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May 2018

Inclusive play – a checklist for getting it right

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Inclusive play – a checklist for getting it right

If you are looking to build a new inclusive play area we have set out some tips below which could help you to address the points that matter when designing outdoor play areas that provide the most for children.

It can be quite a daunting task to try to design a play area from scratch so we thought we could provide you with some ideas that help incorporate inclusion and cater for all the different needs and abilities of the kids who are likely to use the play space.

So whether you’re looking to start afresh or update your existing play equipment here is a list of things to consider:

  • Inclusive water and sand play equipment as this is fun and engaging for younger kids of all abilities and can easily be made accessible by using a hard standing
  • Create some high points if possible. These might be earth mounds of they might be the top of some accessible play equipment
  • Create two or more clear routes through the playground as this generates the interest to move about within the space
  • Introduce sensory play and use visual sound and tactile objects to stimulate the children senses
  • Make sure some of the dynamic play equipment is accessible. This might be a ground flush round about or other slower moving play activity
  • Place the dynamic play equipment near the entrance points to elicit interest early on
  • Provide good access to all play equipment so that children can feel engaged with what is going on even if they chose not to fully participate
  • Create a quite zone where possible so that children have somewhere to get away to. Include some gentle sensory experiences here that might include sound touch and even smell

A play area for all

Remember for a play area to be truly inclusive it needs to provide a challenge to all children who need it. Some kids find it easier than others to engage in play areas at school or in the local park so make sure that you consider what a wheelchair user is faced with when designing your play area. Similarly you can consider the needs of an infant with autism who might prefer some quieter space away from the busy play kit with bright colours and lots of noise.

If you bare all of this in mind then between us we can create the perfect inclusive play are for all the children who use the school or park facility.

Inclusive play with wheelchair friendly sand pits

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It’s great to see that many local councils are now making more effort to provide for those with disabilities at their local play areas. Inclusive play as it is often referred to is more of a hot topic and as a result many play areas are being adapted to ensure that the play equipment includes a selection if not all that can be used by those with disabilities and that includes wheelchairs.

A wheelchair friendly sand pit

Inclusive play catering for children with disabilities

When designing inclusive play areas for children there are many considerations more to consider than just access into a space. Here at Outdoor Play UK we are working on a number of pieces of play equipment that will cater inclusive play areas. One of the more popular items that we are in the process of making is the wheelchair accessible sand pit complete with covers.

Inclusive play with wheelchair friendly instruments

Inclusive play with wheelchair friendly instruments


Providing play activities that engage all is vital. The easy access sand pit is designed to allow a children’s wheelchair to pull up at the sand pit so that the sand and associated toys are easily within reach. This means that the wheelchair arm pads will need to fit under the lowest part of the sand pit to ensure easy access to the fun. Musical play is another engaging and popular part on inclusive play equipment.