Choosing the right outdoor fitness equipment for your community

Create an active community by including the HealthBeat® outdoor fitness system into your playground design.

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:

HealthBeat® Tai Chi Wheels

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Offer a variety of workouts. Provide equipment that targets various fitness areas such as muscle strength, cardiovascular health and balance/flexibility.
  4. 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.

HealthBeat® Elliptical

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.

From prison yard to Grammy’s Garden

Grammy's Garden

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.

Prince George's County Employees' Childcare Center.

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.

Prince George's County

How to design nature playground environments

Orono Park, Elk River, Minn.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.

Booker T. Washington Elementary School, Tampa, Fla.

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:

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

Sunset Park, Las Vegas, Nev.

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.

Take flight with ZipKrooz™

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

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.

Double ZipKrooz

Learn more about ZipKrooz and ZipKrooz Assisted and see it in action below.

First inclusive playground opens in Russia

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.

This is the first inclusive playground to be installed in Russia.

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.

Sensory and accessible playground components will help welcome children and families of all abilities to play.

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.

Inclusion in Ecuador

Cuenca, Ecuador, is home to the first inclusive playground in the entire country!

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.

Read more about the inclusive playground in Cuenca as well as the social inclusion workshop that Shane’s Inspiration held for more than 80 university students majoring in special education.

Playground project kick off

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.