Promoting literacy through inclusive playground designs

Thanks to the collaboration of some very hard-working organizations, there is a new inclusive playground ready to welcome children and families of all abilities. On Saturday, July 11, Shane’s Inspiration along with First 5 LA, the Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks, Too Small to Fail and the Exceptional Children’s Foundation hosted a grand opening to celebrate the new Landscape Structures inclusive playground at Sepulveda Recreation Center in Panorama City, Calif.

Sepulveda Recreation Center is home to the first playground with the Talking is Teaching campaign.

The playground offers a train theme with custom play structures that mimic a train depot and train cars, and all of the structures are designed to welcome children of varying abilities. Even more, this playground is the first in the country to highlight Too Small to Fail’s “Talking is Teaching: Talk, Read, Sing” campaign to boost children’s early language development. The playground at Sepulveda Recreation Center incorporated the Talking is Teaching materials into playground signage to prompt fun conversations, stories and songs while parents and children play together.

The playground design at Sepulveda Recreation Center welcomes children and families of all abilities.

We’re proud to collaborate with Shane’s Inspiration and Too Small to Fail to support families build a foundation of early literacy skills and help close the word gap. Learn more about our commitment to the Too Small to Fail initiative.

What should consider when planning a playground design?

Planning the perfect playground environment for your school or park can be easy. Just keep in mind the following playground design characteristics to ensure you create a beautiful playground that is safe, fun and comfortable for all visitors:

Plan for multiple age groups in your playground design.

Neahwa Park, Oneonta, N.Y.

  • Age of visitors. Will you have multiple age groups visiting your playground? If so, plan to include a playground structure specifically for 2- to 5-year-olds as well as kids ages 5 to 12.
  • Playground accessibility. If your community has individuals of varying abilities, consider designing an inclusive playground that welcomes everyone including children with and without disabilities, parents with strollers, aging grandparents, wounded warriors, etc.
  • Design elements. We can
    Create a unique playground theme for your community park.

    Harry Thomas Sr. Playspace, Washington, D.C.

    create a unique playground theme that incorporates historical characteristics from your community, specific color schemes, or school or city logos into your playground design.

  • Additional amenities. If your playground gets hot, you may want to include shade. Would your community use and benefit from the inclusion of HealthBeat® outdoor fitness equipment? Benches and trash receptacles are great amenities to include as well.
  • Installation. We have a few installation options available including community playground build, professional installation or a blend of both.
Create an active community by including the HealthBeat® outdoor fitness system into your playground design.

Inspiration Park, Delano, Minn.

Contact your local playground consultant to request our Playground Planning Guide, and then let the dreaming, planning and designing begin! We’ll work together with you to bring your vision into focus.

Principals help create better school playgrounds in California

Elementary and middle school principals from across the country gathered on Monday, June 29, to participate in the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) seventh annual Community Service Day. The service projects included a school playground build at James A. Garfield Elementary School in Long Beach, Calif., and a beautification project at Charles W. Bursch Elementary School in Compton, Calif.

Principals worked together to build new school playground equipment.

We installed new elementary school playground equipment in Long Beach that will invite students ages 5 to 12 to spend time outdoors being active while also encouraging interaction among peers. The PlayBooster® playground structure delivers a variety of play components including climbers, playground slides, overhead events and sensory play panels. In addition to the playground build, a team of principals planted flowers and painted a mural to create a playful atmosphere at the Compton school playground.

Principals beautify school playgrounds in California.

Learn more about NAESP’s Annual Conference, and see how we’re working together to create more inclusive school playgrounds throughout the nation.

Fundraising ideas for your new playground

MLK Center

We know that securing funds for a community or school playground can often be a challenge. But the great news is that there is nearly always money available… you just have to know where to look for it! And we’re here to help you with that. We have fundraising programs, a playground grant guide and purchasing contracts to help bring your playground plans to fruition.

We can help you set up a highly profitable playground fundraising program. We’ve partnered with an organization to help turn walk-a-thons or other events into successful fundraisers with tools and resources. And we have scratchcards to turn your playground fundraising into a game.

ScratchCards_blog

Playground grants are another way you can get the funds you need to make your project happen. While we don’t offer grants directly, we’ve put together a Grant Guide that provides a listing of federal and state programs, as well as grants offered by corporations.

2015-Grant-Guide_blog

And finally, we have several purchasing contracts available to tax-based agencies or non-profits to expedite and simplify the buying process. Enrollment is easy and free, and it allows you to purchase our playground equipment at a great price.

Contact us to learn more about our playground fundraising programs and grant guide, and visit playlsi.com to get more details about the purchasing contracts we have available.

Why do my kids like playground spinners?

Topsy-Blog

NEW! TopsyTurny™ Spinner

Think back to your days spent on the playground. What were your favorite playground activities? For many of us here at Landscape Structures, our favorites were the Merry-Go-Round and playground swings. And today, if you spend any time at your local playground, you probably notice a number of kids that flock to these same types of components.

Saddle Spinner

Saddle Spinner

Why are some kids so fascinated with spinning activities? Because it’s one of the core movements that engages the vestibular system. When a child spins on spinners like the TopsyTurny™ or OmniSpin® spinners, their brain receives signals to help control movement and balance. Even more, our playground spinners provide fun and also present opportunities for kids to be more social and engage in cooperative play.

OmniSpin® spinner

OmniSpin® spinner

Children discover their world and how to be successful in it through sensory play. They develop their behaviors based on what they learn through their senses. And the more sensory-rich play experiences they have, the more the develop skills necessary to engage, change and impact the world around them. Learn more about sensory playgrounds at playlsi.com, and tell us below what playground activity your kids like best.

Video Case Study: Community playground builds

There’s something particularly satisfying about watching kids run, jump and climb on a playground built by a community. As you begin the playground planning process, consider making your project a community build. Not only can it help save costs, but it also brings neighbors and communities closer together. Watch the video below to see how Annandale Elementary School in Annandale, Minn., and their local Lions Club worked together to build new school playgrounds.

Learn more about community playground builds at playlsi.com, and contact your local playground consultant to request our Guide to Community Build Playgrounds.

Celebrate Kids to Parks Day on May 16

In just over a week, children and families will descend upon local, state and national parks to celebrate Kids to Parks Day. The event, being held on May 16, 2015, marks the fifth year that the National Park Trust has encouraged children and families to get outside for play, exploration and adventure.

Make the pledge to visit a local park on Kids to Parks Day, May 16.

Visit kidstoparks.org to make the pledge to plan a trip to the park on Saturday, May 16. Just by making the pledge, you’ll be entered into a drawing for a Nikon COOLPIX L830 camera. And while your there, you can browse a listing of park events by state and city to find one near you. Or find a nearby playground on playlsi.com that you can go explore.

Tom Sawyer Island at Amelia Earhart Park, Hialeah, Fla.

According to the National Park Trust, Kids to Parks Day is becoming America’s unofficial kick off to summer. So mark your calendar and plan to get out and play on May 16!