Dynamo Playgrounds

I think we can all remember a time when a friend or loved one was unable to access something because of mobility issues. A friend, with a broken foot, or a grandparent in a wheelchair. It’s not uncommon to run into difficulties when trying to access older playgrounds that were never built to be accessible. The struggle of trying to drag or push a wheelchair or walker through impossible playground terrain can be heartbreaking for parents and caregivers of children with physical disabilities. All kids just want to be able to travel freely when at the playground.  An old-school playground design is not one that is generally accessible. Gravel or wood chips are common ground surfacing, raised slides beyond the reach of caregivers, narrow paths, and inaccessible platforms all create barriers.

While keeping in mind that accessibility is not the same as inclusivity, there are some simple steps that can get you on the right path to meeting both of these playground fundamentals:

  • Unobstructed routes to the playground and connecting equipment can allow children of all abilities to travel freely on smooth paths and ramps. 
  • Ramps that have handles on both sides and reach the taller parts of the playground equipment can offer additional joy to children who may not otherwise be able to see the view from high above. 
  • Ground level play components, on accessible routes, allow children to exit and enter structures with ease. Adding freestanding pieces of playground equipment can bring an additional level of inclusivity. For children who are unable to transfer, raised sandboxes and sensory games can be a fun opportunity for all children to get to interact with each other regardless of developmental or ability levels.
  • Playground surfacing that is smooth and level to ensure easy access for wheelchairs, walkers, crutches, but also to reduce tripping hazards. 
  • Inclusive slides that are at good transfer heights, and that are wide enough to allow caretakers to hold onto the child as they play together. Children of all abilities can benefit from sliding with friends, siblings, parents and caretakers. 
  • Inclusive swings like Dynamo’s Biggo Swing series are perfectly designed to make is possible for all children to experience soaring heights as the wind blows in their hair. 

Playgrounds are an essential part of childhood. When all children get to play together, it helps everyone develop a better understanding of each other and we learn to appreciate and accept each other because of our differences and similarities.  The benefit of exercise can be especially helpful for continued development of muscle tone and strength.  All children benefit from accessible and inclusive playgrounds, and they all deserve the opportunity to play as unhindered as possible. 

A developer’s priorities should include the unique needs of children, within the same play space. If the entire playground is accessible and inclusive then the whole community can benefit. Parents shouldn’t have to seek out accessible playgrounds. They just all should be accessible. We exclude a significant portion of our community when we do not plan playgrounds for all ages, and all abilities. 

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Dynamo Playgrounds

661 County Rd 9
Plantagenet, ON
K0B 1L0 Canada

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