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.

Guidelines

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.

Example

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.

Guidelines

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.

Example

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.

Guidelines

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.

Example

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.

Guidelines

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.

Example

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.

Guidelines

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.

Example

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.

Guidelines

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.

Example

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.

Guidelines

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.

Example

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.

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