Contribute to children’s development with well-designed playgrounds

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Child development experts tell us that what looks like mere child’s play is preparation for a successful adult life–as vital as learning to walk and talk. But few studies have examined patterns of play on specific playground equipment to assess how these play spaces might shape children’s development. To find out, we commissioned an observational study in partnership with the University of Minnesota Institute of Child Development.

Children demonstrated key developmental skills in a variety of ways, with behaviors often linked to specific types of equipment. For example, children’s gross motor play—seen on swings, slides, overhead events and climbers—may contribute to physical development. Imaginative play has been linked to language development, social competence and self-regulation. Even waiting in line requires children to take turns and consider others’ needs. To request a complete copy of the research whitepaper, go to playlsi.com/whitepapers.

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Our observations showed that well-designed play spaces contribute to the development of children. By helping them learn and practice key life skills, great playgrounds help children grow into healthy, well-adjusted adults. Watch our video below that brings the WHY of what we do to life.

Supporting state parks and recreation associations with scholarships

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We are excited to announce the 10th Annual State Speaker Scholarship Program has launched! The 2018-2019 program will support the appearances of keynote speakers at state parks and recreation associations’ annual or regional conferences. State associations that are chosen will receive a scholarship of $2,500.

Since the scholarship program’s inception in 2009, Landscape Structures has awarded more than 200 scholarships to state associations and more than $530,000 to support the appearances of speakers at park and recreation conferences throughout the nation. To complete an application for Landscape Structures’ 2018-2019 State Association Speaker Scholarship, visit playlsi.com/speaker-scholarship/.

Release your inner ninja

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Introduce the rewards of an exciting fitness challenge to your community park, school or neighborhood gathering area. Our FitCore™ Extreme is an innovative obstacle course that invites friendly competition and personal development as participants race to complete each mission. Create a course for teens and adults, or one sized just right for kids ages 5 to 12.

Design your own challenge course by grouping your favorite challenges or consider one of our predesigned courses:

  • 5 to 12 Deliver the right amount of challenge to build physical and mental agility.
  • 13+ Keep users engaged and coming back to improve their skills.

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Fitness warriors of all levels will test their upper- and lower-body strength, coordination as well as their problem-solving skills. View the FitCore Extreme animation below, and visit playlsi.com to learn more.

 

Principals celebrate 10 years of playground builds during NAESP

On Sunday, more than 100 of the nation’s elementary school principals came together to build a playground at Catalina Elementary School in Orlando, Fla. The playground build is part of the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) Community Service Day, which celebrated its 10th anniversary this year.

The playground was designed for students ages 5 to 12, and features playground slides, climbers, and activity panels in addition to overhead events and bridges. The playground is ADA compliant and was designed to welcome children of all abilities. In addition to building the playground, principal volunteers will do landscaping, painting, and other beautification projects at the school.

As you can see from the tweets, principals had a blast during the 10th anniversary build. Other build locations throughout the years include Tampa, Seattle, Long Beach and Compton, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Prince George’s County, Md. Learn more about the NAESP Annual Conference and save the date: July 10-12, 20198 in Spokane, Wash.

Splash play is more than just a fun way to cool off

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Summer is here! And with the warm weather, visits to lakes, pools, splash pads and spray grounds become a necessity for kids (and adults) of all ages. While staying cool is definitely in the top five reasons to seek out water play, there are numerous developmental benefits for kids of all ages.

1. Kids develop their motor skills. Pouring, squirting, stirring and squeezing develops kids’ fine motor skills hand-eye coordination. They also strengthen gross motor skills by running, dodging water drops and hopping through ground sprays or lawn sprinklers.

2. Water encourages kids to test new solutions to problems in a safe environment. Observing the filling of dumping buckets teaches kids about cause and effect. Even more, splash play inspires imaginative play, which plays an important role in problem solving.

3. Splish, splash, sieve, dump, spray… While they play, kids are developing their language skills. Conversations between a caregiver and a child as well as peers will help them to learn new words and practice the language they’ve recently developed.

4. Aqua play encourages role play and crucial social skills like cooperation and sharing. Kids learn to take turns going down the slides of the HydraHub1, work together to make the HydroHelix spin and share the space under the FlashFlood and VersoSplash®.

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5. You may not realize it, but water playgrounds are a great opportunity for kids to learn basic math and science skills. Interacting with the AquaGather Station introduces kids to physics and mathematics. Even more, spray play can be a chance to practice counting i.e. “How many dumping buckets are splashing you?” or “How many Splash Pack Animals do you see?”

As a parent or caregiver, you can help facilitate these developmental benefits by encouraging kids to stay active, try new things, use their imaginations, describe what they’re doing, ask questions, and count out what they’re seeing as they splish, splash and play.

To learn more about how to design a water playground that ensures a fun and educational experience for the entire family, go here. Then contact Aquatix by Landscape Structures to get started on a splash pad or spray park design today.

Giving children of all abilities a safe environment to play

We’re excited to announce that the Kiwanis Club of Marietta, Ohio, is the winner in the 5th Annual Legacy of Play contest. The club, which will receive $25,000 in playground equipment, plans to renovate the community’s nearly 30-year-old playstructure to make it inclusive for the entire community, giving children of all abilities a safe environment to gather outside to socialize, grow and play.

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“This award is going to be such a boost,” said Marcia Stewart, who managed the Kiwanis Club of Marietta’s entry into the contest. “We’re so grateful to be able to spearhead this inclusive playground project.”

Marietta is a historic, charming riverboat town nestled in the rolling hills of the Mid-Ohio Valley. The city served as the starting point for westward expansion by early pioneers, and the design of the all-inclusive Northwest Territory Community Playground will pay tribute to the area’s first settlement. From themed and inclusive playground equipment, embedded historical facts and an artifact seek-and-find activity, adults and children in the community will have the opportunity to learn about the area.

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We’re excited to see this inclusive playground vision come to life over the next year. The Marietta Kiwanis Club hopes to complete the Northwest Territory Community Playground on or around Kiwanis One Day in October 2019. Stay tuned for updates along the way.

Delivering natural play at the EPCOT® International Flower & Garden Festival

2018 EPCOT® International Flower & Garden Festival

We are excited to have our playground equipment featured at the 25th Annual EPCOT® International Flower & Garden Festival. The upcoming holiday weekend is the final one of the Festival. So if you’re near or planning a visit to Lake Buena Vista, Fla., be sure to go play at EPCOT.

New to the Festival this year is the Imagination Garden, which integrates play into the natural environment. Nestled among the flowers, trees and other landscaping elements is a maze of play. Kids of all ages can navigate the playground tunnels to discover fossil digs and Rhapsody® Outdoor Musical Instruments. Upon finding their way out of the maze, kids ages 2 to 5 find more playground fun with the hillscape climber, pod steppers and leaf panels while kids ages 5 to 12 can traverse their way up and around the Lunar Burst® Net Climber. The play space design truly plays off the aesthetics of the surrounding landscape design.

Get more information about the Landscape Structures playground equipment featured at the EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival. Then see how you can design nature-inspired playgrounds for your community or school playground at playlsi.com.