Winter Inclusive Play Activities

Figure 1. Example of Proposed Indoor Inclusive Playground in New Jersey (1)

Although the winter might seem to be coming to an end on this lovely 54 ℉ and partly sunny day in Boston, being outdoors for extended periods of time might not be ideal just yet, especially with small children. Playgrounds might still not be up to active conditions yet in recovering from the winter snow and piles of fallen leaves still on the ground so an indoor activity might be the best option for families for this long President’s Day weekend.

 

Looking through some recommendations and areas in and around the Boston area, the Playground Project: INDIGO realized that many activities require a entrance fee and do not have inclusive equipment for children of all abilities. Tara Jordan highlights nine indoor play spaces in Boston on the Mommy Nearest website which include spaces with features like interactive puzzles on the floor with Beam technology, dinosaur climbing structures, ball pits and indoor trampolines. The nine spaces vary in the amount of play area and age range focus, making sure that families can pick the most suitable option for their own children. Some other indoor play spaces in Boston are highlighted in the Mommy Poppins blog with free weekly or daily activities for kids, although these options might be less spacious than other indoor play areas.

 

Taking advantage of museum exhibits, like the Museum of Science, which always offers space for kids to play, and the Museum of Fine Arts, featuring an interesting M.C. Escher exhibit this February and March, might also satisfy a weekend family outing. Although these cultural experiences are great options, they do require purchasing a ticket which can be pricey. The Playground Project: INDIGO hopes that inclusive play be accessible to all regardless of economic ability as well, leading us to look at other alternatives for indoor play that wouldn’t break the budget.

 

Indoor activities for play that are convenient for days to stay inside the house (snow days, for example) call for creativity and provide a great opportunity to help a child develop through play. Many ideas have been published through blogs and we came across one set that even separates activities by categories of learning outcomes, like science or art, AND they are mostly made with household items! Although we think many cities need to improve winter play facilities to be accessible throughout the year, families can be inspired to create their own private space and encourage inclusive play, or check out local play spaces in museums or indoor gyms.

 

 

Sources:

 

  1. Wiener, Robert. “Inclusive Lifetown gets grant for ‘park’ : Adapted playground part of full-immersion center for special-needs kids,” NJ Jewish News. http://njjewishnews.com/article/26699/inclusive-lifetown-gets-grant-for-park?source=njjnrelated#.WnsJWainGM8
  2. Jordan, Tara. “9 Favorite Indoor Play Spaces in Greater Boston,” Mommy Nearest. (https://www.mommynearest.com/edition/boston/article/9-favorite-indoor-play-spaces-in-greater-boston)
  3. Heyworth, Kelley. “12 Free Places to Play Indoors around Boston,” Mommy Poppins. (https://mommypoppins.com/boston-kids/free-activities/12-free-places-to-play-indoors-around-boston)
  4. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. http://www.mfa.org/
  5. Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston. https://www.icaboston.org/
  6. Museum of Science, Boston. https://www.mos.org/
  7. “Indoor Activities for Kids,” What Do We Do All Day. https://www.whatdowedoallday.com/indoor-activities-for-kids/

Throwback Thursday – Sand Gardens

Ever wonder how the modern American playground originated? We stumbled upon this revealing Boston Globe article detailing the history of playgrounds in Boston. At the end of the 19th century, open space in Boston was hard to come by. In 1885, the country’s first “sand garden” was introduced to the City of Boston- what we now refer to as a sand box.

By 1886 there were three of them in the city, by 1887 there were ten. And in 1889 an “outdoor gymnasium” opened in the West End, including 10-acres of swings, see-saws, and sand. In his 1897 inaugural address, Mayor Quincy proposed that every ward in Boston should have a playground, igniting the “playground movement”. By 1906, the Playground Association of America had held its first meeting.

The sandbox may now seem a bit outdated, as playgrounds have evolved to include more inclusive play elements. Boston’s commitment to safe and available play has persisted well into the 21st century, with the focus on inclusivity improving with each passing decade.

Read the full article here: https://www.bostonglobe.com/ideas/2014/03/28/how-american-playground-was-born-boston/5i2XrMCjCkuu5521uxleEL/story.html

Inclusive Play: Why it matters

Hello inclusive play enthusiasts! This past week, while doing research we stumbled upon an article that talks about inclusive play and given its relevance, we wanted to share it on here.

When people ask what The Playground Project does, we say that we research and advocate for inclusive play spaces in the greater Boston area – but not everyone understands exactly what inclusive play is. People most often picture wheelchair accessible spaces when they hear this, but inclusive play is much more than accessibility: inclusive play stresses the importance of and benefits for people of all abilities to play together. And the emphasis (as you might’ve noticed) is in the word “together” because is is crucial when talking about inclusive play. When a playground facilitates and encourages the interaction and integration of kids of all abilities, an opportunity is created. An opportunity for the creation of a positive and welcoming environment and the development of cognitive, sensory and social skills, all important in a child’s development.

While accessible playgrounds help to ensure that people of different physical abilities have access to the playground, it often does not do enough to cater to the needs of children with mental disabilities. Apart from wheelchair ramps and accessible swings, for example, an inclusive playground would have equipment for children with these mental disabilities to interact and integrate into the environment. And here is where equipment with sensory play and water play come into… well… play.

If you enjoyed our take on inclusive play and why it matters, take a look at the article below for more! If you want to know more about sensory play and water play, make sure to check back soon for a sneak peek of a project that our research team has been working on.

Hemsworth, Jerri. “Inclusive Play and Accessible Play: What’s The Difference?” Inspiring Play Magazine. N.p., 27 Nov. 2012. Web. 28 Mar. 2016. <http://inspiringplay.com/inclusive-play-and-accessible-play-whats-the-difference/>.