2018 has been an amazing year… filled with great products, projects and messages. See the best of 2018 in the form of our most read blog posts.
1. Spreading the message of inclusion
We’re working with Shane’s Inspiration to promote the animated short film, “Ian,” which aims to help children understand disability and spread the message of inclusion.
2. Bringing literacy to the playground
The Loft family has grown to include the Fire Station and Market Cafe with even more developmentally appropriate activities including literacy prompts.
5. Big fun comes in small packages
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.
Thank you for tuning in to Together We Play in 2018. We’re looking forward to an exciting year of play; tell us below what you’d like to see more of in 2019 and we’ll do our best to share it here.
On Saturday, March 8, Shane’s Inspiration held its annual Gala Celebration at the Beverly Hills Hotel Crystal Ballroom. Themed An Evening of Motown, attendees came together to help raise funds for Shane’s Inspiration and their inclusion programming in addition to celebrating three amazing champions of inclusive play.
Former Vice President of Ecuador Lenin Moreno was presented with the Inspiration Award for his work in advancing social inclusion and bringing the first inclusive playground to Ecuador. The 8,880 square-foot inclusive playground, which opened on Nov. 22, 2013, features playground equipment specifically designed to promote integration among children of all abilities.
Additionally, Universal Studios Hollywood’s Discover a Star Foundation received the Community Leadership Award for its work of providing financial assistance to neighboring nonprofits linked to children’s causes and homeless intervention, and Richard D. Kessler was honored with the Humanitarian Award for his strong community involvement and support of Shane’s Inspiration.
Congratulations to all of these champions of inclusive play! Learn more about Shane’s Inspiration, their social inclusion programming and lots more by visiting shanesinspiration.org.
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.
With the arrival of the New Year, it’s a great time for us to look back on 2013. We’re honored, along with our playground consultants, to collaborate with you on playground projects and proud of what we’ve accomplished together. Check out just a few of the happenings from 2013 in the following list:
Introduced exciting new products—Pulse™, We-saw™ and three site furnishings collections—in January.
Steve King, cofounder of Landscape Structures, unveiled his book A Legacy of Play, which documents the more than 40-year history of the company.
Announced our new partnership with Kiwanis International, and kicked off a contest to help bring play to communities around the world. Our winner was the Iola Kiwanis club in Iola, Kan., which is currently fundraising for their inclusive playground.
Barb King (1946-2008), cofounder of Landscape Structures, was inducted into the Minnesota Women Business Owners Hall of Fame, which honors women entrepreneurial leaders who represent 150 years of Minnesota business history.
Introduced new signature designs including the Eclipse Net® Plus, Hillscape Adventure and GeoNetrix.
Hosted occupational therapists for a playground tour throughout the Twin Cities metro during the AOTA Specialty Conference.
Installed a SpongeBob-themed playground at Enterprise Elementary School in Enterprise, Fla., which was the grand prize of the 2012 Nickelodeon “I Wanna Play” Sweeps.
Reconnected with, and met new, parks and recreation professionals at our party at Lucky Strike Lanes during the NRPA Congress & Exposition in Houston.
Attended the ASLA Annual Meeting & Expo in Boston at which our booth, featuring GeoNetrix, was voted by landscape architects as Best Visual Appeal.
Celebrated with our partner, Shane’s Inspiration, the grand opening of the first inclusive playground in the country of Ecuador.
In less than two weeks, we’ll continuing celebrating a great 2013 with our playground consultants from around the world when they arrive in Minnesota for our Annual Sales Meeting. Stay tuned for announcements of our new catalog, products and more in the upcoming weeks! Want to be the first to hear about them? Sign up for our e-newsletters or subscribe to receive notifications of new blog posts by email.
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.
Our partnership with Shane’s Inspiration, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of children with disabilities, has allowed us to positively impact many children, families and entire communities. And we’re excited to say that our partnership is helping bring inclusive play to Ecuador! In a matter of weeks, the Municipality of Cuenca will open its first inclusive playground (the first in the entire country!), which will help promote integration among children of all abilities.
As many students and teachers head back to school, it’s important to think about inclusion in the classroom as well as on the playground. Socialization at school can often be struggle for children with special needs, and their isolation may have a damaging effect. That’s why Shane’s Inspiration created the online Inclusion Lunch Box program.
The Inclusion Lunch Box program is an interactive elementary school program that promotes social inclusion and reduces bullying toward children with disabilities. The program works in a simple, three-step process:
Students between grades 3 and 6 participate in a 60-minute ability awareness workshop, during which they use written and hands-on exercises and group discussion to explore common misconceptions and perceptions about disabilities. They learn to distinguish between fact and fiction.
Students with and without special needs are then paired at an inclusive playground to spend the day playing with and learning about each other. Using a variety of toys/games/activities, children of all abilities are supported as they connect.
In a post play date workshop in the classroom, students consider how their perceptions shifted about themselves and people with disabilities. Following the initial program, teachers can continue educating students about ability awareness throughout the year via humanities-based activities.
We support this program of Shane’s Inspiration, and their efforts to make it available to elementary schools throughout North America. Available for download at shanesinspiration.org/education, the Inclusion Lunch Box program includes step-by-step guides and materials to facilitate classroom and playground workshops, plus a follow-up academic curriculum. Even more, Shane’s Inspiration staff is available for ongoing support to teachers and administrators.
Steve King was honored with the Visionary Leadership Award from Shane’s Inspiration, a nonprofit organization specializing in the design and educational programming of inclusive playgrounds, at their annual gala on April 21. King, the cofounder of Landscape Structures Inc., the Delano, Minn.-based commercial playground equipment manufacturer, was recognized for his commitment to providing inclusive playground equipment for children of all abilities as well as his philanthropic support of Shane’s Inspiration’s abilities awareness programs.
King, an American Society of Landscape Architecture Fellow, created a new type of play environment as his final project at Iowa State. After observing children at nearby playgrounds and the child development department on campus, he put together a concept that combined traditional playground equipment such as slides and climbers into an endless stream of connected activities, which he later termed “continuous play.”
Since that concept was introduced, King has continued to build upon it. He has committed his entire life to creating play spaces for children of all abilities. King was chairman of a task group of the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) that worked with the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) to update the ASTM F1487 Specification, a voluntary safety and accessibility standard for public playground equipment designed for children ages 2 to 12. His task group had the added responsibility of developing playground accessibility standards to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
In addition to his commitment to providing truly inclusive playground equipment, King was honored for his continued support of Shane’s Inspiration. King and his wife and cofounder of Landscape Structures, Barbara (1946-2008), met Catherine Curry-Williams and Tiffany Harris, cofounders of Shane’s Inspiration, more than 10 years ago. Since then, Shane’s Inspiration and Landscape Structures have partnered to design and install more than 30 inclusive playgrounds throughout the U.S., Canada and Mexico.
On Oct. 21, 2011, we marked the beginning of an incredible journey for FUNdation and the Village of South Elgin, Ill. We marked our celebration as the region 2 winner of the Together We Play™ contest by hosting a kickoff celebration at the location of our inclusive playground site. We held a community options planning session and invited many local community members to help us dream big! Great design ideas were shared by school administration, parents, Village administration, parks and recreation staff, teachers and committee members. In December, we received conceptual designs from Shane’s Inspiration and are on our way to completion.
Several of our committee members visited Landscape Structures in Delano, Minn., to take a tour of their production facility. Not only are the products produced by Landscape Structures of the highest quality, we learned so much about the culture of their business. And with the addition of their concrete manufacturing plant, nothing is impossible to create into play. We plan to include concrete products in our playground design.
Tiffany Harris and Brad Thornton from Shane’s Inspiration joined us on a cold, blizzard-filled evening in January as we reached out to our community members to gain support for this inclusive play project. After we shared our vision for inclusive play with those in attendance, we asked everyone to become ambassadors for this unique project. We have hosted two more open houses to educate community members, and we continue to research possible funding opportunities to help us meet our $1.1 million budget goal.
The design process for the inclusive playground at the Gig Harbor Maritime PlayZone is officially under way. Representatives from Landscape Structures and Shane’s Inspiration attended a design event, which was scheduled to brainstorm concepts for the playground. The new play space will be inclusive for children and adults of all abilities. Committee Chair Stephanie Payne said the group has now started its fundraising process and hopes to raise $100,000. After speaking at local Rotary clubs and organizations, she said, the group will start branching out to regional businesses and individual families for donations. The playground committee is expecting to see the conceptual design in eight to 12 weeks, with the complete design coming four weeks after that.