A playground for every kid means a place where kids can let their imaginations run wild and play with their friends no matter what their ability. Cities that advocate for "inclusive play" for all kids ensure that they offer playgrounds with fun for everyone – that means kids who use mobility equipment can play with their friends who may or may not be able-bodied.
Many accessible playgrounds support accessibility, fun and activity, but above all, accessible playgrounds ensure inclusion. Rubber-coated mats below playground equipment help ensure wheelchairs and mobility equipment can lead children to all of the fun easily and safely. Often these mats provide cushion to promote safety in case of slips or falls.
Another great feature of accessible playgrounds is activity areas and play panels (gears, chimes, etc.) often with numbers or tactile games that all children can access. Ramps allow children in wheelchairs access to the same equipment as the stairs that able-bodied children use, providing the opportunity for two children of different abilities to share in the same game or activity.
More than just providing an environment where kids of all abilities can play, these inclusive playgrounds create a gathering spot, helping to foster relationships and bridge barriers. It brings kids and parents together. Who knows, it might even spark a conversation to help build better communities for the disabled and able-bodied community alike!
If you think an accessible playground would make a good addition to your community, reach out to your local city council or submit a letter to the editor of your local newspaper. Accessible playgrounds are a step in the right direction to show our children that the future of equal access and inclusion really can be made a reality, one playground at a time.
Check out http://www.accessibleplayground.net/ for more information.