Taking #shapedbyplay on the road

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: We are all shaped by play. We feel so strongly about this message that we took it on the road to the 2017 NRPA Annual Conference in New Orleans and ASLA Annual Meeting in Los Angeles.

Our booth spaces at both shows perfectly illustrated how we are all shaped by play. From showcasing those three words front and center to the photos of kids on our playground equipment, shade structures and aqua play products, the tree featuring artwork from local school kids and fun swag, we encouraged all visitors to consider how they were shaped by play.

Continue to share how you’re shaped by play and how you’re helping to build the leaders of tomorrow through play using #shapedbyplay. For a little inspiration, check out our video below.

Elevate the excitement

On our many trips to the playground, we observed kids shouting “Higher! Higher!” And well, we’ve delivered.

Kids can now climb up, up, up our five new modern and curvy climbers to reach the top of the playstructure. More than delivering thrilling challenge to 5- to 12-year-olds, the 8-foot climbers encourage kids to invent new ways to go across, through, under and over.

Even better, we have an equally thrilling way for kids to get back down to the ground! Three elevated slides continue the breathtaking excitement.

See all of the new climbers and slides here, and get started on a playground design that encourages kids to reach new heights.

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.

NDRPA

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.

Decline in children’s play time shown in new study

Do you think your kids get enough opportunity for play?

According to our recent poll, more than half of parents think that children today have fewer opportunities for play than children 20 years ago. And while nearly two-thirds of parents think the ideal amount of daily play time is between one and two hours, they reported that their children get one hour or less of unstructured play time each day.

Unstructured play time

Our survey, which took place in June 2017 and was conducted by ORC International, polled parents of children 12 years and under to understand their attitudes on the value of unstructured play. Topics ranged from important life skills gained on the playground to opportunities for free play.

Children's play opportunities

We recently commissioned a meta study in partnership with the University of Minnesota’s Institute of Child Development, which confirmed our culture’s growing infringement on children’s play opportunities. According to the study, a long list of daily distractions competes for children’s free time: hectic family lifestyles, organized activities, T.V. and electronic devices, and academically packed school schedules.

Learn more about our research and request a download of the full whitepaper at shapedbyplay.com.

Promoting language-rich interaction on the playground

Too Small to Fail_structure

There is a general notion that there is a gap between the number of words that lower-income children hear compared with their higher income peers, and that this gap leads to a gap in early vocabulary and kindergarten readiness. But even more importantly, research shows us that the more parents meaningfully engage with their young children, the more their child’s brain will grow and develop. And that is an amazing opportunity.

Too Small to Fail_Food

That’s where Too Small to Fail, a joint initiative of the Clinton Foundation and The Opportunity Institute, comes in. Their goal is to make early brain and language development a part of communities. And to do this, they’ve created the “Talking is Teaching: Talk, Read, Sing” campaign, which brings visually engaging and colorful signs to supermarkets, laundromats, bus stops and playgrounds to encourage talking, reading and singing between parents and young children. The signage is intended to provide families with reminders about the importance of engaging with their young children, as well as provide specific ideas for things to talk about.

Too Small to Fail_Feelings

We’re proud to partner with Too Small to Fail on the “Talking is Teaching” campaign. By incorporating these interactive play panels, we’re meeting parents where they already are with their children and helping them boost their children’s early brain and language development through play. The panels are strategically positioned throughout the playground design so that children and their caregivers can sit near each other, and use the language prompts to interact with each other. Even better, there is a seamless theme of play and education in these language-rich playground designs, so parents and caregivers are helping their children get ready for kindergarten and set them up for success in school.

Too Small to Fail_Night Sky

To date, Too Small to Fail has partnered with Landscape Structures to open 20 “Talking is Teaching: Talk, Read, Sing” themed playgrounds across the country. Learn more about our partnership with Too Small to Fail by contacting your local playground consultant.

A fresh look for your playground

HDG Venti®

Add a cool aesthetic to your playground equipment with the new HDG Series! What is HDG? Hot Dip Galvanized is a process in which steel is completely dipped into a bath of molten zinc to form intermetallic layers making it highly resistant to corrosion. Even more, the HDG process creates a unique look for playground designs in any environment—urban, sculptural, modern, industrial and more.

HDG Global Motion®

And if you happen to live in a coastal area, this durable finish provides an extra layer of protection against the harsh elements. That’s why the City of Corpus Christi in Texas chose to incorporate the HDG Series in one of their seaside parks. Featured at McCaughan Park is all three products of the HDG Series—Venti®, Global Motion® and the Oodle® Swing. Kids ages 5 to 12 explore the modern-looking playground design while being challenged physically and mentally with the nets, slides, belts and climbers of Venti. Freestanding play components like the Oodle Swing and Global Motion encourage cooperative play, and challenge kids’ strategic-thinking and motor-planning skills.

HDG Oodle® Swing

Learn more about the new HDG Series, and see photos of the newly opened McCaughan Park at playlsi.com.

Exploring nature on the playground

NI_YentileFarm_blog

We know that improved concentration and school achievement, reduced stress levels and a foundation of environmental stewardship are just a few of the benefits that kids receive from playing outdoors. That’s why we’re committed to designing nature-inspired commercial playground equipment that gets kids outside for play and reconnecting with the natural world around them.

NI_Riverstone-blog

If you’re designing a playground or outdoor learning environment, you have an opportunity to create a space that encourages kids (and their families) to be outside and reconnect with nature. Use the following tips to plan for your nature-inspired playground:

  • Use vegetation as shade rather than cutting down trees or shrubs
  • Take into account topography and natural features and incorporate them into the play experience
  • Choose natural looking playground equipment that meets safety standards, fits the needs of your users and easily blends into your community
  • Create educational signage to teach visitors about the native plants and animals

NI_Niwot_blog

We think the great outdoors is the best place for kids to play. They can run around freely, make up their own games, explore nature and so much more. It’s fun for kids of all ages and the benefits to kids’ bodies, minds and spirits are numerous! Learn more about nature-themed playgrounds.