This week, at the US Conference on the Value of Play, we’ve attended some insightful sessions on the importance of creating universally designed playgrounds, integrated play experiences and at the most basic level – access for all. At IPEMA, we’re dedicated to helping improve the quality of people’s lives through outdoor free play. But in order to do that, we need to ensure our playgrounds are a welcoming environment to people – both kids and caregivers – of all abilities.
The timing of this conference is fortuitous. On March 15, 2012, the construction of new playgrounds and alterations of new current facilities will be subject to new 2010 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Standards.
For landscape architects, community leaders, playground managers and builders, we understand these standards may seem daunting. It doesn’t have to be. With adequate planning, compliance with the standards can – and should – be a simple, extremely worthwhile endeavor to advance the goal of play for all.
To help you with the transition process, we are proud to introduce IPEMA’s Checklist for Access.
This checklist provides everything you need to know about access route dimensions, surfacing requirements and play equipment ramps and transfer stations for playgrounds of all sizes.
While the new ADA Standards will only apply to playgrounds being constructed or undergoing alteration after March 15, IPEMA believes in the value of equal play for all. If your community budget allows, we encourage you to look over IPEMA’s Checklist for Access and consider proactively making the changes to your playground.
If you have any questions about the changes, feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Download IPEMA’s Checklist for Access.
Share Your Thoughts: What do you think about the new 2010 ADA Standards for playgrounds? Comment, tweet us or write on our Facebook wall.
Hello to everyone – we’re on the third and final day of the US Conference on the Value of Play – and we’re finally going to get a chance to play a little ourselves this afternoon – Looking forward to it!
Yesterday ended on a high note for us – listening to our Voice of Play Board of Advisors member Dr. Joe Frost, as last night’s keynote speaker. Dr. Frost delivered a motivational, fact-based presentation about the most recent research published on the benefits of play, touching on topics such as obesity, screen time and nutrition. Dr. Frost stressed the importance of play, health and well-being for our entire lives.
This morning’s keynote was a perfect follow up. Dr. Bernard Griesemer, a pediatrician who coined himself the “bad cop” to Dr. Frost’s “good cop” spoke to the group about the dangers of inactivity. His eye-opening presentation was a true reminder of how we can hurt our kids if we don’t provide enough opportunities for outdoor activity. Dr. Griesemer called all of us in the play industry ‘allied health professionals’ and encouraged us to liaise with doctors and nurses to provide comprehensive wrap-around care.
Our second session this morning was a great case study of the phenomenal work being done by Peggy Stewart and her team at the Chicago Parks Department. By offering a “Passport to Nature,” Peggy’s team strives to introduce Chicago families to nature through the city parks system. Their play camps and family adventure days gave us all food for thought as we go home and implement some of these ideas.
Greetings again from the 2012 Conference on the Value of Play (#CVP12)! Everyone is full of excitement and energy here in Greenville, SC.
This morning we listened to some interesting insight from Dr. Geoffrey Godbey, consultant, speaker and professor emeritus in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Management at Penn State University, who spoke about the importance of play for all ages in his keynote address, “Taking the Benefits of Lifetime Play Seriously.”
Next we broke into our first educational session of the day, where Lisa Moore provided us with a compilation of the best practices from leading scholars – including Voice of Play Board of Advisors members Dr. Joe Frost and Dr. Stuart Brown — on play in “Words on Play: Making Play a Priority in Communities.”
Megan Tulac and Dr. Stuart Brown followed up the discussion with a presentation on their work in assembling the comprehensive IPEMA-funded project, Encyclopedia of Play Science, an online database of play research. We are very excited to see the project launch in the near future!
Jackie Epping, M.Ed., of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of Nutrition and Physical Activity warned of the alarming rise in obesity rates and discussed how play and physical activity are an essential part of the solution to this growing public health crisis.
After lunch, Ken Finch educated an interested group about Nature Preschools – an effort to immerse preschool kids in nature to help their overall education and create lifetime conservationists. The session was called “Preschools that Nurture the Nature Bond – Playfully!”
It’s been a busy day here, but there’s still plenty of play-fueled fun to come! We’ll share it all with you here in the Play Café. You can also follow our tweets and Facebook posts live from the event.
What a whirlwind 24 hours it’s been since touching down yesterday afternoon in Greenville, SC for the 2012 Conference on the Value of Play (#CVP12). We immediately hit the ground running by attending a thought-provoking committee meeting on Inclusive Play. The group brainstormed about ways to further the discussion about inclusive play and attempted to define the difference between access and integration (both important!) The session ended with a call to action to contact allied groups for further discussion. Next, we attended the Development committee meeting – and heard from U.S. Play Coalition Co-Chair Fran Mainella some great news about the growth of the U.S. Conference on the Value of Play. We’re pleased that IPEMA and the Voice of Play’s sponsorship can help support such a worthy cause. The evening concluded with a keynote speech from Mr. Li Weiting, Deputy Director General of the Shanghai Administration of Sports – who shared best practices for incorporating sports and physical activity into all aspects of citizens’ lives. A great start to an inspiring three days.
For more, follow us live from the event on Facebook and Twitter.
By Adam J. Mohney
Aside from perhaps the dog days of summer, the heart of winter is arguably the most difficult time of the year to keep your kids outdoors and active. While winter has been mild for most of us in the Northern Hemisphere this year, one can’t help but think that some sustained colder weather must lie ahead. Here are five ways to keep your kids outside for their full hour of play all winter long.
1. Dress them in layers— This is an idea that has been ingrained into all of our minds since grade school, but it truly does work. That big, thick winter coat may seem like enough to keep your kids warm, but underneath it, they should be sporting a thermal top, t-shirt and sweatshirt, depending on the temperature. This will keep them both dry and warm, while also giving them the option to shed a layer or two should they begin to overheat.
2. Buy the right fabric materials—Perhaps the only thing as important as layering is the composition of those layers. Refrain from bundling your kids in cotton or denim outer layers, and instead dress them in affordable and functional thermal layers and waterproof materials. This will prevent them from growing cold by getting wet and help trap in their body heat to keep them warmer for longer periods of time.
3. Keep spare articles of clothing with you—While you may have gone through all the steps to make sure your kids are bundled up properly, the spirit of play is unkind to the idea of warm hands, a dry head and toasty toes. Keep spare gloves, socks, scarves and hats with you so that a plop in the snow bank can quickly be remedied and play time can continue.
4. Use hand warmers—Incredibly cheap and amazingly effective, hand warmers will keep your kids’ fingers and toes warm throughout their hour of play.
5. Offer a warm post-play treat—Whether in a thermos or on the table upon return indoors, a warm bowl of chicken noodle soup or cup of hot cocoa is the ultimate post-play novelty. This will not only be much appreciated by your youngsters, but it also gives them something to look forward to after they maintain their daily active lifestyle throughout the winter months.
While these strategies may be a good start to keeping your kids playing outside all winter long, each child is different. Some children may not enjoy cold weather and early sunsets may prevent some opportunities to play. In these cases, setting up a play area in your home that is geared towards physical activity may be a viable alternative. Clear out the basement, spare room or den and allow your kids’ imaginations to take it from there. Whatever the case, play time in February and early March is just as important to maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle as it is any other time of year.
Hot or Cold: Which is worse for play? Answer our new Facebook question!