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Committed to Play for ALL

Because ALL kids deserve to play

Committed to Play for ALL

Better Playgrounds for All

In a survey conducted with parents across the country, 57 percent mistakenly believed that playgrounds are required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to include elements designed for children with Down syndrome, sensory disorders, and visual and hearing impairments. In reality, current ADA standards primarily require that playgrounds be accessible for those who use a wheelchair or other mobility aid. At Landscape Structures, we believe in the need to go beyond accessibility and design playgrounds that are truly inclusive.

What does that mean? A well-designed, inclusive play environment enables all children to develop physically, socially and emotionally. An inclusive playground provides the just-right level of challenge, addresses all levels of ability, and goes beyond minimum accessibility to create play experiences that meet a variety of needs and interests. At an inclusive playground, children of all abilities can interact with each other and do what all kids want to do: play.

Creating an inclusive play space in your community will deliver numerous benefits. Playgrounds that truly welcome everyone will become destination gathering places for visitors near and far. Most importantly, inclusive playgrounds help eliminate bias for children with disabilities. Hear more about the impact an inclusive playground can have on a community by watching the video below.

Playground products shown in video may not be appropriate for every age group. Playsystems shown in video are for demonstration purposes only. Product configurations may vary.

Video features a local Mesa resident as he explains the importance of inclusive play in playgrounds at Pioneer Park in Mesa Arizona.

[video: fade in to Eric Chuller also known as Wolf, stands in front of Pioneer Park playground. He speaks to camera.]

Eric: Inclusive play helps to... hmm how should I put this, it breaks down the barriers. There's it teaches people well not to stare it does it teaches people not to mistreat someone just because they're different whether it's something invisible that you can only see any under a brain scan like mine or whether it's someone and who can't even get out of a wheelchairs.]

[video: camera zooms in to Eric’s face.}

Eric: Play has always been a huge component of helping me to socialize with people due to the communication deficiencies I had with my autism. I've always believed that parks and recreation have been an integral part in facilitating socialization for people of all creeds, colors, and abilities.

Eric voiceover: Action facilitates socialization but not without forethought, not without structure and that's what this place has given Pioneer Park, that's what this project has done. [video: camera pans left to right as a group of children stand at a railing of main play structure overlooking the park. Two boys at the top of tower wait to go down the slide and talk at the camera. Young boy squeezes past another to talk at camera. Young boy with glasses sits on in enclosed tower and speaks at camera.]

Eric voiceover: It's restructured the community in its own way and it's not just a fresh coat of concrete, paint, and equipment here the way that people are reacting to it I see proof in the way that these kids are playing with one another. The way that they're exploring, the way that they are meeting friends new and old here. The design of this park certainly helps to unite people well in that model of inclusive play.

[video: camera pans left to right over large crowd gathered at pioneer park for ribbon cutting ceremony. Top down view of a group of people cutting ceremonial ribbon. Camera pans right to left showing large tower structure of playground. Group of boys push two other boys on friendship swing. Camera switch back to Eric speaking to camera. Fade to Landscape Structures logo.]

Inclusive Play Design Philosophy

Our inclusive playground designs promote A Higher Level of Inclusive Play® by addressing accessibility, age and developmental appropriateness and sensory-stimulating activity.

Our team of designers follows the Seven Principles of Universal Design to create a playground that best fits the needs of those in your community:

    1. Equitable Use. The design is useful to people with diverse abilities.
    2. Flexibility in Use. The design accommodates a wide range of individual preferences and abilities.
    3. Simple and Intuitive Use. Use of the design is easy to understand regardless of the user's experience, knowledge, language skills or current concentration level.
    4. Perceptible Information. The design communicates necessary information effectively to the user regardless of ambient conditions or the user's sensory abilities.
    5. Tolerance for Error. The design minimizes hazards and the adverse consequences of accidental or unintended actions.
    6. Low Physical Effort. The design can be used efficiently and comfortably.
    7. Size and Space for Approach and Use. Appropriate size and space are provided for approach, reach, manipulation and use regardless of user's body size, posture or mobility.

Universal Design is a framework for the design of environments, products, buildings, ideas and more with the express goal that they be usable by the widest range of abilities. This framework influences our Inclusive Play Design Philosophy to ultimately increase access, safety, comfort and social participation within our play environments.

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Designing Your Playground

Landscape Structures’ extensive experience with inclusive play, blended with the philosophy of Universal Design, has resulted in a process that builds a strong foundation for inclusive playground design. Use the following three elements to help plan a successful inclusive design:

Play Experience. Playgrounds can offer many opportunities for children to further develop physical, cognitive, sensory and social skills. An inclusive design includes a balance of play experiences to build all these skills. 

"The life of a child with special needs is changed by all of the folks who choose to say, ‘You matter, and I am going to take my creative energies and do something important for you.’ I am just grateful to everybody who puts their lives into making these kids’ lives better." April Mills Bremerton Beyond Accessible Play

Variability. This design intention meets a child’s curiosity with developmentally appropriate challenge, building comfortably on the skills they already possess to help them gain new skills. By striking this balance and achieving a “just right fit,” children are encouraged to challenge themselves in ways that they can control and manage.

Safety, Comfort and Access. Creating a welcoming, safe and accessible environment is just as important as the play equipment you put in it. A well-designed environment makes the space more comfortable and user-friendly for children and families of all ages and abilities.

Landscape Structures partners with like-minded organizations to advance inclusive play throughout the world. Additionally, our Inclusive Play Advisory Board and internal expert, Jill Moore, is available to assist with any inclusive playground design questions, concerns or discuss further considerations.

Visit Inclusive Playgrounds

See for yourself how inclusive playgrounds are benefitting communities throughout the world. Take a virtual field trip to the inclusive playgrounds below, and browse more using our Visit a Playground tool.

Playground products shown in video may not be appropriate for every age group. Playsystems shown in video are for demonstration purposes only. Product configurations may vary.

Video features the new inclusive musical themed playground at Clement Park in Littleton Colorado.

[video: scene begins with a full elevated shot of Clement Park with its large play space and surrounding pavilions. The elevated view of the park shifts as the sunflower yellow and gold playground glows in the sun. The camera switches to a full side view of the inclusive play area of the park with the unique trombone inspired play structure.]

[video: the scene fades to black and back into a elevated view of the park as the camera pans over children playing at all the different playground activities. A woman begins to speak in the background. Scene switches to two parents standing on a playground deck speaking to the camera. White text in front of the man reads Tyler as text in front of the woman reads Kiera.]

Kiera: We have a great community of Denver parents, of special needs kids. We reached out to our community and we you know sort of asked questions and said what are the things that you love about parks that you’ve been to in Colorado or outside Colorado or things that you hate that just don’t work.

Kiera voiceover: You know the equipment that just has good intentions, but it doesn’t you know in person actually evolve to that.

[video: children play together on the ropes and belted climbing sections within the trombone shaped play structure. The camera switches from different views around the trombone shaped pay structure as children climb and play all around. The camera focuses on a girl wearing noise damping headphones as she climbs on the coned shaped of the trombone structure. Scene switches to a view through a cargo net where children climb and swing from the netting. Camera switches to a view down the inside of the trombone structure. Scene switches to a view across the park where a young girl stands and watches a Color Splash Panel spin in front of her. Here mother stands by watching as the girl plays. Scene switches back to Kiera and Tyler as Kiera finishes speaking.]

[video: Tyler begins to speak in the background.]

[video: the camera focuses on the top of a play structure designed like a large organ with pipes of varying heights with a DigiFuse sign printed like a theatre sign reading “Now Playing” surrounded by lights. Camera switches to children climb and jump across pod like steps designed like music notes leading up to the trombone play structure.]

Tyler voiceover: The theme of the park is just music because of the amphitheater and obviously the centerpiece is the trombone.

[video: with a slightly elevated view the camera pans the side of the trombone inspired play structure.]

Tyler voiceover: And we were here for the opening, two weeks ago and my son usually when we go to parks and that’s the whole reason why this was par of the project is, I wanted a park that he could play at.]

[video: camera switches to a view across the park as children play at the many different activities. Scene switches to children climbing on rope ladders on the inside of the trombone structure. With a view across the children and family filled park two girls play together making music at the Rhapsody Grandioso Chimes outdoor musical instrument. Camera switches back to Tyler and Kiera as Tyler continues to talk. A mother stands by a Cozy Climber and a young boy climbs up towards the playground decking.]

Tyler voiceover: You know like literally I could let him go and play. You know the play structures are very suited to not only him but just everyone.

[video: children play together on an inclusive Roller Table. Scene switches to a high bird’s eye view as the camera slowly pans over the play area of the park. Camera switches back to Tyler and Kiera as Kiera begins to speak again.]

Kiera: For me to be able to just let her interact with the equipment, the sensory stuff.

[video: the camera focuses on a young girl seated in a wheelchair as she focuses on a play panel in front of her.]

Kiera voiceover: For her she loves a thrill like she’s a thrill seeker, so you know for her to have a swing that we can both swing at together she loves that We-Go-Round. I mean that thing goes really fast which is so cool.

[video: the young girl in her wheelchair with the assistances of her mother plays the large tubed chimes of the Rhapsody Grandioso Chimes outdoor musical instrument. Scene switches to the young girl seated in her wheelchair near some climbing ropes on the trombone shaped play structure. The young girl waves her arms and sways in her chair as she watches other children play.]

Kiera: You know there’s just like the music and just being able to go on the different levels of the equipment. Those are little things that make such a big difference.

[video: children of all abilities walk and run up a hillside with unique play activities. Scene switches to a woman where sunglasses as she speaks to the camera. White text in the lower right of the screen reads: Jill, Inclusive Play Specialist.]

Jill: This playground is a huge success. I think the coolest part of inclusive play is if we do our jobs right, inclusion is going to be such an afterthought.

[video: the camera slowly pans up to a play structures equipment with ramped playground decking for wheelchair access and many different play panels. Jill and a young girl seated in their wheelchairs beat the tops of a Bongo Panel.]

Jill voiceover: We’re just going to see it, it’s such a cool place to be for everybody and I think that’s what this playground is all about that it doesn’t scream this is for our special needs here and our normal here, this is just a really cool place to be.

[video: the camera focuses on a young girl seated in her motorized wheelchair. She waits outside the We-Go-Round carousel for her turn to spin. Scene switches to Jill as she leaves her wheelchair behind her and begins to climb on the cargo nets of the trombone play structure. The camera switches to a full view of the trombone play structure as children play all over it. Scene switches to Jill and a group of children spinning together in the inclusive We-Go-Round carousel.]

[video: a woman holds onto the chain of a swing as she speaks to the camera. White text in the lower right of the screen reads: Rachel, Inclusive Play Mom.]

Rachel: So, this playground has been really great, Annabelle last year had a really hard time at school because she didn’t have any handicap accessible playground.

[video: the camera views Annabelle as she sits on one side of the Friendship Swing as her mother gently swings her and her friend. Her mother reaches from behind her and tickles Annabelle, she smiles and laughs. Camera switches back to Rachel as she continues to speak.]

Rachel: And she came home for about two weeks in a row crying every day because she didn’t have anyone to play with her at the playground. So, we went and watched her at school, and we had a conversation with her that there was a difference between kids not wanting to play with her and her not being able to play.

Rachel voiceover: And so now she’s got a place where she can go and play with everyone else and she doesn’t have to worry about steps, and she can be on the equipment and she can just be like every other kid.

[video: Annabelle stands holding onto a lower monkey bar set as she pulls herself away from her walker. The camera switches to a front view of Annabelle as she sticks her tongue out in concentration as she lifts her body forward. The camera switches again to a top view of the monkey bars as Annabelle’s hands reach to the next rung of the monkey bar set. The camera pans down unique star designed side panels surrounding the monkey bar set. Scene switches to a view across the park where children of all abilities swing on inclusive playground swings. Scene switches to Jill as she roles towards two girls playing at a Bongo Reach Panel. Scene switches to a view across the park as a mother and daughter play at the Rhapsody Grandioso Chimes outdoor musical instrument. Camera switches back to Rachel as she finishes speaking.]

Rachel: Which is exactly what she wants, is to play with other kids.

[video: Annabelle speaks to the camera as she holds herself up on the inclusive monkey bar set.]

Annabelle: Um, I like how people with disabilities can go and get around. When I was little things like this didn’t exist.

[video: Annabelle stands with her walker at the side of the trombone play structure. Annabelle’s mom stands with Annabelle’s walker as she plays with a group of children spinning together on the We-Go-Round carousel. Scene switches to a young girl seated in the Friendship Swing as she speaks to the camera. White text in the bottom left corner of the screen reads: Juliet, Annabelle’s Sister and also an Inclusive Play Expert.]

Juliet: It’s really nice now that she can actually play with me and I don’t have to be like, oh can you try to do this now or like can you try to do this? So now I can actually do stuff she can do.

[video: scene fades from Juliet to side by side Oodle swings as children play and swing together. Scene fades to a girl sitting at the top of a slide holding her Chihuahua puppy, the girl giggles. Scene fades to a young girl seated in her motorized wheelchair. The girl smiles for the camera. Scene fades to two girls as one smiles and waves to the camera. Scene fades to a top down view of Jill as she peaks through the port hole of a belted disc climber. She smiles and waves to the camera. Scene fades as a girl bends her head backwards to smile at the camera. Scene fades out again to children playing all over the trombone play structure. The screen goes white as a black like appears in the middle of the screen. The rep company Rocky Mountain Recreation logo slides out from behind the black line at the same time the Landscape Structures logo slides out from to the left. Grey text appears below both logos reading: For a better tomorrow we play today.]

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