Bring play to your community with the 2022 Legacy of Play Contest

The 2022 Legacy of Play Contest in partnership with Kiwanis International is open for applications! This is the ninth year we’ve partnered with Kiwanis to offer this contest, which awards one Kiwanis club US$25,000 in commercial playground equipment to be used toward a Landscape Structures playground project.

The Legacy of Play Contest helps Kiwanis clubs achieve their goal of bringing play to all children. See the timeline below, and review questions, read the official contest rules and submit your entry at kiwanis.org:

Entry Period. Connect with your local Kiwanis club and have them submit an entry now until Sept. 10.

Voting Period. All eligible entries will be open to public vote beginning Sept. 18. Encourage your community to vote!

Selection Period. The top 10 finalists from the public vote will be reviewed by a jury of past winners, members and more.

Winner Announcement. We, along with Kiwanis International, will announce the winner of this year’s contest on or around Oct. 13.

We’re happy to offer all 2022 Legacy of Play Contest entrants a complimentary ReviWheel™ Spinner, ReviWhirl™ Spinner OR ReviRock™ Bouncer, all of which were designed with inclusion in mind, if they continue on with their playground plans with Landscape Structures. Stay tuned for more details post-entry period.

Partner with the Kiwanis club in your community to apply for the 2022 Legacy of Play Contest and make your playground project a reality! Use the Club Finder to connect with local Kiwanis members, or contact your local Landscape Structures playground consultant to help introduce you.

Delivering adventure with playground towers

PlayOdyssey® Tower and Alpha® Tower

Playgrounds and outdoor play do so much more than expend a child’s excess energy. Playing on a playground teaches children self-regulation, how to handle stressful situations, and increase self-confidence and self-esteem. Including exciting and interesting playground elements that test and challenge children of all ages and abilities increases these benefits.

We are aware of the importance of designing challenge into our playground products as well as overall playground environments. Our team of playground designers, conceptors, sculptors and artists work with clients to create playgrounds that offer exciting and challenging play activities to not only entice children to participate and be active but help them to fully develop a wide array of skills.

The best way to create adventure-filled play experiences for kids of all ages and abilities is to look for playground designs that encourage the progression of the play experience. Playground towers like the Alpha® Tower and Alpha Link® Towers, Super Netplex®, PlayOdyssey® Tower or custom options like the Hedra® Towers all offer a variety of ground-level play components, plus deliver multiple climbing opportunities that take kids as high as they’d like as well as slide options along the way. Each of these playground towers help kids gain confidence through repeated and slow exposure to new challenges.

Additionally, the Super Netplex provides an inclusive play experience with an easy way to transfer and an accessible route to the top of the highest tower via its center spiral belting. Kids of all abilities can enjoy the view, hang out with friends and take whooshy rides down one of the playground slides.

Hedra® Towers

The research shows that if children are not provided with challenging play opportunities they may be more prone to problems such as mental health concerns, a lack of independence, and a decrease in learning, perception and judgement skills. Learn more about how to create adventure-filled playground designs using our various playground towers at playlsi.com. And learn more about balancing safety and challenge in playground design by requesting our whitepaper.

Welcoming and supporting all with Universal Design

Our design philosophy at Landscape Structures is heavily influenced by the tenets of Universal Design, a theory of design that strives to make environments more usable, safer and healthier for all. This philosophy has been part of our commitment to inclusion since co-founder, Steve King, was appointed to the Federal Access Board’s Recreation Access Advisory Committee in 1993.

Universal Design sets us up for equity, which is a step above equality. ​Equality is giving everyone the same treatment whereas equity is what we use to provide success and opportunity to all. ​So Universal Design goes beyond providing everyone the access to an even playing field… it delivers a chance to thrive in it.

Universal design simply means that it’s for everyone. Young, old, all levels of ability status, parents with a stroller, individuals that refuse to make two trips carrying the groceries inside… everyone. In theory, it should just be called design.

Our team of designers, engineers and inclusive play experts follow the Seven Principles of Universal Design:

  • Equitable Use. The design is useful to people with diverse abilities.

This is about as many people as possible being able to use a product in a really similar way. This is stuff like poured-in-place surfacing or turf with seamless transitions. People using mobility devices could roll on it as smoothly as non-users could walk on it. The We-Go-Round®, We-Go-Swing® and Sway Fun® glider are examples of playground components that fit this category.

  •  Flexibility in Use. The design accommodates a wide range of individual preferences and abilities giving users a choice in how they engage each activity.

Flexibility in use offers choice to users, and a great example of this is the We-Go-Round. Individuals in wheelchairs can roll on and stay in their chairs or choose to transfer to the seat—they have and choice and can participate in whatever way they feel most comfortable. Other examples include the elevated sand table at different heights and multiple types of playground swings with unitary surfacing paths. It also includes having seating, sinks, hand dryers, adult-sized changing tables, etc. throughout the park and playground available for a variety of body heights and types to give people the option to find their flexible fit.

  • Simple and Intuitive Use. Use of the design is easy to understand regardless of the user’s experience, knowledge, language skills or current concentration level.

If an individual sees a drum, they know what to do with it. If they see the OmniSpin® Spinner, they know where to push it to make it go and where to sit to ride. It doesn’t cause stress or complications trying to figure it out. Obviously, there is a desire to provide challenge to kids on a play space with events that aren’t immediately intuitive, but in this case if the intent of the component is to spin, we want everyone to be able to figure that out quickly.

  • Perceptible Information. The design communicates necessary information effectively to the user regardless of ambient conditions or the user’s sensory abilities.

Symbol communication signs are a great tool to help all users communicate effectively while visiting parks and playgrounds. If there’s information people need to know or be able to communicate, it falls under this category. Think of a splash pad sign with all the rules—lots of words used to communicate “no eating” could easily be understood with a little circle crossing out food. It’s a more universal method of communication that more people can understand. Additionally, using color contrast and textures provide cues on changes in elevation, alert individuals to busier areas and much more.

  • Tolerance for Error. The design minimizes hazards and the adverse consequences of accidental or unintended actions.

With this design principal, planners discuss adding a fence to a play space to help keep kids that may wander or run away stay safe and contained. Another example of this is incorporating barriers on a commercial playground structure, which is meant to reduce the chances of a child accidentally backing up and falling off it. Additionally, when there is mixed safety surfacing such as engineered wood fiber (EWF) with rubber, the EWF must stay maintained so that there aren’t any major drop-offs to create hazards. If there have a sand table or something a wheelchair is supposed to roll underneath, the surfacing should extend underneath the front wheels to avoid having those users tip forward.

  • Low Physical Effort. The design can be used efficiently and comfortably.

Anything that keeps user more comfortable for longer, is considered low physical effort. Commercial shade structures, and gradual, low grade are two big topics to consider. Additionally, consider swing seat choices as well as those for the ZipKrooz®. Think of the kid who fatigues a bit quicker, with the Molded Bucket Seat they can still get that zooming sensation, but in a reclined position that’s less demanding on them.

  • Size and Space for Approach and Use. Appropriate size and space are provided for approach, reach, manipulation and use regardless of user’s body size, posture or mobility.

This principal gives people the chance to move around comfortably. If a standard sidewalk is 36-inches wide and a wheelchair is 26 of those inches, there’s no size or space for anyone to move through the space alongside the wheelchair user. Going extra wide with paths allow not only users with mobility devices a more comfortable experience but so too someone with a service dog or cane, or someone deaf or hard of hearing. The same theory goes for double-wide ramps and activity panels on the playground. Is there room for someone to push up to and play with it? Or if a wheelchair user is engaging with something, is there enough room for others to get around the chair?

Through Universal Design, we increase access, safety, comfort and social participation within all our play environments. This process creates a strong foundation for inclusive playground design that ultimately results in a place where all can play, learn and grow together. Learn more about our commitment to inclusive play at playlsi.com, or by contacting your local playground consultant.

A cost-effective, simple approach to building community splash pads

If you’re looking for ready-to-install splash pad designs, look no further than AquaSmart™ Packages. These self-contained splash pads are powered by HydroLogix®, which eliminates the need for costly electrical installation and allows you to install one just about anywhere.

AquaSmart packages are sized right for smaller pocket parks, childcare facilities and compact urban areas. Add one adjacent to a playground or even alongside a larger splash pad. Kids will love being in control of the action; just a push of the button and the entire splash pad comes to life. The low-flow, low-water option offered by HydroLogix greatly reduces water consumption while still providing plenty of opportunities for splashtastic play.

See all of the AquaSmart Packages—Package A through Package H.

HydroLogix Activation Bollard

Best of all, the HydroLogix system is now available as an alternate mechanical system. This means the HydroLogix system can be included in a variety of splash pad designs for a cost-effective and simple approach to installing a community splash pad. Learn more about the patented HydroLogix system, and contact your local Aquatix consultant today.

Encouraging play and communication on the playground

Playground design has been evolving to become more inclusive and inviting for children and their caregivers of all abilities. Play is not only fun, but it’s also an essential part of a child’s development and critical for the successful growth of both the brain and the body.

That’s why we’ve drawn on the expertise of child development professionals to help us explore new avenues that allow for all children to fully participate in play together. Our work doesn’t just focus on playstructures and activities that are accessible to children with physical disabilities, but also those who may have sight or hearing impairment, intellectual disabilities and developmental disabilities.

Symbol Communication Sign

For individuals who are non-verbal, speech-challenged or early-learners—or perhaps are non-English speaking—their inability to share ideas, feelings and needs can be frustrating and may keep them from socializing with others at the playground. That’s why we’ve introduced the new Symbol Communication Sign to be placed at the entrance to play areas, which will ensure every child, family member and caregiver is allowed to further their expression, interaction and communication.

With guidance from experts in Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) and Inclusive Design, we developed the Symbol Communication Sign to include pictures representing nouns/pronouns, verbs, feelings, activities, and playground events as well as letters and numbers. The graphics are universally understandable and easy to use, arranged left-to-right as one would build a sentence and use industry-standard colors representing different types of words. The DigiFuse® graphics are printed on both sides of the Symbol Communication Sign.

We’re committed to providing play experiences for children of all abilities. Our inclusive play design philosophy, which addresses the accessibility, age and developmental appropriateness, and sensory-stimulating activity, and other inclusive play product innovations like the We-Go-Swing®, We-Go-Round®, We-saw™, OmniSpin® spinner and Sway Fun® glider, we’re helping bring children with and without special needs together to play, learn and grow on the playground. Learn more at playlsi.com.

Legacy of Play H2O Contest allows Minnesota Kiwanis Club to create safe aqua play solution

We’re excited to announce that the Chisholm Kiwanis Club of Chisholm, Minn., is the winner of the Legacy of Play H2O Contest and will receive an AquaSmart™ Package valued at US$50,000.

Chisholm is a mining town on the Mesabi Range in Northern Minnesota with a population of less than 5,000. While the town is built around the 158-acre Longyear Lake, it is not fit for swimming and several nearby open pit mines are not monitored or safe for swimming. That’s why the Chisholm Kiwanis Club was focused on bringing an option for safe water play to the community.

The club will install the splash pad equipment in Memorial Park, a space that already offers football and softball fields, sand volleyball, bocce ball and pickleball courts, as well as the summer recreation program. The addition of the splash pad will encourage even more community members as well as surrounding communities to visit and enjoy the beautiful town of Chisholm.

“Our club celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2020, and this project has been something we’ve been talking about ever since,” explained Shannon Kishel-Roche, Chisholm Kiwanis Club’s president. “A splash pad was a great solution to our lack of community swimming options, and it’s a great opportunity to commemorate our club’s centennial.”

While this is the first year that Aquatix®, Landscape Structures and Kiwanis International have sponsored the Legacy of Play H2O contest, we have partnered with Kiwanis to sponsor the Legacy of Play Contest focused on playgrounds for eight years. Stay tuned for more information about the 2022 annual Legacy of Play Contest coming later this year and find more information here.

Introducing endless thrills with Revi™ Products

We’re excited to introduce the Revi™ products, which includes the ReviRock™ Bouncer, ReviWheel™ Spinner and ReviWhirl™ Spinner. Each of these products, explained below, were created using a single sculptural form to deliver three different and thrilling play experiences.

The ReviRock Bouncer for ages 2 to 12 position on a large center spring bounces and rocks in all directions.

Designed for ages 5 to 12, the center wheel of the ReviWheel Spinner allows kids to spin themselves around and around.

Deliver an adventure in physics for kids ages 5 to 12 with the the ReviWhirl Spinner by offering spinning through perpetual motion or a push from the outside.

The Revi products were designed with inclusion in mind. All three products are designed at transfer height, offer multiple ways to hang on, and provide plenty of room for kids of all abilities to lay down, sit, kneel or stand as they experiment with the motion. Even more, the ReviWheel and ReviWhirl spinners include a proprietary dynamic speed control to keep spinning at a fun yet controllable speed.

Adding freestanding play components is a great way to expand existing play spaces and freshen up the play experience. Placing one or all the Revi products together with other freestanding spinners, the ZipKrooz® or a selection of playground swings creates a play zone filled with thrilling experiences great for kids of all ages and abilities.

See the new Revi products in action and learn more about each one at playlsi.com/revi-play/.

Congratulations to Penchura, our 2021 Rep of the Year

Palmer Park, Port Huron, Mich.

We’re excited to announce that Penchura, our playground consultant covering Michigan and Ohio, was chosen as Landscape Structures’ 2021 Rep Organization of the Year. The award was presented to the Penchura team during our annual sales meeting earlier this year.

“Penchura was named 2021 Rep Organization of the Year because of their culture, team spirit and the best-in-class service to everyone with which they work,” said Pat Faust, president of Landscape Structures. “Penchura has been a great partner of Landscape Structures as well as the playground design industry as a whole, and we are proud to have their team bringing our playground, SkyWays® shade and Aquatix® splash pad solutions to Michigan and Ohio.”

Penchura is committed to providing great recreation spaces to communities throughout Michigan and Ohio using only the highest quality products and service. With a team made up of professional engineers, licensed landscape architects, LEED accredited professionals, designers and support staff, they’re poised to assist clients every step of the way. Penchura, one of more than 50 independent sales organizations representing Landscape Structures worldwide, has been a distributor of Landscape Structures park and playground equipment for more than 15 years.

Meet the team by watching the video below, and learn more at penchura.com.

Scale the Smart Play® Summit™

Smart Play® Summit™

Summit™ is the newest addition to the Smart Play® family of adventure-inspiring designs. Kids ages 5 to 12 will search for hidden animal tracks and camping gear as they trek across the laser-cut climbing decks and three-dimensional nets. Plus, the cool color gradation matches kids’ ascents. Bring the mountains to your play area with this condensed-footprint, giant-play-value playstructure that welcomes crowds of all abilities for fun, imaginative play.

Our Smart Play playstructures offer social play and challenging adventures for kids ages 5 to 12. See below for even more innovative themes and concepts available:

  • Billows® – From the Alpine® Slide to the twists of the Flex Climber and Mobius® Climber, kids will find a plethora of ways to bounce, climb and slide.
  • BeachComber® – Kids will love creating seaworthy adventures as they sail across the Tidal Wave Climber and wind their way down curvy slides.
  • Tree Tops® – With wiggly bridges, an O-Zone® 3-ring climber and two different slides, kids will love navigating through this abstract playstructure.

Don’t forget about the toddlers and preschoolers of your community. Our pre-designed Smart Play structures are developmentally appropriate for each age group. See the coordinating options for kids ages 2 to 5 below, and browse all the designs at playlsi.com/smart-play:

  • Breeze™ – Kids can crawl, walk and climb their way up to the whimsical hot-air balloon ride among the clouds.
  • Motion – Kids ages 2 to 5 will find 16 activities including a race track, inclined tunnel and more to keep them entertained.
  • Sprig™ – This playstructure delivers a foliage-themed Marble Panel® and leaf slider all beneath a canopy of SkyWays® shade.
Smart Play Digital Catalog

Learn all about our Smart Play family of playstructures in the Smart Play digital catalog. In addition to detailed information and designer-curated color combinations, this digital publication shows these compact playstructures in action. Experience it all in the 2022 Smart Play Digital Catalog, then contact us to get started on your next playground design.

Prepare for the dizzying opportunities of new products

We’re excited to share all our new product innovations for 2022 with you. They lead the way in encouraging kids to play outdoors, engaging their imaginations and bringing children of all abilities together to play. Check them out below, and comment to tell us your favorite.

Smart Play® Summit™

Summit™ is the newest addition to the Smart Play® family of adventure-inspiring designs. Kids ages 5 to 12 will search for hidden animal tracks and camping gear as they trek across the laser-cut climbing decks and three-dimensional nets. Plus, the cool color gradation matches kids’ ascents. Bring the mountains to your play area with this condensed-footprint, giant-play-value playstructure that welcomes crowds of all abilities for fun, imaginative play.

Our Revi™ products are an adventure in physics offering spinning, bouncing and rocking through perpetual or self-propelled motion. The ReviWheel™ Spinner, ReviWhirl™ Spinner and ReviRock™ Bouncer (pictured above) were all designed with inclusion in mind and can be used by one or many kids for endless thrills.

Symbol Communication Sign

Pictures and symbols are an effective way for non-verbal, speech-challenged, and early-learning individuals to communicate with friends and caregivers. Placing a Symbol Communication Sign at the entrance to a play area ensures that everyone can express themselves.

From subtle statements to bold impacts, we have new colors to suit your space! With the addition of four new Permalene® colors and two polyethylene colors, all inspired by nature, we’re continuing to change the world of playground design.

Learn more about all our product innovations for 2022 at playlsi.com or by contacting your local Landscape Structures playground consultant.