As children grow older, the benefits of outdoor play become essential. Your kids can increase their cognitive capabilities, body awareness and social skills, all through time spent on playgrounds. So, it’s necessary to make sure that all children can access these spaces – regardless of their physical strengths.
Inclusive play areas provide many more advantages, too. Take a look.
Inclusive Playgrounds Defined
An ideal inclusive playground encompasses various features. At their core, these places provide accessible equipment and exercises that stimulate all children. And there’s a high demand for inclusive play areas – 9 in 10 Americans say that every community should offer them. So, these spaces should be diverse enough to address specific categories, such as:
Accessibility– Both non-disabled and disabled kids and parents can access every structure. There’s a combination of steps and ramps, as well as a few ground-level activities. Similarly, differently-sized swings are present. All entrances to the park itself accommodate wheelchairs and other necessary mobility vehicles.
- Range– Because children can face both physical and cognitive impairments, it’s crucial to provide a mixture of interests. Instead of one-dimensional games, some activities offer texture, sound, color and other sense-oriented lessons. In other words, no structure caters to a single group. Also, the park highlights cognitive development.
- Convenience– While some kids like to challenge themselves, an inclusive playground should offer areas for rest, too. Sometimes, children need to take breaks as a result of overstimulation. In those cases, a quiet zone with accessible picnic tables or benches can be helpful. This way, there’s enough room to recharge and breathe.
- Safety– Of course, all kids should be able to enjoy a safe play environment. Inclusive playgrounds have to feature secure guardrails and soft pavement. This way, no parents have to worry about their child. Instead, everyone can have fun at the park – it’s as simple as that.
These goals should be at the forefront of any inclusive park.
How Inclusive Playgrounds Benefit Children
As a whole, outdoor activities allow kids to interact with nature and grow stronger physically. But aside from those points, playgrounds offer opportunities to build relationships – and many other necessary life lessons!
A Chance for Friendships
When children can interact with others their age, they’re able to develop essential social skills. Unfortunately, many parents with disabled kids know that traditional playgrounds aren’t easy to access.
In fact, these excursions can evoke intense emotions, like sorrow, inadequacy and defeat. As a result, their children don’t know what it’s like to build peer friendships through play. But when there’s a chance to experience an inclusive area, they can enjoy those same moments. At the same time, non-disabled children have an opportunity to meet disabled kids – which opens their eyes to a broader world-view.
That sense of community continues to be a key perk of inclusive parks. Like their children, parents can connect and discuss amongst themselves. When everyone’s able to participate equally, there’s a sense of togetherness.
Essential Life Lessons
From these social interactions, kids can see how others navigate the world. They’re not like everyone else – and everyone’s not like then. As such, it’s essential to become an empathetic, sensitive person. When we understand what people go through, we can help them. Plus, we become more aware of our own actions and how they affect other individuals.
These lessons lead to fewer instances of bullying, along with genuine, meaningful friendships. You’ll find that your kids become aware of trust and honesty, too. When they spend time away from their parents, they soon realize that not everyone thinks similarly.
Physical and Mental Skills
Additionally, inclusive playgrounds provide a chance for children to develop physical and mental skills.
On the physical side, these may include coordination, strength, agility and more. When children have to venture through different structures and play a variety of games, they’re able to learn essential physical abilities. Plus, they become increasingly adventurous and curious. As a result, they’re more likely to take calculated risks – which helps throughout the rest of their lives.
When it comes to mental growth, inclusive parks grant different opportunities. To navigate certain areas of the park, kids have to think differently than usual. If they need to get from one point to another, they’ll have to process that movement. As they talk to peers or complete interactive puzzles, they can develop reasoning skills. Memory and attention come into play, too.
All in all, there are several ways for children to learn through play – and inclusive parks make it so much easier to do so.
Inclusive Playgrounds Provide Many Advantages
Inclusive playgrounds allow children of all abilities to come together. As a result, they can learn and play without any differences. These experiences lead to several benefits, from physical strength to genuine friendships to mental acuity. Encourage others to join you at an inclusive playground today.