This is the first of a seven-part series on inclusive playground design. Can’t wait for all seven parts? Request a copy of Me2: 7 Principles of Inclusive Playground Design and put research into action.
We are frequently asked, "How do I design an inclusive playground?" or "what makes a playground inclusive?" These two questions are part of a larger conversation on the importance of inclusive play, and how to ensure people of all abilities can be included in play and recreation. The answer to these questions, as well as many others related to inclusive playgrounds, is found in the research that guides our inclusive play products - Me2.
Me2®: 7 Principles of Inclusive Playground Design® is a comprehensive guidebook for communities who want to create truly inclusive play and recreation spaces. Developed by PlayCore in partnership with Utah State Center for Persons with Disabilities, the seven principles are a critical first step in offering high-quality spaces where both physical and social inclusion can occur. No two universally-designed play environments are alike, but we know children want to be and feel fair, included, smart, independent, safe, active and comfortable during play. In this post, we will explore the first of those principles: Be Fair.
To “be fair,” an inclusive play environment promotes equitable use for people with diverse abilities. It also encourages multigenerational play by supporting the active participation of individuals with diverse abilities, needs, and interests. In a playground design utilizing Principle 1, you will find opportunities for physical, social-emotional, sensory, cognitive and communication development throughout the play area. Multisensory activities that provide tactile, visual, auditory, motion and movement experiences, dramatic play opportunities for imaginative play, and cooperative play or gathering areas that promote socialization offer diverse play opportunities that address the needs of the whole child.
Examples include accessible games and panels for dramatic play, multi-user swings and other motion activities, talk tubes, and other auditory elements.
Multi-user swings like Expression Swing® Universal offer multigenerational play experiences that support social interaction and fun!
Multigenerational components, such as musical instruments, also provide developmentally meaningful experience for people of all abilities. Selecting the right musical instruments can make a big difference in how people use and enjoy the experience. GameTime’s GT Symphony instruments feature our patented grip mallet to make it easy for users of all abilities to play instruments with chimes or bells. These instruments are installed at a 35-degree angle so they are comfortable for everyone. And the instruments are tuned to a pentatonic scale so every note always sounds right.
GT Symphony Instruments offer a comfortable, inclusive musical play experience for all ages and abilities
Finally, an inclusive play space where people can be and feel fair includes learning opportunities and programs to teach children and families how to successfully play together. GameTime offers a companion guide to Me2 called 2PlayTogether. The guide is a valuable resource for schools and organizations who work to create communities that care through character education. This resource equips programmers with tips and activities that will promote play, understanding, and fun between children with and without disabilities.
To learn more about the seven principles of inclusive playground design, request a copy of the complete Me2 guidebook or contact a GameTime representative in your neighborhood to explore inclusive play options for your community.