Playgrounds are fundamental for the integral development of children, offering them a place to play and safely have fun while simultaneously developing their abilities and skills and giving free rein to their imagination. However, not all playgrounds have been designed correctly by not considering inclusive elements, which limits the participation of children with special needs. In this article, we will highlight the importance of including inclusive equipment in playgrounds.
Access and levels
In a playground, it is imperative to include ramps for the access of children and adults using wheelchairs, walkers, or other special equipment to help them with mobility to facilitate their access to the playground and its different facilities. In the same way, the walkways and routes must be broad enough so that everyone can move without inconvenience and the circulation is fluid; in addition, the transitions between different surfaces must be at the same level so that users who need special equipment do not have problems when going from one area to another.
Do not discriminate
In earlier times, children’s special needs were not considered in playground equipment, so they used to be excluded from using the equipment, creating discomfort and sadness in children as they felt different and not considered by society. Nowadays, there are many playgrounds where children can use wheelchairs, for example. Particular areas are also created in the playgrounds where children of different ages can perform the same activities but with varying difficulty levels according to their age and abilities so that everyone can play simultaneously, without discrimination.
Although children with special needs require the help of adults for some of their routine activities, the purpose of inclusive playgrounds is that they can play on their own without the need for another person to help. In this manner, the children feel they can do things by themselves and enjoy the play experience in the same way as the rest of the children, reinforcing their autonomy, safety, and comfort.
Inclusive playgrounds have activities with different levels of difficulty, but that seek to develop the same capabilities in a particular way for each child, depending on their age and abilities. Therefore, identical conditions are established in the playground equipment so that each child can improve their sensory, cognitive, social, and physical skills while having fun with their peers in a common area, without having to establish divisions that marginalize children and make them feel different.
Safety to users
Another essential aspect that inclusive playgrounds provide is safety to users; therefore, they use special coatings on their surfaces to cushion blows and falls. The design of the equipment is according to the age and size of the children and has indications of use.
The inclusive equipment, rest areas, and other elements make a day at the playground more than just a few hours of play: permit the playground a safe experience that allows children to feel confident and comfortable.
What did you think of this topic? What do you think of the importance of inclusive equipment in playgrounds?