Meeting the needs of toddlers and preschoolers on the playground

Centre

It’s important to keep the developmental needs of toddlers and preschoolers in mind when you’re designing playgrounds for your childcare facility or school. Playgrounds for young kids not only help them build their senses, and motor and cognitive skills, but they also teach them about cooperation and social imaginative play.

Keep the following five considerations in mind when designing early childhood playgrounds:

  1. Interaction Interactive playground features allow kids to get firsthand experience of the principle of cause-and-effect.
  2. Sensory Playgrounds should provide children a wealth of different tactile experiences, which can come from play with textured surfaces and by incorporating natural materials like sand and water.
  3. Challenge Play environments with developmentally appropriate challenges and puzzle-like features can help instill critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
  4. Imagination Children should be able to use various components of the playground to express their creativity and to invent imaginative scenarios.
  5. Independence Playground structures should allow kids to feel independent through solo play, which fosters confidence and creativity without sacrificing safety.

Find more resources for your daycare of preschool playground including ways to keep your playground safe, information on fundraising and playground grants, and some of our key partnerships at playlsi.com.

May is National Water Safety Month

Veterans Memorial Community Center

As the temperatures warm and children and families begin to participate in more water-related recreational activities, now is a great time to revisit safe practices in and around water. Check out the following safety tips from the American Red Cross:

  • Swim in designated areas supervised by lifeguards
  • Always swim with a buddy
  • If you go boating, wear a life jacket
  • Install and use barriers around your home pool or hot tub
  • Actively supervise children whenever around the water
  • Always stay within arm’s reach of young children and avoid distractions
  • Keep toys not in use away from the water and out of sight
  • Reach or throw aid to distressed swimmers; don’t go

The National Water Safety Month campaign is a joint effort of the American Red Cross, The Association of Pool & Spa Professionals, the National Recreation and Park Association and the World Waterpark Association. The annual event, which has been in existence for nine years, is designed to help prevent drowning and water-related illness and injuries.

Be water safe this summer–take the “I’m a Safe Swimmer” pledge with your entire family. Go here for more details about National Water Safety Month.

Maintaining the safety of your playground

It’s National Playground Safety Week, which is a great time to focus on the maintenance of your playgrounds. Maintenance issues contribute to approximately one-third of playground injuries each year. To ensure safe play, keep your playground structures soundly inspected and fully functioning. See five easy steps to take in our infographic below.

Proactive Playground Maintenance

 

Enter the fifth annual Legacy of Play Contest today

2018 Legacy of Play Contest

Together with Kiwanis International, we have launched the fifth annual Legacy of Play Contest.

The winning Kiwanis club will receive $25,000 in playground equipment to be used toward a playground project. The contest is open to all Kiwanis clubs that are currently working on a playground project, and that can complete the project by Kiwanis One Day 2019, Kiwanis International’s signature day of service during which clubs around the world participate in service projects benefiting their local communities.

Qualified contestants may enter the contest by completing the entry form. Entries are being accepted now through May 12, 2018. Following the submission period, Facebook users will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite project. The winner of the contest will be announced on or around June 14, 2018.

Enter the contest today to be the next Kiwanis club to bring play to your community. Then read about our past winners–the Kiwanis Club of Mankato (2017), the Poplar Bluff Kiwanis Club (2016), the Ottawa Kiwanis Club (2015) and the Iola Kiwanis Club (2013).

Case Study: Shaping sky-high visions into just-right solutions

Cloud-themed playground structure in Bicentennial Park

Client: The City of Hawthorne, From Lot to Spot and the Trust for Public Land

Designers: SWA and Jonah Scholen, Landscape Structures custom playground designer

Goal: Convert an unused concrete space into a community-designed green space including playgrounds for children and recreation activities for all ages

Hillside climbers and slide in Bicentennial Park

Solution: The City of Hawthorne collaborated with SWA, their local playground consultant, RecWest Outdoor Products, and Jonah to create an aviation-themed playground design. The PlayBooster® and Netplex® playstructures encourage kids ages 5 to 12 to climb higher and higher until they reach the clouds, while 2- to 5-year-olds explore the twin-prop plane-themed playstructure.

Twin-prop airplane-themed playground in Bicentennial Park

Get more details about how the playground at Bicentennial Park encourages kids of all ages to go sky-high.

Generate discussion about the importance of play

Are you looking for resources on trends affecting the playground industry? We can help! We’ve created whitepapers to help generate discussion about the importance of play in early childhood development, outdoor play during school hours, and balancing safety and challenge, and serve as a reference during future playground projects. Get details below about each of our whitepapers, and request a download today.

Decline in children’s play time shown in new study

Shaped by Play: The Formative Role of Play and Playgrounds
Child’s play, we are learning, is not just fun and games. Children’s play behavior appears to be essential preparation for a successful adult life. We partnered with the University of Minnesota’s Institute of Child Development to understand how behavior on school and community playgrounds contributes to whole-child development. This meta-study aggregates and analyzes key findings from some of the most influential studies on children and play.

Playgrounds are a place where children can learn and grow through exploration and social interactionLearn about the importance of balancing safety and challenge for kids ages 5 to 12.

Balancing Safety & Challenge in Playground Design
Playgrounds are a place where children can learn and grow through exploration and social interaction. However, that development can’t take place without age and developmentally appropriate challenges. Parental concern along with standards that have decreased design freedom are contributors to the lack of challenging opportunities in today’s play equipment. Finding a balance between challenge and safety is important to childhood development, and society can help determine a healthy median.

Both outdoor physical activity and indoor classroom time are important for kids’ growth and development.

The Importance of Outdoor Play & Physical Activity During School Hours
Both outdoor physical activity and indoor classroom time are important for kids’ growth and development. School provides students with the education they need to have a successful career, and physical activity gives them a chance to stay healthy. Unfortunately, not all kids get their daily 60 minutes outside. School is a place where kids can supplement the lack of physical activity they get at home, and help kids become smarter, healthier and stronger.

Find more playground education resources including continuing education sessions and infographics at playlsi.com.

Big fun comes in small packages

Centre

Centre – 2 to 5 years

Smart Play® playstructures pack a lot of activities into compact structures, taking kids from early crawling exploration on up to active climbing and social play to a challenging course for older children. This line helps span several critical periods of childhood development, making it ideal for childcare, early learning centers, neighborhood playgrounds and schools.

Motion02-Blog

Motion – 2 to 5 years

Each Smart Play playstructure makes the most efficient use of materials to create a large number of activities. For example, cut-outs from panels are used to create activity components found elsewhere on the playstructure. And the compact size of these structures requires less space and surfacing materials than typical playgrounds resulting in a lower total investment. That means Smart Play playstructures are ideal for tight spaces and tight budgets, too.

 

Smart Play structures are preconfigured and designed with your choice of color. All at a smart price. Lots of Smart Play options are available for kids ages 6 months to 12 years:

Nook

Nook – 6 to 23 months

  • Nook – 6 to 23 months
    Sized right for little crawlers and early walkers, this whimsical playstructures 20 colorful activities to capture young ones’ attentions.
  • Loft – 2 to 5 years
    As young children grow, they become ready for Loft. With language prompts and learning activities connected to early childhood curriculum goals, you’ll find plenty of interactive elements.
  • Fire Station – 2 to 5 years
    Kids will enjoy lots of activities that teach them about fire safety and helping others in this imagination encouraging playstructure.
  • Market Cafe – 2 to 5 years
    This farmer’s market and cafe lets little ones take turns placing meal orders, dining with friends and learning about healthy food choices.
  • Centre – 2 to 5 years
    Connect all three playstructures–Loft, Fire Station and Market Cafe–with elevated crawl tunnels to create Centre, and enhance the fun.
  • Motion – 2 to 5 years
    This accessible playstructure packs 16 activities into its compact size, and encourages kids to engage in social and imaginative play.
  • Cube – 2 to 5 years
    A curated collection of interactive play events help build cognitive and motor skills for toddlers and preschoolers while they play.
  • Venti® – 5 to 12 years
    Nets, slides, belts and climbers provide challenges that promote physical development and strategic thinking while also creating hangouts.
Venti®

Venti® – 5 to 12 years

See Centre in action below, and visit playlsi.com for more details.