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.

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.

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.

Meeting the needs of toddlers and preschoolers on the playground

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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.

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).