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.

Bringing literacy to the playground

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We’re excited to expand the Smart Play® line of playstructures with designs especially for toddlers and preschoolers. Introduced in 2017, Loft delivers interactive elements to engage developing minds and bodies. And now, the Loft family has grown to include the Fire Station and Market Cafe to further encourage social and imaginative play for 2- to 5-year-olds.

With the Fire Station, kids can take control at the wheel, pet Sparky the friendly fire dog or slide down to their next adventure. There’s plenty more to keep them busy including an object find game, a bell and a gear shift, and a fun mirror that shows them how they’d look in uniform.

 

The Market Cafe lets little ones take turns placing meal orders, dining with friends and talking about healthy food choices. Among lots of activities, kids can make pictures in the image panel, bing-bong the apple bell and chat about food colors and tastes.

Double the fun by connecting any two of these Smart Play playstructures–Loft, Fire Station or Market Cafe–with an elevated crawl tunnel to enhance the imaginative fun and physical activity levels. Or connect all three to create the Centre for kids to explore and stay active.

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Best of all, with guidance from the National Head Start Association and Too Small to Fail, developmentally appropriate activities including literacy prompts were incorporated throughout the designs to engage children and adults in language-rich conversations.

See Centre in action below, and go to playlsi.com for more details about the Smart Play line.

NDRPA and its members are shaping lives through play

We were proud to offer the North Dakota Recreation & Park Association (NDRPA) a Speaker Scholarship for the 2017 State Conference to support its members’ professional development. Today, we’re happy to have Kelly Churchill, marketing specialist at the Mandan Park District, as our guest blogger discussing how NDRPA and it’s members are helping build the leaders of tomorrow.

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NDRPA members are shaping the lives of kids through play by providing recreational opportunities for all ages and abilities to promote a healthy lifestyle. Park districts across the state offer something for everyone in the community whether it is youth or adult programs, parks and shelters, facilities, aquatics or events! We continue to shape lives by improving the quality of life for all citizens of North Dakota.

Mandan Universal Playground

Mandan’s Universal Playground is a destination place for its community members as well as those in surrounding communities. The inclusive playground, which was designed considering physical, sensory, social, communication and cognitive abilities, fosters the community and welcomes both children and their families for play. Landscape Structures helps provide these inclusive opportunities throughout the state of North Dakota, and we are pleased to collaborate with them to shape the lives of North Dakota residents through play.

Spreading global awareness about Sensory Processing Disorder

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October is Sensory Awareness Month, and we’re already focusing on next month because we want to help spread global awareness about this disorder.

On Oct. 6-7, our partners at the STAR Institute for Sensory Processing Disorder will host their 20th Annual International 3S Symposium in Denver, Colo. The Symposium will highlight 20 years of research accomplishments with though-provoking research and strategy presentations by clinical experts.

The Symposium is great for any individuals–occupational or physical therapists, special education teachers, early intervention specialists, parents and more–seeking a better understanding of Sensory Processing Disorder. And in addition to the two-day Symposium, the STAR Institute is hosting a pre-symposium workshop for parents focused on relationships and SPD across the lifespan.

Learn more and register for the 3S Symposium and pre-symposium workshop here. And watch our short video below to learn more about the history of the STAR Institute.

Mankato Downtown Kiwanis to create inclusive playground with Legacy of Play award

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A fourth grader who uses a wheelchair will soon get to play on the playground with her friends. Her story helped convinced a panel of judges to award the Mankato Downtown Kiwanis Club $25,000 worth of inclusive playground equipment in the Legacy of Play Contest, sponsored by Landscape Structures Inc. and Kiwanis International. The award will be used to develop the Fallenstein Playground, an all-inclusive playground where children and families of all abilities can develop, discover, laugh and experience the joy of play.

Mankato, 75 miles southwest of Minneapolis, is renowned for its great parks and trails, and offers breathtaking landscapes of rivers, lakes, ravines, bluffs, natural prairies and forested areas. With a population of nearly 41,000, Mankato offers small town living in a thriving regional center. The all-inclusive Fallenstein Playground will be located adjacent to Fallenstein Field, the fully accessible baseball field used by the Miracle League of North Mankato, in Caswell Park.

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The Mankato Downtown Kiwanis Club will complete its inclusive playground project on or around Kiwanis One Day in October 2018. Learn more about the project.