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.

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.

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

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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.

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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:

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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.