More and more communities are recognizing the importance of accessible, inclusive play for children of all abilities and are putting this awareness into action. The fall 2015 opening of a state-of-the-art community and recreation center in Montgomery Township, Pennsylvania included a vibrant, inclusive playground.
General Recreation worked with Christopher Green, Senior Landscape Architect at Gilmore & Associates, to complete this expansive playground for 2 to 12 year-olds. Both companies have teamed up on various projects over the past 15 years.
“It’s great to work with Chris,” says Garry Helmuth, Gen Rec playground consultant. “His firm is respected and recognized across the region for their park and playground design work. You know when they’re involved, the project will be well-planned and well-designed, resulting in a beautiful, sustainable facility for the client.”
Chris shared that the Montgomery Township playground is the firm’s first fully inclusive playground project. “I always enjoy working with Gen Rec. They helped to keep things moving smoothly and were very accommodating throughout a process that included several design changes.”
“Our vision was a ‘destination’ playground, which I believe we accomplished.” adds Chris. He ensured that the design had a wide range of activities to accommodate children with a variety of developmental needs. The flat, wide-open space made it easy to incorporate a multitude of play structures, and helped make installation a lot easier.
The focal point is a large play structure with accessible ramps, interactive panels, slides and climbers. Along the perimeter are several types of swings. Some are molded bucket seat swings, which provide better stability for children with limited upper body strength. The equipment, shade structures and poured-in-place safety surfacing have an inviting, cheerful color palette of bright blue, lime green, warm yellow and orange.
Children who use wheel chairs or walkers can access the main play structure and freestanding activities, like the OmniSpin® spinner or the We-sawTM. Both are unique takes on the traditional playground pieces, but with an opportunity for more collaboration and teamwork. The Cozy Dome® does double-duty as a climber on top and a cozy retreat on the inside.
Children with autism or sensory processing disorders may have challenges with socialization, communication and imagination. A large sensory play center with interactive panels can provide a play experience that’s “just right.”
Both Gen Rec and Gilmore & Associates hope this playground continues to grow as a destination for children of all abilities for years to come!
To learn more about designing or updating your playground for inclusive play, contact your General Recreation Sales Consultant at 800-726-4793 or firstname.lastname@example.org.