What is an Inclusive Playground?

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We believe all kids are created equal.

That's why we create play environments using inclusive playground equipment that welcome kids and families of all abilities to learn, play and grow together.

Inclusive Play

All kids are created equal with the same desire and need to experience play. Play that challenges and inspires them physically, supports and stimulates them cognitively and facilitates an emotional and social connection. A well-designed inclusive playground welcomes children and adults of all abilities to a play experience where everyone can interact and play together.

Adult and child playing on inclusive playground with Rain Sound Wheel Panel for all abilities

Play is not only fun, but it’s also an essential part of a child’s development and critical for the successful growth of both the brain and the body. Playgrounds offer a unique opportunity to support a child's cognitive, emotional, physical and social development all why disguising it as play.

The link between play and its positive outcomes is so strong that the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) considers it an important component of developmentally appropriate teaching practice, the American Academy of Pediatrics have issued guidelines to help pediatricians encourage play, and the UN High Commission on Human Rights declared play a fundamental right of all children.

All children means everyone. The need for play does not distinguish between children who are typically developing and children with disabilities. Everyone of all abilities needs play. And everyone means not only children with a physical disability requiring an accessible playground, but it also includes developmental disabilities like autism; children with sight or hearing impairment and children with intellectual disabilities such as down syndrome. Everyone also includes siblings, parents, grandparents, friends and other caregivers.

Inclusive Playgrounds

There is a misconception that an accessible playground is synonymous with an inclusive playground. However, simply ensuring accessibility for mobility devices on a playground is only part of a truly inclusive play design. An inclusive playground welcomes kids and families of all abilities to learn, play and grow together.

A well-designed, inclusive playground enables children of all abilities to develop physically, cognitively, socially and emotionally. An inclusive playground also provides just the right level of challenge to meet kids where they are, addresses all levels of ability, and creates play experiences for a variety of needs and interests. An inclusive playground goes beyond wheelchair accessibility and ensures children and adults of all abilities have play options and can choose how they want to engage each activity.

Boy in wheelchair smiling on adaptive playground equipment rampOur designs incorporate A Higher Level of Inclusive Play™ philosophy meaning special-needs playground equipment, events and activities are part of everything else and are designed to look appealing and inviting.

A truly inclusive playground doesn’t have areas off to the side for children with disabilities, or designated spaces for special needs playground equipment. Inclusive means everyone is a part of play with peers of all abilities. Inclusive playgrounds create an atmosphere where everyone can interact with each other, explore, imagine and play together.

Planning an Inclusive Playground

Overhead view of an inclusive playground with many inclusive playground equipment structuresOur inclusive play specialists and design architects are available to assist you with all your inclusive playground planning needs. Whether you’re looking for a custom design or one of our already established plans, our design team and your local playground consultant will guide you through every step from concept through completion.

At Landscape Structures, we understand how the design of a children’s playground can shape a child’s development as well as the community in which it resides. Together, we can create an inclusive play environment that is welcoming to all and serves your community for decades.