Archive for Playground Equipment



American with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG)


It is the goal of the BCI Burke Company to design all composite play structures in conformance with the proposed American with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG). Burke designers are knowledgeable about ADAAG, and their expertise allows Snider & Associates to provide play systems to be designed with activities that encourage and enable children of all abilities to share in the innovative fun that is provided by Burke playground equipment.  Burke’s experienced playground designers work directly with the Snider & Associates sales representatives and customers to ensure that we are providing components that not only comply with the current guidelines, but can also assist you in the development of a fully integrated, universally inclusive playground.


Burke’s accessible playgrounds provide the exciting and innovative levels of play that are so important to the physical, social, and intellectual development of the children who play on the equipment.  To that end, we incorporate components that range from the more elementary Paddle Ball Panel to promote eye-hand coordination to ground level Fun Phones that are such an integral part of socialization to the more sophisticated upper body developing components such as Curved Ring Swings and Loop Horizontal Ladders that will accommodate children who have lower extremity disabilities, but who are able to take advantage of the upper body challenges. The strategic use of transfer points, ground level activities and wheel chair accessible ramps, where applicable, help assure that all play structures meet and exceed the objectives detailed in the proposed ADAAG guidelines.


Design your dream playground accessible to all children

Child in the woods playground concept

I was searching for some fun playground sketches and came across not only these sketches but a cool design for a playground with “child in the woods” concept of play. This playground (to me) is like posts for trees and tree top shade with slides and climbers
There is even a video of the playground in concept from all angles.

The Power of Urban Play

A national report developed with the expertise of urban park and recreation leaders across our nation. This rich resource provides information for park and recreation agencies, school districts, and other youth serving organizations to make lasting changes for children’s health and well-being in urban communities.

Data was collected and summarized through a series of interviews, surveys, and roundtable discussions in order to capture a broad representation of urban communities across the county. The report reviews the importance of play in urban communities, defines the trends and unique characteristics, and discusses best practice strategies for developing and maintaining wholesome play environments.

Bigger Playground with New Sitcom

Amy Poehler gets a bigger playground with new sitcom
By Bill Keveney, USA TODAY

LOS ANGELES — Amy Poehler was Hillary Clinton. Her latest persona, Pawnee, Ind., deputy parks and recreation director Leslie Knope, would like to be.
Poehler has traded Hillary and all her other Saturday Night Live characters for just one: Leslie, the hugely ambitious but dangerously naive bureaucrat at the center of the new NBC comedy Parks and Recreation (Thursday, 8:30 ET/PT).

“Her office is filled with everyone from Bella Abzug to Hillary Clinton to a picture of a suffragette whose name she doesn’t know,” says Poehler, 37, who says she has no plans to reprise her popular Hillary impersonation. “Leslie likes to put herself among very important female political figures. She has no idea of her status and where she fits in.”
Focusing on just one character, Poehler has the time to find a depth that wasn’t available at SNL, where the helter-skelter, do-or-die pace of live, short sketches calls for one broad take and goodbye. Leslie is far more nuanced than hyperactive niece Caitlin or one-legged reality show contestant Amber, both pieces of Poehler’s repertoire during seven seasons at the late-night comedy show.

“It’s been really fun to do much more subtle work, and a real character that has an arc and that you’re starting to get to know,” Poehler says during a break on the Parks set. “Leslie has big dreams and little skill. She gets to watch how frustrating it is to get things done.”
The actress, who recently became a mother, wears a conservative gray pantsuit adorned with the kind of huge white bow that you won’t see in fashion magazines. She shows an inspirational pin that says Above and Beyond, “which is one of Leslie’s many mottos.”
“There’s nothing cool about her,” Poehler says, breaking into a hearty laugh. “Every time I put something on and think it’s cute, I have to take it off.”

Parks follows Leslie as she navigates the parks department, her hopes for building a community park raised and dashed with each turn. It’s the kind of high-drama, low-stakes comedy played expertly on The Office, which serves as the lead-in for Parks’ premiere.
That isn’t the only connection between the shows. Parks shares The Office’s mockumentary style and two of its executive producers, Greg Daniels and Michael Schur. It also shares The Office’s penchant for finding humor in the ordinariness of people’s lives.
“The most important connection to The Office is borrowing its audience — and hoping those who are loyal to the hit sitcom will, at minimum, sample and, at maximum, stay for Parks and Recreation,” says John Rash, media analyst at the Campbell Mithun ad agency.
Despite the similarities, Parks is not a spinoff, which was how NBC announced the new series last spring. Daniels says the deal was for a new program, not specifically a spinoff, which takes characters from an established series and transplants them to a new show. (It also requires the payment of rights fees to the original show’s creators.) No Office characters appear in Parks.

NBC is still interested in making an Office spinoff, although there is no timetable, the network’s entertainment co-chairman Ben Silverman says.
Parks is designed to fit the younger-skewing sensibilities of NBC’s Thursday comedies, he says. Besides The Office, the block includes two other comedies that also stray from the traditional, studio-audience form: My Name Is Earl and 30 Rock, the latter starring Poehler friend and SNL vet Tina Fey. (Poehler says of SNL and Rock executive producer Lorne Michaels: “I think Lorne has done more for women in comedy than anyone I know.”)
Daniels thinks the focus — the wide world of government vs. the interior nature of an office — and Poehler’s personality and skill will help Parks stand out from its mockumentary cousin.
“Amy has a distinct sensibility and sense of humor. She can be kind of small, and she can also be very loud and funny and brassy,” he says. “The challenge for Mike and me is to capture that.”

Silverman sees another trait that can go a long way in TV: “Amy is so genuinely likable … which really comforts you in the living room.”
More camcorder, less theater
Poehler was initially unavailable because her due date conflicted with the shooting schedule needed to launch the new show after February’s Super Bowl, as initially planned. She and her actor-husband, Will Arnett, are now the parents of Archie, 5 months, who was born near the end of her SNL run.

“Archie is doing great,” Poehler says. “Just like every working mom, I’m trying to balance everything, but it’s been awesome.”

Eventually, Daniels and Schur, who had worked with her at SNL, gave up the prized post-Super Bowl slot for the opportunity to hold on to Poehler, who “might be the funniest human being I’ve ever met,” Schur says.

“I felt that at SNL she was using only one-third of her arsenal,” he says. “I hope when people see this show, they think, ‘Wow! I’m getting all of what I like about the SNL Amy Poehler but also getting this other version of Amy Poehler that I haven’t seen before.’ ”

As with The Office, Daniels chose the pseudo-documentary style, which goes back at least to Spinal Tap, because it allows the camera to observe the characters from a distance but also to interact with them. Viewers have long been familiar with the traditional multi-camera sitcom style, filmed before a studio audience as if it were a play, but their own experiences have made them more comfortable with the roving single camera, he says.

“I feel like the multi-camera sitcom is based on the theatergoing experience, seeing a very presentational, on-stage kind of thing,” he says. “I think the mockumentary is more similar to how you videotape your own life. … I have more experience taping my friends and family with a camcorder than I do going to live theater.”

On a production level, the more natural form requires less time for lighting and preparing the set. That leaves more time “to chase the comedy” through extra takes, taking advantage of the improvisational skills of Poehler and other cast members.

In one scene, that process allows Poehler to fine-tune the anxiety Leslie is feeling about a newspaper interview that was meant to promote the park’s chances but now looks like it is about to go bad.

She plays Leslie’s nervousness and subsequent relief as if they are comedy’s version of the musical scales. With each take, the pitch of her voice rises a notch and the fear in her face intensifies by degree. And each escape from that calamity — “Disaster averted” — comes with a slightly deeper sigh.

Deluded but ambitious

At the parks department, Leslie is surrounded by boss Ron Swanson (Nick Offerman), who is hostile to the idea of serving the public; colleague Tom Haverford (Aziz Ansari), a self-serving fast talker who fashions himself a player; and an uninterested college intern, April Ludgate (Aubrey Plaza).

Philosophically, Ron ought to squelch Leslie’s activism, but it serves his purposes, Offerman says. “She wants to do everything so he puts her in charge of everything and sits in his office doing crossword puzzles.”

Her man problems also include the crush she has on once-idealistic city planner Mark Brendanawicz (Paul Schneider). He has forgotten that they once slept together.

After nurse Ann Perkins (The Office’s Rashida Jones) complains about an abandoned construction pit, the gung-ho Leslie vows to build a park on the site, even though she has no idea of all the hurdles in the way. “She overpromises in the first five minutes,” Poehler says.

The upbeat bureaucrat hopes that her can-do style will lead to the corridors of power in Washington, although she’s planning a rather tortuous route: a step up to parks director, a jump to city council a few years later, then to governor and beyond. “She’s got a 40-year plan,” Poehler says.

While dealing with Tom’s ridicule and Ron’s negative attitude toward government, Leslie forms a friendship with Ann, Parks’ most balanced character.

“It’s the coming together of two people who are incredibly different,” says Jones. “I like (Leslie’s) enthusiasm. I’m so impressed because I haven’t had any response from anybody in government until now. She genuinely likes me and seems to care about (the project).”
The common-sensical Ann is willing to put up with Leslie’s gaffes and delusions because she represents a break from the frustrating, all-too-familiar bureaucracy. Those miscalculations include an effort to attract support for the park that backfires into public opposition, and a small ethics violation that “convinces her she needs to do a Checkers-like speech,” Daniels says.

Leslie “does a lot of studying of the greats of politics: What would Karl Rove do? What would Margaret Thatcher do?” he says. “She’s trying to learn from them, but is often misapplying it.”

Inclusive Play – 7 Principles of Universal Design

Supporting materials are available in PDF from our this website page on inclusive playgrounds

  • Inclusive Play Benefits
  • Inclusive Play Model Environment
  • Inclusive Play Overview
  • Inclusive Play Activity Grids
  • Inclusive Play Checklist

If you want a complete packet on inclusive play and the 7 benefits please request a catalog by clicking here – Inclusive Playground Packet – Make sure to put inclusive play in the notes of your request

1 – Be Fair 
The play environment provides social justice by being equitable and usable by children of all abilities so they can enjoy their right to play.


a. Provide appropriate surfacing and site design for physical access into and throughout the play environment so children can actively engage in social and physical play activities.

b. Offer equitable opportunities for everyone to participate in a variety of developmentally appropriate forms of play.

c. Promote an atmosphere of mutual respect and acceptance by providing integrated activities throughout the play environment that encourage exploration, problem solving and discovery.


An accessible pathway to and throughout the play environment allows people of all abilities to participate in play.

2 – Be Included 

The play environment supports the participation of individuals with diverse abilities in social and physical activities for inclusive, multigenerational play.


a. Organize the play environment to provide various types (physical, social, sensorimotor, constructive, etc.) and forms (autonomous, parallel, cooperative, etc.) of play so there is something fun for everyone.

b. Provide a balanced variety and a continuum of developmentally appropriate physical and social activities, throughout the play environment, which are dynamic and accommodate individuals’ diverse abilities.

c. Provide choices in method of participation or use. d. Provide meaningful opportunities for inclusive, multigenerational play.


Social gathering spaces under decks and along accessible pathways allow children of all abilities to be included.

3 – Be Smart

The play environment allows children to effectively explore and participate in play at their own level.


a. Design the play environment with a variety of multi-sensory features that are organized to provide meaningful cues

b. Provide intentional multi-sensory (auditory, visual, tactile) stimuli through a variety of play activities.

c. Offer opportunities for children of all abilities to access and engage in the play environment as independently as possible.


Accessible transfer decks designed strategically with play activities like slides allow children with adaptive equipment to successfully engage in their natural play behaviors.

4 – Be Independent

The play environment allows children to effectively explore and participate in play at their own level.


a. Design the play environment with a variety of multi-sensory features that are organized to provide meaningful cues.

b. Provide intentional multi-sensory (auditory, visual, tactile) stimuli through a variety of play activities.

c. Offer opportunities for children of all abilities to access and engage in the play environment as independently as possible.


Equipment, like ramps, and multisensory features in the environment allow children to effectively explore and participate in play more independently.

5 – Be Safe

The play environment addresses current safety standards while providing developmental opportunities needed for exploration and challenge.


a. Provide safer play activities and environments, through graduated levels of challenge, that allow children to explore, interact, and experience developmentally appropriate risk.

b. Support children’s emotional feelings of security so they are more likely to engage in play.

c. Accommodate for comfortable supervision and ongoing maintenance.


Benches placed throughout the play environment offer jump-in-points for kids while also promoting adult supervision.

6 – Be Active

The play environment supports various degrees of physical and social participation in play while minimizing unnecessary fatigue.


a. Allow individuals to maintain neutral body position so they can actively sustain their engagement in physical and social play.

b. Include play activities that require reasonable operating forces and integrate alternatives to sustained physical effort or repetitive actions.

c. Provide for a range of developmental opportunities for challenge to accommodate children’s diverse physical characteristics.

d. Offer balanced opportunities for social play throughout the play environment, by providing a variety of play activities at the ground level and under decks.


Play equipment like the One-for-All swing provides support for children of all abilities to experience the joy of movement.

7 Be Comfortable

The play environment is usable for individuals with sensory needs, diverse body size, posture, mobility, and motor control.


a. Provide play activities with comfortable approach and reach for a seated or standing child.

b. Accommodate variations in gross and fine motor control for manipulation of play activities.

c. Provide comfortable space for movement throughout the play environment for individuals with assistive devices and/or personal assistance.

d. Provide a range of environmental conditions, like shade, to accommodate children’s diverse comfort characteristics.


Features like this accessible Fire Truck Cab allow children of all abilities to comfortably approach and reach the activity while the open space inside supports comfortable movement.

Call us at 1-800-888-2889 to discuss your Inclusive play or Boundless playground.

KaBoom! Offers Playground Grants

KaBoom! has developed a unique opportunity to jump start the playground building process for communities in need, by offering $5,000, $3,000 and $1,000 grants towards the purchase of new playground equipment. KaBOOM! Offers Playground Planners $5,000 Grants on 2010-02-11 08:58:00.

  • Fans Vote for Most Compelling Video

To help jumpstart the playground building process for communities in need, KaBOOM!, the national non-profit that makes kids and communities healthier by creating great places to play, has partnered with the nation’s top playground equipment vendors to offer $5,000, $3,000, and $1,000 grants towards the purchase of new playground equipment.

Three grants of up to $5,000 will be awarded to communities who receive the most votes in an online video voting competition. Competing communities need to create an online video that pitches their project to potential funders, supporters and volunteers and then enter their project into the KaBOOM! Project Planner before the end of February. The KaBOOM! Project Planner is a free online tool designed to walk communities step-by-step through the playground building process, from fundraising and volunteer recruitment to vendor selection and site preparation. Already, communities have entered 1,500playground projects into the planner because it gives them access to KaBOOM! resources and information, empowers them to engage their community in their project, and enables them to share their plans and ideas quickly and easily with their team members and potential supporters. For the competition, videos should be no more than 60 seconds in length, be targeted at potential supporters (not KaBOOM!) and demonstrate the importance of the project to the community.

Once completed, KaBOOM! will host all the videos online so that communities can use their video as both a contest entry and a tool to garner support for their project. By sending links to their video out to their social media networks, all participating communities have the ability to spread their message and garner massive amounts of support for their projects. At the end of February, KaBOOM! will select the five most compelling videos and will invite the public to vote for their favorite. The videos with the most votes will receive up to $5,000, $3,000, or $1,000 in grants towards their purchase of equipment from the KaBOOM! Preferred Vendors that best meets their needs. The winning videos will also serve as examples of creative and effective ways other communities can garner support and engage supporters online. Grant winners will be announced in April, but by inspiring their individual communities to rally around their projects, all participants will get additional support to help them reach their goals.


Preferred Vendors have been selected because of their high industry standards, their consistent installation quality, their national reach, and their commitment to playground innovation.


The contest rules are simple. Entrants must upload a project video, up to 60 seconds in length, to their KaBOOM! Project Page during the month of February. Then, KaBOOM! will judge the videos, and the top five will be chosen as finalists. Finalists will be determined by both their video and their progress through and interaction with their project website. Finalists will be competing for playground equipment grants (with the grand prize of up to $5,000 towards their purchase cost) provided by KaBOOM!Preferred Vendors. Equipment must be purchased from one of these vendors in order to receive the grant. The final amount of the awarded grant cannot be greater than 25% of the total purchase price. KaBOOM! Preferred Vendors have been selected because of their high industry standards, their consistent installation quality, their national reach, and their commitment to playground innovation. Finalists will be put up for public voting on in March to determine the winners! Grant winners will be announced in April, but by inspiring their individual communities to rally around their projects, all participants will get additional support to help them reach their goals.

Please contact Snider & Associates with any additional questions. or 800-888-2889

What is Nature Grounds?


What is NatureGrounds?

NatureGrounds: Putting Nature Into Play is a comprehensive program that provides best practice guidelines for creating and retrofitting play environments for parks and school grounds that integrate manufactured play equipment and the living landscape. The purpose of NatureGrounds is to create a dramatic shift in the standard playground development process by deliberately designing nature back into children’s lives, not only to benefit children’s play but also to engage communities in working together to create richer play experience for all users.

Bringing nature back into children’s lives

Remember when time stood still as we played outdoors with best friends, enjoying the wonders of the world around us? We learned to interact with each other and our natural surroundings — climbing trees, swinging on branches, playing games, or enjoying the quiet contemplation of leaves floating down a stream. Elements of nature created magical expressions of childhood musings about the world.

Like children throughout the ages, we experienced the universal childhood delights of discovery and fascination set free by boundless imaginations and unstructured play in nature — even in a few square feet.

New health research recognizes everyday outdoor play in nature as a powerful preventive strategy for healthy childhood development — including protection against childhood obesity.

A generation ago playing outdoors in nature was usually taken for granted; but times have changed. Now, nature must be deliberately designed back into children’s lives. In today’s urban and suburban environments, natural spaces are often too remotely located for visiting on a regular basis.

A playground paradigm shift

The industrial playground model based solely on manufactured equipment is being reconsidered. A greater diversity of play opportunities is desired to extend curricular activity in schools and to meet the needs of a broader range of children and their families in parks. The integration of natural components helps fulfill these needs as well as creating richer play experiences for all users.

Safety and playgrounds

Contemporary playground components are manufactured to meet high quality industrial design standards of health and safety. Constant upgrading and innovation are recognized characteristics of the playground industry. National injury statistics show compliant playgrounds to be much safer than other everyday childhood environments.

Playground safety, which has been the focus of playground design for the last fifteen years, has reached the point where children may find playgrounds boring and therefore not attractive for everyday use or for repeat visits.

To counteract this trend, naturalization is an effective strategy to stimulate, motivate, and encourage children’s play, and to increase the attraction of playgrounds for children and caregivers.

Playgrounds cannot fully eliminate risk and indeed should provide children with opportunities to engage in healthy risk taking and activities that provide developmentally appropriate challenges. On the other hand, providing safer environments must continue to be a priority with every effort made to reduce unforeseen hazards.

Added value

Naturalization adds value to play equipment structures by enhancing their visual quality as focal points, thereby attracting children outdoors to use parks and school grounds. Equipment, combined with natural elements, tells children that playgrounds are their special places. The added comfort and aesthetic enhancement of nature encourage accompanying adults to also become enthusiastic users.

Why naturalized playgrounds?

Inspired by Richard Louv’s book, Last Child in the Woods, a grassroots movement advocating outdoor play in nature is growing across the USA and Canada, driven by parents, environmental educators, recreation and health promotion professionals, naturalists, and others. Naturalized playgrounds can support the outdoor play in nature movement in many ways:

Play structures are heavily used by children
“Children and nature” and “active childhood” community initiatives and legislation are focusing attention on the spaces of children’s daily lives, including playgrounds
Innovative projects generate positive press and new funding streams

“Mixed” play environments are more attractive and comfortable for adults, encouraging caregivers to spend more time outdoors with their children
Well-designed playgrounds are a primary attraction for families using neighborhood and community parks
Naturalization adds visual interest, shade, and comfort — resulting in sustained repeat visits, a relaxed and playful social atmosphere, and growth of community social capital
Users of all abilities discover a wider range of play opportunities
Curvy pathways provide attractive, accessible, active settings for children, and social strolling by adults
Naturalization provides new opportunities for nature-based professionals to offer rich outdoor educational and recreation programs for a wide range of children

Matching Funds Playground Grant Program

Matching Funds Playground Grant Program

For a limited time, BCI Burke Company, one of the nation’s leading commercial playground manufacturers, is offering a Matching Funds Playground Grant Program*!

Reinvent your playground with grants towards Burke’s innovative play structures including Nucleus™, Intensity®, Nucleus-Intensity ‘fusion’, Voltage™ and NaturePlay®! Grants will be provided in the form of a discount off of list price on Burke play structures.

Click HERE and enter your information to inquire about the playground grant!

Applications will be reviewed as they are submitted, with awards occurring from October 19th through December 12th, 2011. All orders must be received by December 16th, 2011

*Grants will be provided as discount off of list price of Burke play structures (Nucleus, Intensity, Nucleus-Intensity ‘fusion’, Voltage and NaturePlay).

Customers must purchase a Burke play structure to receive the grant. The “Matching Funds Playground Grant Program” cannot be used in conjunction with any other discounts.

Playground Business – Increasing medical insurance costs – NPCAI February

We all have lost loved ones in our lives, so as we ramp up our business for the spring season, please take time to hug your kids, your spouses, your parents and other loved ones. It is a great reminder to them and to yourselves on how important they are to our lives.

My reflection this month regarding human resources is on the rising cost of healthcare. I am sure it does not matter how big our small your business is you have noticed the significant increase in health insurance premiums over the past several years.

Some reasons given to me:

1) Medical costs in general have increased dramatically and so insurance costs have followed

2) Some insurance companies are hedging their bets against legislation that will hurt their profits

3) Some insurance companies are concerned about competing with a government run health program

4) The presumption that patient/doctor/insurance company, with no regard to fiscal considerations, are making medical decisions

5) I am sure there a few other arguments here, with these and others having a point and counter-point..too many to mention

As small business what can we do? I wish I had the answer, as this is the question ALL businesses are asking. How do we remain competitive and “in business” with the booming costs of healthcare.

Some options are:

1) Increasing employee sharing of rising medical costs, high deductible plans are increasing for small business

2) Changing percent coverage of in network and out of network coverage

3) Another option is to make changes or renegotiate the details of your health plan or soliciting quote from other providers

4) Increase employees monthly contribution to their premium – this is difficult to ask when trying to retain key employees but must be done

5) Joining a group like a local Chamber of Commerce that offers additional discount with health insurance providers

If you have any other suggestions for how to manage the ever increasing health care costs please send them my way.

Now that we are well into 2012, the NPCAI is improving our member benefits but is always looking for feedback from members. Please send any and all feedback to myself or other board members so that we may consider it. As always, we welcome anyone’s interest in joining our board in order to help our mission as playground contractors.

BCI Burke partners with State of Ohio Department of Administrative Services

BCI Burke, leading manufacturer of commercial playground equipment with headquarters in Fond du Lac, Wisc., was selected to the Ohio Office of Procurement Services contract which makes purchasing Burke products more efficient for governmental entities. Burke’s professional representative firm, Snider & Associates, Inc. will administer the contract through the process of procuring playground equipment using the Ohio State Term Schedule.

“We are thrilled with this partnership as it will enable us to assist our Ohio communities to save time, paperwork and money on playground equipment purchases,” said James Snider, Snider & Associates’ Vice President. “Children, fitness and play are vital to our mission and we look forward to providing straightforward recreation opportunities through collaboration,” he said.

This Cooperative Purchasing Program provides members leverage to spend to provide deeper volume discounts. Membership in the program, which is administered by the Ohio Department of Administrative Services (DAS), is voluntary and open to all counties, cities, villages, townships, state colleges and institutions of higher education, public school districts, chartered non-public schools, public libraries, transit authorities, parks, airport authorities, ambulance and fire districts, metropolitan housing authorities and other governmental entities through the enactment of the Cooperative Purchasing Act of 1986.

“Along with the highest quality in innovative playground and recreation options, this alliance allows Burke and Snider & Associates to provide our Ohio customers with additional value-added resources such as free site evaluations, discounts, a playground curriculum for Burke’s Intensity® fitness play complex as well as a safety training program from the National Program for Playground Safety,” said Tim Ahern, BCI Burke CEO/owner.

BCI Burke, with headquarters in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, showcases continual improvement and premium commitment to their customers, as well as designing, building, delivering and servicing the highest quality playground products, backed by the best warranty in the industry. For more information, visit

Snider & Associates, Inc., with corporate headquarters in North Royalton, Ohio, has been providing playground, park and recreation resources to Indiana, Ohio, Western Pennsylvania and Michigan communities since 1989.