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Updating Your Playground to Be More Inclusive

By Whirl Construction (550 words)
Posted in Commercial Playgrounds on January 9, 2020

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Children love to play - no one can deny that. However, some children have a harder time playing with their peers due to physical or mental impairments. For those children, a day at the playground can be frustrating and disheartening. 

A recent study found that 15 percent of all school-age students have a diagnosed disability. Inclusive playgrounds bridge the gap by providing opportunities that enable children of all abilities to interact with one another and enjoy their time in a play area. 

While new playgrounds are often built to be inclusive, it can be challenging to determine ways to upgrade existing playgrounds. Fortunately, we have been designing playgrounds for over 30 years, and we’ve found four key areas that can make an existing playground more inclusive for everyone. 


Add Safety Surfaces

The simplest changes can have the biggest impact - and this is the case with safety surfaces. Replacing concrete, wood chips or even grass with a safety surface ensures that children of all abilities - even those in a wheelchair - can access more areas of the playground with less risk of injury. 

We recommend using Poured in Place (PIP) safety surfaces because they are ADA compliant and require less long-term maintenance. A popular alternative is rubber tile, which is virtually maintenance-free and comes in a variety of colors. This is a great option if you want to use color to designate specific areas of your playground for sensory or quiet play. 

Create Social Areas

Playgrounds are a wonderful opportunity for children to interact socially. However, children who struggle with certain physical or developmental skills may find it difficult to interact with their peers on playground equipment. 

This is where designated social areas can come in handy. These areas can also include tables for interaction, quiet activities, eating, or simply resting. You can mark these areas with uniquely colored rubber tile, or install a shelter or shade - just be sure to include ADA compliant access to the area if you install a shelter. 

Include Modified Equipment 

You don’t need to upgrade all your equipment to create inclusivity. Simply add equipment that enables children of all abilities to play. Modified swings are one of the most cost-effective ways to add modified equipment. Other options include elevated sandboxes and extra-wide swings. 

Whatever you choose, be sure to chat with your contractor to determine the best place to install new equipment. 

Add Sensory Play  

Sensory equipment is another simple yet cost-effective update that can expand options for all children. This can include bright colors, play equipment with varying textures, or musical equipment that can be used by children of all ages. 

Updating your current playground doesn’t have to be frustrating. With the right plan and equipment, you can create a cost-effective design that is sure to be enjoyed by all for years to come! 

If you’re ready to update your playground, contact us. Whether it’s as simple as adding modified swings or a more extensive update such as new surfacing, we can help. While Construction has been a leader in playground construction in the Tri-State area for more than 30 years. We’re confident we can help make your next playground project an experience that all children will love! 

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International Playground Contractors Association New Jersey Recreation and Park Association Certified Playground Safety Inspectors Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute