Everyone seems to be talking about the importance of community wellness lately. The good news is that your park can do something to help improve it. Offering outdoor fitness equipment is a great way to increase park usage while also increasing the health of your community. Keep in mind these four considerations when purchasing outdoor fitness equipment:
Create an inclusive environment. Welcome teens and adults of all abilities to workout together with fitness equipment that is accessible and easily understood by first-time users.
Meet the needs of all fitness levels. Look for outdoor fitness equipment that will meet users at their level—whether that’s beginner or advanced.
Offer a variety of workouts. Provide equipment that targets various fitness areas such as muscle strength, cardiovascular health and balance/flexibility.
Design to fit your environment. Consider where your outdoor fitness equipment will get the most use—along a walking trail, next to the playground or ball field, or at a senior living community—and make sure the equipment’s size and aesthetic will fit the environment.
Check out the refreshed, contemporary design of the HealthBeat® outdoor fitness system, which fits the above criteria. Our resistance technology delivers a better workout, and signage includes links to instructional videos that can be viewed on a smart device while at each fitness station. Learn more at playlsi.com.
A former prison might seem an odd place for a childcare center. But places change over time, as do the people who inhabit those places. And when those people are between the ages of 6 months and 5 years, they experience a lot of change in a short amount of time.
Read about the metamorphosis of the play area at Prince George’s County Employee’s Childcare Center below, and get the full story at playlsi.com.
Client: Prince George’s County Employee’s Childcare Center
Designers: Brenda Iraola, landscape architect, and Sparks@Play
Goal: Develop a fresh narrative for the existing play environment around the theme of transformation
Solution: Drawing on the memories of her Grandmother Freda’s farm in Minnesota, Brenda divided the courtyard into four play areas where kids can follow the journey of a caterpillar becoming a butterfly. A larger-than-life caterpillar welcomes explorers into an enormous, interactive garden. Play structures are outfitted with flowers, ladybugs, bees, ants, mushrooms and leaves to create an immersive storybook experience.
Not many of us would disagree that technology is great—it provides convenience, fun and connection to everything. However, all of that technology has also changed the way children play. Kids are spending more time inside, in front of screens and they’re being less active.
So, how do you get them to turn off the screens and go outside to play? By creating fun, challenging and innovative playground environments! 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
Create educational signage to teach visitors about the native plants and animals
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! Browse our nature-themed playgrounds to get inspired, and learn more about creating natural playgrounds.
Zip lines have become the fastest growing recreational sport in the world, and now one of our newest innovations brings that adventure to the playground! ZipKrooz™ is our inclusive zip line for playgrounds, and when paired with its accessible companion, ZipKrooz Assisted, it provides a truly inclusive play experience.
ZipKrooz lets kids zip from one end to the other, and back again for nonstop fun. With three lengths of track available, ZipKrooz and ZipKrooz Assisted can accommodate any playground or all three can be installed to offer users a graduated experience. Even better, when installed together ZipKrooz and ZipKrooz Assisted provide children of all abilities the feeling of flying side-by-side.
Learn more about ZipKrooz and ZipKrooz Assisted and see it in action below.
On Monday, Feb. 10, we celebrated from afar the grand opening of the first inclusive playground in Russia. The inclusive playground was installed in association with the 2014 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi.
We worked with our partner in inclusive play, Shane’s Inspiration, to design the inclusive play space. In addition to being fully inclusive, the playground offers a nature-inspired play experience with log steppers, climbers that mimic logs and boulders, and a tree house. The nature-inspired features along with the sensory- and accessible-focused playground components help to welcome children of all abilities.
This is the second Olympics-related inclusive playground in which Shane’s Inspiration and we’ve been involved—the first was installed in Vancouver for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. Learn more about the project, and see photos here.
As we mentioned last month, our partnership with Shane’s Inspiration helped us bring the first inclusive playground to Ecuador! On Friday, Nov. 22, Paúl Granda López, Mayor of Cuenca, our president, Pat Faust, and the team from Shane’s Inspiration celebrated the grand opening of the 8,880 square-foot inclusive playground. The event welcomed more than 200 children of all abilities, many who were experiencing swinging and playgrounds for the very first time in their lives!
Former Vice President Lenin Moreno, an extraordinary champion for the rights of people with disabilities, initiated the concept of the inclusive playground, inspired by his own personal journey as a paraplegic and his discovery of the healing power of laughter and play therapy.
Grand Prize Winner: Wheaton Park District, Wheaton, Ill.
Receiving the Together We Play™ grand prize has been terrific way to kick off this significant project for our community and the region. Shane’s Inspiration and Landscape Structures visited our community in October to see the site, develop our matrix of design elements and formally present the award at the Wheaton Park District Board of Commissioners meeting on Oct. 19. Since then, the concept has been presented to several community groups including two enthusiastic grade school classes. We are eagerly awaiting the Shane’s Inspiration design that will allow us to start formal fundraising for the project.
Region 3 Winner: The Princess Alexa Foundation, Keller, Texas
The Princess Alexa Foundation has been gathering excitement about Alexa’s Playground! This month, our focus is getting a few major contacts on board to work with us on our Sneak Peak event, a no-ask event where we will approach the community with the playground design concepts and generate excitement and support for the project. We have also been speaking to community groups about sponsoring pieces of the playground – local moms clubs, major churches, school groups, etc. Alexa’s Playground will soon be a reality!
On Nov. 15, we had a press conference and extensive meetings with Shane’s Inspiration and Landscape Structures. Since then, we’ve had a stakeholder’s matrix meeting and have shared all our thoughts and ideas around a theme of “The River” to Shane’s Inspiration’s Landscape Architect Virginia Hatley. Because the City of Lewiston is focusing on developing its riverfront, this inclusive playground theme seems like it will fit perfectly into Marcotte Park. We are now waiting for Virginia’s rendering of the design.
If you’re a football fan, you probably watch Sunday Night Football each weekend. What you might not pay attention to is the halftime show. However, last night, the halftime show featured Shane’s Inspiration and Landscape Structures playground equipment at Westside Park in L.A. The organization will be featured as part of Toyota’s Halftime Hand Off program, which aids organizations that use sports as a vehicle for change.
Jungle Wall at Westside Park
The Halftime Hand Off program profiles four organizations on the Toyota Facebook page each week, and asks fans to vote for the charity they feel is most deserving of support. The organization receiving the most votes each week receives a $10,000 donation from Toyota and is featured during the following week’s halftime show segment.
In addition to being featured on NBC’s Sunday Night Football and the $10,000 donation, NBC will create a 2-minute video on Shane’s Inspiration’s behalf that will be posted on YouTube and Facebook.