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.