 – Deliver three unique dynamic experiences for children of all abilities in one unit with the slack line, cable-wrapped balance beam and wobbly steps.
Forge™ Climber – Ages 5 to 12 – The Forge Climber includes not only a large cable climber but also two unique panels with mirror cutouts for sensory play.
Footprint™ Steppers – Ages 2 to 5, 5 to 12 – Add Footprint Steppers to your Forma play area for more climbing activity or to play-functionally link different play events.
Footprint Balance Beam – Ages 2 to 5, 5 to 12 – Challenge kids to improve their balance and agility while they traverse the length of the Footprint Balance Beam.
Foxtrot™ Multi-Climber – Ages 2 to 5 – Stepping pods, a side-to-side climber, bouncy bridge, and shape sliders deliver active and sensory fun for many kids at once.
Forma Giggle Jiggler® Climber – Ages 2 to 5 – Kids will love to balance and shimmy on the Forma Giggle Jiggler, while a floating panel and stepper deliver extra sensory and active play.
Forma Sensory Fun
Focal™ Sensory Wall – Ages 2 to 5, 5 to 12 – Play on both sides deliver opportunities for walk-up or roll-up access so everyone can participate in the fun.
Fox Den™ Hangouts – Ages 2 to 5, 5 to 12 – Offer kids of all ages space to escape the hustle and bustle of a busy playground with seats for solo time or interaction with others.
Forma Motion & More Fun
Forma Sol™ Spinner – Ages 5 to 12 – Deliver valuable spinning motion kids need for healthy growth and development, plus more sensory fun with the Rain Sound Wheel Panel.
Footprint Wobble Stepper – Ages 5 to 12 – The Footprint Wobble Bouncer maintains the aesthetic of the Forma play area, while providing wiggly, bouncy fun for one or more kids.
Forma Swing Frame – ages 2 to 5, 5 to 12 – the clean, angular design of the Forma Swing Frame fits into your Forma playground design or adds visual interest to any play setting.
With its architectural influences, endless color possibilities and open sightlines, Forma creates the perfect complement to any play setting. See some of the suggested color palettes below, and go to playlsi.com/forma to explore more.
The beauty of play is that it’s not just play at all. It’s magic. An opportunity to make connections. Share that beauty of play with your community by contacting your local Landscape Structures playground consultant to get started on your Forma playground designs today.
Connections. Our lives are built around them. At Landscape Structures, we see it 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.
You’ll find everything you need to complete your play environment in our 2023 Playground Equipment Catalog. From new products to featured designs, individual components and outdoor fitness equipment, we’ll ensure your play space is everything you imagine and more. Browse our digital catalog, then request a copy to find inspiration for your upcoming playground projects.
Make a true impact with a fully integrated shade system for your playstructure, splash pad or any activity area. From small to big shade, decorative to themed shade, we have flexible and stylish options for everywhere people like to gather. Browse the SkyWays® Shade Products virtual catalog, then contact us to get started on a new shade project.
Our splashtastic products engage kids’ imaginations, encourage exploration and deliver exhilarating new experiences with water to people of all abilities and on splash pads of all sizes. Discover how Aquatix® water-based activities can help you create a signature destination. Browse our digital catalog, then request a copy to get started on your splash pad projects.
4. Delivering adventure with playground towers 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.
5. Welcoming and supporting all with Universal Design Our design philosophy at Landscape Structures is heavily influenced by the tenets of Universal Design, a theory of design that strives to make environments more usable, safer and healthier for all.
Thank you for tuning in to Together We Play in 2022. We’re looking forward to an exciting year of play; tell us below what you’d like to see more of in 2023 and we’ll do our best to share it here.
Collaborating with you this year has been a joy and a privilege. We are inspired by the work you’re doing to bring amazing play spaces to communities around the world. Thank you for your continued support. The work we’re doing together is helping bring together children of all ages, abilities and backgrounds for play.
Wishing you and yours the happiest of holidays from all of us at Landscape Structures, Aquatix and SkyWays.
Modern day merry-go-rounds attract kids of all ages and abilities. But why are kids so fascinated with spinning activities? Because it’s one of the core movements that engages the vestibular system. When a child twists and turns on playground spinners their brain receives signals to help control movement and balance. Even more, playground spinners deliver opportunities for social and cooperative play.
We understand that kids discover their world and how to be successful in it through sensory play. And the more sensory-rich play experiences kids are presented with, the more they can fully develop a wide array of skills necessary to engage, change and impact the world around them.
Adding multi-user spinners to playground designs is a great way to expand play spaces and freshen up the play experience. Best of all, while kids whirl and twirl their day away, they’re developing an array of motor, cognitive and social/emotional skills.
Try placing one spinner or multiple together to create a play zone filled with thrilling experiences that are great for kids of all ages and abilities. The Revi™ products including the ReviRock™ Bouncer, ReviWheel™ Spinner and ReviWhirl™ Spinner are a great option for this. Designed with inclusion in mind, all three Revi products are designed at transfer height, offer multiple ways to hang on, and provide plenty of room for kids of all abilities to lay down, sit, kneel or stand as they experiment with the motion.
When children play together, they develop in ways that they couldn’t alone. That’s why we develop multi-user spinners that combine the sensory input of spinning and social interaction among peers. Even better, many of these products like the We-Go-Round®, OmniSpin® Spinner and WhirlyQ® Spinner are inclusive to individuals of all ages and abilities.
Learn more about how certain types of play may shape children’s development by requesting our whitepaper, Shaped by Play: How Play Types Impact Development. Our observational research with the University of Minnesota examines whether certain types of developmentally significant play are best supported by certain playground components.
Imagine integrated ramps, belting and berms connecting kids of all abilities to all levels—from the ground all the way to the tower tops. Or winding walking paths that unite multiple play areas with a fitness course to multigenerational family fun.
We build unique play value into each design by incorporating moments of landscape play that provides multiple options for a child’s next move. Or featuring creative designs that help playgrounds blend into—or stand out from—their surroundings. View all of the unique designs of the 2023 PLAY Book in the video below.
Children of all abilities in Minnesota and Florida will soon have all-inclusive playgrounds at parks in their communities to play on thanks to their local Kiwanis clubs. The Albert Lea Noon Kiwanis Club in Albert Lea, Minn., and the Kiwanis Club of South Lake in Clermont, Fla., are co-winners of the ninth annual Legacy of Play contest, sponsored by Kiwanis International and Landscape Structures Inc. Each Kiwanis club will receive US$25,000 in inclusive playground equipment.
Albert Lea, Minn., about 90-miles south of the Twin Cities, is home to nearly 20,000 people. And while the city has many great parks and playgrounds, none provided children of all abilities a place to play together. After learning of a parent group working to bring an inclusive playground to their community, the Albert Lea Noon Kiwanis Club committed to helping. The vision for the inclusive playground is for children of all abilities to play side-by-side with their peers, deliver a rich, sensory environment that encourages children to grow and learn at their own pace, and allow everyone to access every point of the space.
The City of Clermont, Fla., a community just 22-miles west of Orlando, is known for being home to the United States Triathlon National Training Center. With the city motto being “Choice of Champions,” the Kiwanis Club of South Lake felt they needed to help children of all abilities feel like champions on the playground with an inclusive playground, which had been lacking in the community. Kiwanis and community members envision children of all abilities and their families easily accessing the playground as well as freestanding playground components like the We-Go-Round®, plus there will be activities that enhance sensory, cognitive, motor, social and emotional skills through sensory play panels and Rhapsody® Outdoor Musical Instruments.
Both clubs saw an outpouring of community support for the projects from the beginning, but particularly when it came time for the public vote on Facebook. Additionally, both clubs are working closely with the City of Albert Lea and City of Clermont, respectively, as well as have other strong partnerships with community organizations to ensure that the inclusive playground projects are installed and ready for children by 2024.
This year marks the ninth year of the contest sponsored by Kiwanis and Landscape Structures. The contest’s goal is to encourage Kiwanis clubs to bring play and playgrounds to their communities, providing a legacy of play for future generations.
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 exciting and interesting playground elements 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.
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.