The Importance of Play
Play is important for all children. Through play, children develop the skills they need for life; learning to socialise and interact with others, developing creativity and imagination while helping with emotional and cognitive growth.
Play gives children opportunities to take risks and challenges in a safe environment. Besides the obvious benefits of movement, exercise and fitness, physical play also provides the building blocks for a child’s complete physical development, from balance, vision and hearing, to tactile learning and sensory integration.
What is Inclusive Play?
Inclusivity goes beyond accessibility. Accessibility refers to the physical ability of people to access a place or thing, addressing the movement needs of people with disabilities such as equipment, surfacing and supporting facilities to create an all-abilities playspace.
Inclusivity considers so much more than just accessibility by considering as many needs as possible; providing a welcoming place where people feel comfortable yet challenged, and removing obstacles and barriers that prevent people of all ages, cultural backgrounds and abilities (both physical and mental) from participating.
Inclusive Play in 2020
Inclusive Play guidelines are being introduced in most states in Australia, with a commitment to set best practice recommendations so that playgrounds and recreational facilities are accessible and inviting to all.
The release of the NSW “Everyone can Play” guidelines outlines the key principles of inclusive playspaces and provides best practise recommendations and tools to encourage the creation of more inclusive playspaces. It is intended to help designers and those planning playspaces to do the best with what they have, within the budget and site constraints they are faced with.
It’s important to note that inclusion is a sliding scale; not all playspaces can cater to everyone. Current playspace design theory and an acknowledgment of how universal design creates comfortable and inclusive places are the driving principles behind the “Everyone Can Play” guidelines.
Not everyone has the luxury to completely overhaul their facilities overnight, however a few small upgrades can make a huge difference to children being able to play together and for their playspaces to become more inclusive.
Upgrading an Existing Space
Upgrade existing pathways to accommodate wheelchair and stroller access through the use of concrete, rubber or compacted hard surfaces
Introduce signage to help users navigate their way through the recreational space – especially useful for visitors with sensory impairment – to contribute to a sense of comfort, safety and security.
Add Inclusive Play elements
Truly inclusive play equipment involves children of all abilities playing together – laughing and socialising together without prejudice. From accessible equipment to sensory panels and active play, there are a number of ways you can bring a few inclusive play pieces into the recreational space to improve overall inclusivity
Inclusive Play Product Recommendation
The Inclusive Orbit is an all-abilities carousel that promotes inclusion for children of all ages and abilities. As a stand-alone playground element, the Inclusive Orbit can be installed and integrated into an existing playground space, fulfilling community needs for inclusive options without the need to overhaul the entire playspace.
As an activity, spinning helps children learn about the cause-and-effect relationships of body position and movement as they play. With no limits to the speed they can achieve, this carousel provides a versatile and innovative way to explore vestibular movement and challenge themselves.
Supported by a strong galvanised steel sub-frame, the inclusive orbit deck sits flush with the surrounding ground level to allow all-abilities and wheelchair platform access. The textured deck surface gives users sure footing in all-weather conditions, while the stainless steel handrails and support bars give all users numerous self-securing options.
With provision for multiple users, key features include;
- One wheelchair, one standing and one seated bay
- Manufactured in the UK, backed by our Australian warranty and maintenance team
- Low ongoing maintenance costs and greaseable stainless bearings
- A world-class, highly engineered unit, compliant with Australian Playground Standards (AS4685:2014) and (EN1176:2008)
The Inclusive Orbit comes complete with a full set of straightforward installation documentation, allowing you or your team to install on-site with ease.
- Covered by 15-year warranty on the steel sub-frame
- 5 year warranty on the platform and seating panels
- 25 year warranty on all stainless steel elements
The Inclusive Orbit
The Inclusive Orbit offers a sensory rich and inclusive play experience – allowing children of all abilities to develop the strong sensory and motor systems that are so vital for their futures.
The motion of spinning offers vestibular and proprioceptive stimulation as users experiment with centrifugal force, and the cause and the effect of body weight and positioning in motion. Allowing every child to experience the thrill of sensory-motor play transforms the playground into a remarkable space where children can develop their bodies, brains and self-esteem, laying the foundations for healthy, interactive lives.
All children need play to enhance their individual development and the Inclusive Orbit brings inclusive play to a higher level encouraging collaborative play for users regardless of ability.
Children with a range of developmental disorders directly benefit from the motion of spinning, including Sensory Processing Disorder, Down Syndrome, and Autism. Spina Bifida, Muscle Weakness, Cerebral Palsy and Muscular Dystrophy limit mobility and the wheelchair bay affords an opportunity for all children to be equal through play.
How does the Inclusive Orbit build sensory awareness and brain and physical development?
The motion of spinning activates core muscle groups as users shift their weight to maintain balance. Children adapt the amount of force required to spin at a pace that works for them and their friends – adjusting their muscle contractions accordingly
Spinning increases vestibular tolerance – playing a critical role in normal motor development, motion tolerance, gaze stabilisation and focus, postural control and spatial orientation
Essential life systems such as respiration, gastrointestinal and heart rate are directly affected by the vestibular “sense organ”, influencing overall sensory processing and general states of awareness
Development of visual skills and perception of objects relative to other visually perceived objects – known as visual localisation – is developed and maintained through movement and spinning
Initiating and maintaining the spinning motion of the Inclusive Orbit – as well as entering and exiting the equipment – allows users to develop motor planning skills; essential for all physical activities and training the body to move in the way we want it to
Multi-sensory stimulation is integrated in the brain requiring touch, movement, vision and hearing for good planning and sequencing
The different bays – standing, seated and wheelchair – of the Inclusive Orbit allows for children and adults of all abilities to spin and interact together – eliminating bias and exclusion
Children learn tolerance and understanding as they adjust the speed and motion to consider the needs of younger and less able-bodied users
Users laughing and sharing experiences helps us to bond socially. Laughter stimulates the release of endorphins, improving digestive function, heart and lung issues and pain perception.