National Water Safety Month 2019

May 1st kicks off National Water Safety Month 2019! As temperatures climb in many parts of the world, participation in water play increases exponentially. Splash pads, water parks, and pools are a great option to cool down while developing key skills through play. In order to partake in these activities safely, check out these tips from the American Red Cross:

  • Swim in designated areas supervised by lifeguards
  • Always swim with a buddy
  • If you go boating, wear a life jacket
  • Install and use barriers around your home pool or hot tub
  • Actively supervise children whenever around the water
  • Always stay within arm’s reach of young children and avoid distractions
  • Keep toys not in use away from the water and out of sight
  • Reach or throw aid to distressed swimmers; don’t go

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Additional resources for water safety learning can be found through

The International Swimming Hall of Fame

Simple Steps Save Lives

The National Water Safety Month campaign is a joint effort of the American Red Cross, The Association of Pool & Spa Professionals, the National Recreation and Park Association and the World Waterpark Association.

The annual event, which has been in existence for ten years, is designed to help prevent drowning and water-related illness and injuries.

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Commit to safety in water play with the “I’m a Safe Swimmer” pledge.

Go here for more details about National Water Safety Month.

Creating a Community Splash Pad: Benefits and Pre-Planning

Planning a community splash pad can be an intimidating process. There are many aspects to consider in order to make the investment a success. In this series, we will be offering guidance on what to expect, steps to take, and elements to consider during the planning process!

There are many benefits to investing in a community splash pad. One of the long-term benefits is the revenue that residents and non-residents bring into the community along with the added appeal of living in that area. Attracting people means attracting money and patronage to the community. Patrons eat at restaurants, go to movies, buy gas, and go shopping whether they are living there or visiting. Adding to inclusive play opportunities for children is another important benefit. People who are looking for inclusive areas that are built with their children in mind can appreciate design intended for their kids’ physical and mental needs. Inclusive water play may be one of the only public areas that caters to all ages and abilities. Overall, splash pads can benefit a community both socially and economically.

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Pre-Planning Steps

Progressive cities should develop a coordinated system of parks and open space to meet the recreation aspects of urban life. This system, when properly planned, will maintain a consistent ratio between the park system and the developing population. The system will also develop a program consistent with the specific needs of the population. Finally, the system will develop a plan for future development to meet the demands of a growing population.

During the planning and development phase public officials should have an in depth knowledge of the communities needs based on resources, age demographics, future community growth, maintenance capabilities, expansion, location and funding. This should be accomplished based on past history and future expectations.

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History of the Park & Recreation Department: The first section of a plan gives the community a historical context in which to view the department and provides details as to how and why city leaders determined the need and created the department. This section is relevant to the plan because it allows the plan user and community to discover the progress which has already been made in parks and recreation in the city.

Introduction to a Master Plan: This section briefly describes that many progressive cities adopt coordinated parks system plans and explains the purposes of the plan. The section provides a preview of the contents of the overall master plan. Plus, it will define the overall park system by type and size facility. It will then project future needs both in terms of land and physical fixtures. Finally, it will provide a basis for a long-range capital improvements program, and provide for flexibility in the design and construction of individual parks.

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Analysis of the City: A section detailing information on demographics, projected population, and observed needs of the city’s existing and future population. This is an important section of the plan because it details who will be utilizing the splash pad in the future and what their recreational needs may be.

Profile of the Existing Parks and Recreation System: This section details the size, location, and facilities of each park, and all programs currently sponsored by local sports associations as well as the parks department. This section is important to the plan in that it provides information in which a sort of “state of the system” or status of the parks system may be ascertained.

These sections provide a complete overview of the scope of a recreation facility project such as a splash pad and can be referenced by all those involved for a more cohesive understanding of the details of the project.

Stay tuned for the next installment of in our series about creating a community splash pad!

Are Splash Pads the New Public Pool?

Geographical areas that experience their version of “warm weather”, whether that be a few scorching months of summer, or relatively mild temperatures nearly year round, are most likely familiar with the concept of a nearby cool-off zone. For many decades, that has meant a community pool where families and nearby residents could gather to seek relief from the sun and expend warm-weather energy.

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Public pools, however, have some inherent limitations. Members of the community most likely vary widely in age, from very young toddlers to teens and their parents, grandparents, and caregivers. As a result, the interests of these different ages are varied and require a more complex play experience. Younger children are able to be more adventurous at a splash pad than at a pool as they aren’t required to know how to swim or be a certain height in order to maintain a level of safety. Children of all abilities would have the opportunity to engage with splash pads, especially those from Aquatix® by Landscape Structures which are designed specifically to cater to different abilities. This is not always true for pools. Gentler water experiences like misting and bubbling water may entertain young guests while jets and waterfalls keep older children and teens busy and cool.

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Splash pads can also be beneficial when considering the cost and maintenance of the area compared to a pool. Adding a splash pad to a community area undoubtedly brings value to that area. They can be visually exciting and are more visible than the traditional swimming pool, attracting families to come and explore the community. They can be added to already existing facilities like parks to revitalize an area and create a destination location for repeat visitors.

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Generally, the initial investment of a splash pad is less than a swimming pool. Since they do not generate standing water, there is far less risk for drowning, negating the need for fencing, signage, and lifeguards which are both initial and ongoing costs to consider.

 

For cities where public pools are not a viable option, splash pads from Aquatix® by Landscape Structures can bring fun, value, and interest to an area that may otherwise have no water play. Children of all abilities and many ages are able to enjoy the benefits of water play while architects and designers are able to take more creative liberty in designing an area that is just as visually interesting as it is fun.

Continuous education from Landscape Structures and Aquatix

Are you beginning to plan your continuing education for 2019? We can help! We are an authorized provider of continuing education credits from the International Association for Continuous Education and Training (IACET) and the Landscape Architecture Continuing Education System™ (LA CES). That means we can help keep your parks and recreation department and landscape architects up-to-date on their requirements.

Even better, we have a team of expert speakers that are available to present on valuable playground and aquatics information during a local conference, in your office or during a customer visit to our headquarters in Minnesota. From inclusive play and spray play to designing safe splash play and fitness-focused environments to evidence-based landscape and playground design, there are sessions that will meet a wide variety of needs.

Learn more about playground-related CEUs, and check out the new aqua play sessions available from Aquatix.

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.

May is National Water Safety Month

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As the temperatures warm and children and families begin to participate in more water-related recreational activities, now is a great time to revisit safe practices in and around water. Check out the following safety tips from the American Red Cross:

  • Swim in designated areas supervised by lifeguards
  • Always swim with a buddy
  • If you go boating, wear a life jacket
  • Install and use barriers around your home pool or hot tub
  • Actively supervise children whenever around the water
  • Always stay within arm’s reach of young children and avoid distractions
  • Keep toys not in use away from the water and out of sight
  • Reach or throw aid to distressed swimmers; don’t go

The National Water Safety Month campaign is a joint effort of the American Red Cross, The Association of Pool & Spa Professionals, the National Recreation and Park Association and the World Waterpark Association. The annual event, which has been in existence for nine years, is designed to help prevent drowning and water-related illness and injuries.

Be water safe this summer–take the “I’m a Safe Swimmer” pledge with your entire family. Go here for more details about National Water Safety Month.