Inclusive playgrounds and sports areas
When discussing accessibility and inclusive design, we can discuss the design of happiness. What matters most is the right attitude – a humane one.
Today's designers, developers, and building contractors hold the key to future happiness and accessibility. They have the power to shape people's happiness and create equality in everyday life, including in playgrounds and sports areas.
Inclusive playgrounds and outdoor sports equipment
The definition of an impaired individual is anyone whose ability to move, function, orientate themselves, or communicate is permanently or temporarily impaired due to disability or illness. The causes of impairment can be numerous, ranging from physical and sensory to developmental and behavioural impairment.
At Lappset, we believe that the joy of movement is an entitlement that belongs to everyone, regardless of age or ability. That's why we've designed our playground and outdoor sports equipment so that anyone can enjoy them despite permanent or temporary disabilities.
Inclusive Play Research
Playing outside should be available for everyone, children with or without disabilities, players young and old, different cultures and nationalities, languages, preferences, or users’ needs. We compiled an article from a year of desk research, talking to experts and end users. Read more about inclusiveness, design principles, and how to fulfil all users’ needs.
Playing together has never been this easy and fun!
- There are play functions for different levels of users: easy and challenging.
- Children with disabilities can play alongside able-bodied children.
- An inclusive design promotes equality instead of underlining disability.
- We have not only considered wheelchair users but also individuals with other disabilities.
Inclusive design created a good starting point for planning
“In an accessible playground, everyone can play, exercise, and enjoy the outdoors equally. Accessible playgrounds call for careful planning, taking into consideration the diversity and diverse needs of the adults and children using the site.”
Terhi Tamminen is a trained Accessibility Inspector and Vice Chairman of Design for All Europe’s EIDD Board. Read more from Terhi’s blog about how elements of playgrounds and play equipment should be designed to cater for everyone.
Inclusive playgrounds can also be interactive!
Playing outside should be available for everyone, children with or without a disability, players young and old, different nationalities, languages, preferences, or users' needs.
The interactive products provide choice, flexibility, and scalability using entertaining software. This ensures content matches the users and creates inclusion in place of segregation. With interactive playgrounds, the surfacing is always even. All children can play and enjoy playtime together!
Our interactives are designed to be inclusive, and we went the extra mile with Sona. We spent a year doing desk research and talking to experts and end users to create improved games that catered to everyone. After launching our first pilot, we collected two months of play data and expert reviews on these new inclusive games for Sona.
Inclusive and accessible sports parks
Most of Lappset Sports equipment is designed to be placed as an inclusive sports area. Wheelchair users can use the equipment if the platform is chosen carefully to support moving around with different types of wheels.
The equipment user has enough space to move and exercise. For example, bars and rings on different heights enable the user to take a good grip from sitting in a wheelchair or standing on the ground. It is also important to leave enough space between different equipment, so a potential assistant can help when exercising. The bright colour options of Lappset Sport create contrast and help guide movement. This also enhances safety.
Finnish Paralympic athletes tested the Lappset sport range
Lappset outdoor sports equipment has been tested by Finnish Paralympic athletes Henry Manni and Aleksi Kirjonen.
“We want to encourage people with disabilities to enjoy sports and start exercising!”
Both Henry and Aleksi are physical education instructors. While training for the Paralympic Games, they started a Facebook community, Rajoitteet ovat vain omassa päässä (Limits are set by you only), with over 80,000 followers.
Here are some example videos from the YouTube playlist on how to start training in Lappset Sports areas. The exercises can be done at different levels according to the user’s experience and physical fitness. Go to the YouTube playlist here!
Senior Sport for active ageing
Senior Sports equipment strengthens the motor skills and manual dexterity of seniors. They offer sensible forms of activity, which also enhances mental wellbeing and overall happiness.
- Geriatric research has shown that merely the fear of falling increases the actual risk of falling. Thus, increasing confidence through physical training can manifest a positive spiral.
- Active ageing exercises also guarantee senior citizens more independent control over their lives.
- When you no longer have problems buttoning up your shirt or doing everyday shopping, you know you have achieved better control over your life.
- Senior Sport products are also great for therapy sessions and rehabilitation.
Exercise promotes longer life and independence
“There is a serious lack of exercise facilities for older people. We have to start paying a lot more attention to the needs of the elderly and provide them meaningful opportunities to stay physically active”, states clinical biomechanist Professor Pazit Levinger from Victoria University in Australia.
- Levinger studies the role of exercise in promoting older people’s physical and mental wellbeing.
- She considers it worrying how often older people’s needs are forgotten when new exercise facilities are being designed.
- Playgrounds and facilities for young adults are common, but the options for older people still need to be expanded.
Inclusive outdoor furniture
When designing outdoor environments, simple things make a big difference to inclusivity.
Simple design choices can make a big difference in encouraging people to get moving and enjoy the outdoors. Picnic tables with extended table tops promote inclusivity in public spaces by accommodating various user groups. Back rests and armrests on benches and chairs help people to sit down and get up easier.
Higher seats, such as in the Scandinavia Senior Bench or Park Place Senior Bench make sitting even easier for seniors. Oasis Safety Swing is a great addition to senior residences, thanks to its patented brake system, which is both pleasant and safe to use.
Interested to learn more?
At Lappset, we believe that the joy of movement belongs to everyone, regardless of age or ability. That’s why we’ve designed a checklist to go through when designing an inclusive playground or an outdoor sports area.