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Creating Fun for People of All Ages and Abilities

CATEGORY / Uncategorized

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With tech gadgets and activity trackers gauging our every move, fitness and all inclusive play environments have become the newest craze — and – not just for young people, but for people of all ages and abilities! As society pays more attention to overall physical health, there is a greater need for multigenerational designs that embrace diversity within the community. Play environments are not just for kids; they are for people of all ages and abilities.

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Landscape architects are paying more and more attention to inclusivity. Instead of creating designs simply focusing on accessibility for users with limited mobility, we ask designers to take a more inclusive approach. Inclusive play environments are quite varied in their design and create the ideal space for promoting connection between people of all abilities and ages.

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No Fault Safety Surfacing is an ideal design solution for all-inclusive flooring. The smooth surfacing is an accessible option for wheelchair and walker users to easily navigate the park, while also providing stability for toddlers who are just getting their bearings. Climbing structures surrounded by nets provide a fun activity with a bit of a challenge for wheel chair users. The ground level accessibility creates self-regulated play experiences for all users. People can utilize their upper body strength to pull themselves up, while the enclosed netting works as a safety vault when all energy has been exerted.

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For senior fitness, low impact exercise equipment promotes balance and coordination. Miracle Playsystems works closely with Norwell products, a Denmark-based designer, who offers a complete line of outdoor fitness equipment for all ages. Also, Miracle Equipment has just launched a new Generational Swing that allows older children, parents, and grandparents to swing with their toddlers. By incorporating these small details to your play environment engaging experiences are enhanced for every member of the family.

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When designing an all inclusive play area, providing a combination of both active recreation and passive recreation ensures that each person has something to enjoy. Joe DiMaggio Park in San Francisco offers a combination of activities for people of all abilities. Sporting courts are provided for those who enjoy impact sports, and shaded seating areas for those who want to take in the views or relax and read a book. Additionally, the park provides a play structure where children can foster their energetic impulses and walkways that weave throughout the park for adults who want to stay active while their children and grandchildren play.

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Although April is recognized as National Autism Awareness month, we at Miracle Playsystems recognize that Autism is part of everyday life for many families, rather than something that is celebrated once a year. Each year tens of thousands of people are diagnosed with Autism and for those, each day presents new obstacles. As a result there is an essential need for more all-abilities playgrounds for people who are on the spectrum.

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Autism affects children in different ways, but it is important to understand that for many, Autism impacts their vestibular and proprioceptive systems differently than others. These are the senses that keep us grounded — and play elements that incorporate movement are critical. Stimulation through vestibular activities help develop proper reflexes and can even help balance a child’s temperament. Play environments should have a variety of moving components that provide different ranges of motion. For example, swings, spinners, and rocking components will each stimulate the vestibular sense in a different way.

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Play is a learned skill that develops over time and for those with Autism, socialization and imaginative play can be difficult. People with Autism face unique challenges and encompass unique abilities. By incorporating activities that include social play, children are introduced to social skills. For instance, teeter-totters are an activity that requires the reciprocation of a partner, whereas a slide is something that a child can do on his/her own. Presenting children with an activity that exhibits the give and take of a relationship opens the door for communication and negotiation. One child pushes while the other balances and vice versa. Miracle Recreation has produced a brochure that addresses how to design an all inclusive play environment with special focus on designing playgrounds for children with Autism.

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Play environments should be a representation of the people who engage them, rich with diversity. Each person is made up of varying abilities and creating a space where the entire community can be included celebrates that diversity and improves the overall wellness of society as a whole. At Miracle Playsystems, we work with vendors who provide a wide array of products and assist landscape architects in transforming ideas into reality. April is not the only time to recognize inclusivity, but maybe it can spearhead the consciousness that all people, regardless of age and mobility are deserving of the opportunity to get outdoors and explore.



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