Inclusive Playground Design

Playgrounds should address the needs of all children, no matter their age or ability. Inclusive play environments provide unique opportunities for individuals of all ages and abilities to engage in their right to play. Outdoor play environments that break down both physical barriers to access and social barriers to participation can unite communities in meaningful ways.

LeTulle Park, TX - Steel Play Arch Swing Frame

What is an Inclusive Playground?

Inclusive playgrounds go beyond providing accessible playground equipment or wheelchair accessible playgrounds. 

While accessible playground equipment is necessary and helps to break down physical barriers to play, inclusive playground design provides equitable play opportunities allowing children to equally participate in all the fun. These playgrounds can provide play opportunities to meet the diverse needs of the individuals in your community, including those with physical, sensory, communicative, social-emotional, and cognitive disabilities. When we address the needs of your community, all children will be able to reap the lifelong developmental, physical, and social benefits of inclusion.

Things to Include When Designing an Inclusive Playground

For a playground to be inclusive, all children must be able to interact with any play element regardless of physical ability. Consider these elements when creating an inclusive play environment:

Provide multiple opportunities for individuals to independently access play and engage in intuitive play patterns.

Include play events that children of all abilities can access throughout the play environment (instead of in one central location) to encourage inclusion among all children.

Offer a balance of meaningful play activities that support the physical, social-emotional, sensory, cognitive, and communicative needs of all children.

A key to creating an accessible play area is the coordination of the various surfaces on the playground. Transitions from pathways to grass, from ramps to pathways, and from resilient surfaces to pathways must be planned to create access for children of all abilities.

Inclusive Play Opportunities

  1. Musical play encourages collaboration and creativity. It's also appropriate for users of any developmental stage. 
  2. Dramatic play facilitates imagination, social dialogue, symbolic thinking, and creativity. Consider our talk tubes, playhouses, or steering wheels. 
  3. Quiet or semi-enclosed spots provide children with space where they can seek sensory relief or retreat until they are ready to play. These types of spaces could be used with our crawl tubes, under deck bench, or Moon Crater Climber.
  4. Motion and movement activities provide sensory-rich feedback to provide proprioceptive stimulation through spinning, which is important for motor planning and control. Consider our Inclusive Orbit, Cozy Pod Spinner, or adaptive swing seats. 
  5. Half activity panels provide adequate space underneath to allow children using mobility devices to comfortably reach play activities. 

Create an Inclusive Play Environment with Grounds For Play

We offer inclusive playground equipment that allows children of differing abilities equal opportunities to play. We offer a variety of different inclusive play opportunities, from sensory playground equipment to playground equipment that encourages physical play. The below products offer a glimpse into how you can provide equitable play opportunities on your playground. Inclusive playground equipment goes beyond individuals with physical disabilities, so the equipment below can provide sensory play activities, quiet spaces, and more.

Intergenerational Playground Equipment

When planning your inclusive playground, consider adding multigenerational, or intergenerational, playground equipment. This play equipment is designed to bring people of all ages and abilities together. A great place to start is by checking out our musical instruments.

Need help with selecting playground equipment?

Our knowledgeable sales representatives can help you pick playground equipment that is age-appropriate, suitable to the space available, and within budget.