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Developmental Benefits of Inclusive Play

Creating playgrounds that promote fun, challenge and growth

Developmental Benefits of Inclusive Play

Inclusive Play in the Early Years Offers Lasting Benefits

All kids benefit from exploring the four defined areas of developmental skills when at play. Multisensory experiences can be good because using more than one sense at a time helps to build the brain more quickly.

However, kids with disabilities may need to break that There are four defined areas of developmental skills: Sensory, Motor, Cognitive, Social/Emotional. information into smaller parts. Some may require additional sensory input, others do better with less. Some may prefer to experience this input more frequently, others less frequently.

That's why it is so important for playgrounds—especially inclusive playgrounds—to provide a variety of developmental options for kids to choose from.

"The experience of experiencing something for the first time: I hate it, or I love it; I never want to do it again, or I want to do it again and again; can I replicate it if I like it, or can I do it differently next time—spin faster, slower, hold on tighter. This is why playgrounds need options for kids."

Ingrid Kanics, OTR/L
Kanics Inclusive Design Services, LLC

Sensory Processing Theory and Its Impact on Play

According to sensory processing theory, children see what they need. One child may be attracted to the same component day after day as they seek new ways to experience it: go faster or slower, hold on longer, climb higher. Others may go from one component to another, always looking for something new. Once a child has physically mastered a particular component, only then will they feel comfortable enough for pretend play, an important part of the cognitive skill set.

Landscape Structures can help ensure that your playground includes a wide range of activities to accommodate a variety of developmental needs.

More Inclusive Play and Developmental Resources