Children are constant learners, and many of their learning experiences occur during playtime. An extensive body of research has demonstrated that outdoor play stimulates the development of speech, cognition, gross motor, fine motor, and social skills. Playgrounds and well-designed playground activities can create opportunities for collaborative play and social interaction, triggering such child development.
The truth is that not all playgrounds are created equally. Some playgrounds are not accessible or inclusive, while others may lack adequate and consistent maintenance. These types of playgrounds are not supportive of learning experiences through play. It is important that playgrounds and other potential public play spaces are inclusive of all, including children, parents, grandparents, and caregivers with varying conditions and abilities.
Throughout this guide you will find evidence of how playgrounds support child development, the importance of inclusive design, and resources on inclusive playgrounds. This guide provides information that will help you create learning environments at playgrounds from both design and usage perspectives. The information is specific and tailored to teachers, administrators, parents, caregivers, recreation specialists, and health professionals that utilize playground settings for emotional, cognitive, and physical child development.