Gratitude for Accessible, Sensory Friendly Playgrounds Blogpost #26 

For the last decade, when our family visited local parks, I have to admit that I wasn’t very attentive to the details of the playground equipment. We were blessed with the opportunity to have a great swing set, trampoline, and jungle gym for the kids to play on in our own backyard, so we didn’t feel the need to visit our local parks very often. It wasn’t until we moved to a new community and couldn’t bring our swing set with us, because the structure couldn’t handle the long distance move, that I realized the value of having a swing set in your backyard. When one of your children physically needs a swing to help regulate and engage his sensory needs, not having a swing set feels like a big deal. So knowing we needed regular swinging in our weekly rhythms, I started taking the kids to two of our local playgrounds. 

Our local city officials worked diligently to put in a new walking trail and playground a few years ago.  Last summer, before we had the sensory diagnosis, I thought the walking trail and playground with slides, sit and spin stools, accessible swings, and climbing structure was a fun way for kids to burn off excess energy and enjoy simple, imaginative play. Flash forward one year later, and I can’t help, but notice the intentionality of literally every piece of equipment that was placed in the playground. 

When trying to form the words into sentences to express my gratitude to the city officials and local city parks departments who intentionally planned the details, lobbied for the funding, and saw the projects through from start to finish-I couldn’t be more thankful for you. It’s always eye opening to me when the Lord shifts our perspectives as we grow alongside our children. The small intentional details that others include to make our cities more physically inclusive and remove physical barriers, so all children can participate, blows me away. 

Cool fact-one of my brother-in-laws was a member of the local city council who helped make this walking trail and playground possible. It’s the beautiful kindness of the Lord for my brother-in-law to lobby for the playground to be accessible not knowing that his nephew would someday benefit from this equipment. Just one piece of equipment at this playground-a sit and spin stool- ranges in price from $659-$1,349+ a piece. With this price range, most children who could benefit from this equipment would be unable to utilize this equipment, because the price makes this possibility out of reach. Once children reach the 40-45 pound limit, the typical sit and spin toys do not support their weight. Children benefit so much from this spinning movement, but need ways to engage their bodies in this motion. We couldn’t be more grateful to have access to this equipment and the other components of the playground anytime we come visit!

Maria Montessori, an early childhood expert, once said, “Play is a child’s work.” Even though I come most frequently from a reading specialist perspective, my encouragement to parents and caregivers this summer is to get your kids outside to play each day by swinging, climbing, spinning, biking, walking, or swimming. Movement is just as important to a child’s academic growth as enjoying books together each day. In a world where we have focused so heavily on growing technologically, we must not forget the importance of moving our bodies (children and adults alike!). When we begin to move our bodies more, we shouldn’t be surprised when our emotions begin regulating themselves as well. Our Creator intentionally connected our physical, social, emotional, and cognitive growth together. 

So let’s intentionally create moments of physical activity and creativity with our children the next few months. Friends, I can’t wait to hear about the everyday type of adventures you will take with your children and grandchildren this summer!


4 responses to “Gratitude for Accessible, Sensory Friendly Playgrounds Blogpost #26 ”

  1. Kay Avatar
    Kay

    God never ceases to amaze me the way He works ALL things for our good, especially those behind-the-scenes plans. 🙌

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    1. Kallie Dace Avatar

      Absolutely-I love being able to look back and see all of God’s faithfulness. I’m so thankful to have you- a Mom who has helped me see those connections from the time I was a little girl!

      Like

  2. Kelcey Avatar
    Kelcey

    Our kiddos love this park and ask to go all the time! I never would have guessed how expensive some of this equipment might be – what a blessing that this is available for our community and kiddos! So glad to hear that your kiddos are enjoying it, too!

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    1. Kallie Dace Avatar

      I’m so thankful you and your sweet kiddos are always up for an adventure with us to the park, on the walking trails, swimming, or anything else we dream up. Doing life with you and your family is one of my favorite parts of living in the same community again. I always knew you were an amazing sister. Turns out you are an especially amazing friend. 🙂

      Like

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