Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Philadelphia, is home to CADES (Children and Adult Disability & Educational Services) - a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing resources and assistance to children and adults with disabilities. More than 16% of people living in this area have some type of disability - that’s more than 250,000 children and adults. That’s why CADES turned to GameTime and MRC Recreation to create an outdoor space that benefits everyone in the community.  

Designing an Inclusive Playground

The CADES Inclusive Playground is a fully accessible playground that features a variety of equipment that is designed to be enjoyed by children and adults of all abilities. The playground includes a wheelchair-accessible merry-go-round, adaptive swings and climbers, and a large play structure with ramps and platforms that are accessible for everyone. 

In addition to the accessible equipment, the CADES Inclusive Playground also features a variety of other features that are designed to promote inclusive play. For example, the playground includes a music garden with interactive panels that can be played by children who use adaptive switches. The playground also includes a variety of sensory play features, such as a water table and a sand pit.

The entire space was designed using the best practice research from PlayCore and Utah State University. Applying the Seven Principles of Inclusive Playground Design ensures the play area is accessible to greatest number of people to the greatest extent possible. 



The Benefits of Inclusive Playgrounds

Inclusive playgrounds offer a number of benefits for children of all abilities. First, inclusive playgrounds provide children with disabilities with the opportunity to play alongside their peers. This can help to break down barriers and promote understanding and acceptance of people with disabilities.

Second, inclusive playgrounds can help to improve the social skills of all children. Playing with other children can help children with disabilities to learn how to interact with others, how to take turns, and how to resolve conflicts.

Third, inclusive playgrounds can help to improve the physical fitness of children with disabilities. Playing on playground equipment can help children to build strength, coordination, and balance.

A National Demonstration Site

The CADES Inclusive Playground is an example of the growing trend towards inclusive playgrounds. By applying design best practices and evidence-based research to the design, CADES has been named a national demonstration site for inclusive play by PlayCore. The site is included in a nationwide research and data analysis framework that measures outcomes and long term impact on the community. 

Everybody Deserves to Play

The CADES Inclusive Playground is a wonderful example of how a playground can be designed to be enjoyed by children of all abilities. The playground is a place where children can learn, play, and grow together, regardless of their abilities. To learn more about the importance of inclusive play, or to develop a plan for an inclusive playground in your community, contact the GameTime play expert near you.