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Spring 2017 Newsletter!

News Spring17Newsletter Featured | Spring 2017 Newsletter! | Creative Play

News Spring17Newsletter 0 | Spring 2017 Newsletter! | Creative PlayWelcome to our first Newsletter of 2017!

Within this article you will find out what we have been up to from installation, headlines and different product ranges!


We’ve been making the Headlines!

News Spring17Newsletter 1 | Spring 2017 Newsletter! | Creative PlayAs you may have already seen, we have been hitting the headlines across the UK lately and all for fantastic reasons. We aim to provide services to assist with each and every customer in any aspect that we can.

Let’s have a roundup of the recent headlines!

Our Lady and St Edwards Catholic Primary School:

Our Lady and St Edward Catholic Primary School had recently purchased an old children’s centre over the road to the existing school. This premises was acquired to create an EYFS area. Of course, one of the main developments of the building was the outdoor play area. Creative Play had previously worked with the school, bringing Our Lady & St Edwards Catholic Primary School to contact us again to help assist with the playground project.

See below some of the articles this playground development featured;

Wirral Life 

Chester Chronicle

Liverpool Echo

API

Living Wirral 

Birkenhead Town Talk

North West News Extra 


Llanferres Playing Field

News Spring17Newsletter 2 | Spring 2017 Newsletter! | Creative PlayThe contemporary new look, achieved with £24,000 worth of charitable grants and fundraising via the Llanferres Playing Field and Recreation Association, includes top of the range climbing, swinging and rope obstacle challenges, an exhilarating zip wire, all-weather safe surfaces and seating areas.

Welsh News Extra

Welsh Icons

API


Our 2017 Funding Pack

News Spring17Newsletter 3 | Spring 2017 Newsletter! | Creative PlayWhen embarking on a playground development project the first obstacle encountered is often funding. That is why we have recently been working extremely hard at putting together a funding pack packed full of guidance, tips and tricks, fund raising ideas and anything else funding related to try and help support you when looking at developing a play area!!

Click here to get in touch and request your exclusive funding pack


Jigsaw Range

News Spring17Newsletter 4 | Spring 2017 Newsletter! | Creative PlayWe only released our Jigsaw Play Tower Range just over 6 months and you have been loving it!

The Our Lady and St Edwards Catholic Primary School article above had one of our biggest Jigsaw towers yet. With Wood End Primary School being the first customer to ever have one installed back in July we have now done over 20 Jigsaw installations!

The Jigsaw tower range allows you to build your own custom tower to fit your requirements, area size and budget. Just chose your platform heights, components and you will be well on your way.

With over 50 different designs already created the possibilities are truly endless!

With the Jigsaw being component based this can be quite complex, but luckily for you we have a team of friendly adviser on hand across all mainland UK who can pop to your site and assist you!


Did you know we are members of the API?

News Spring17Newsletter 5 | Spring 2017 Newsletter! | Creative PlayThe Association of Play Industries (API) are the lead trade organisation within the Play Industry, actively promoting all matters relating to play. Founded in 1984 they have been ‘the voice of the play industry’ for over 30 years.

Creative Play is proud to be an active member of the API, helping to drive positive play policies and create outdoor environments which promote healthy well-being. Membership of the API requires adherence to a strict code of practice and provides our customers with a number of benefits and assurances over non-members.


 Lights, Camera, Action!!!

News Spring17Newsletter 6 | Spring 2017 Newsletter! | Creative PlayWe’ve been pressing that ‘RECORD’ button and providing you with some awesome video content; from interviews from our customers to time-lapses of installations, these have gone down brilliantly on Social Media!!!

We sure hope you have liked our page on FaceBook – Click here

Click here to follow us on LinkedIn 

We provide daily content of all the latest news, video content and anything else you can this of…

Have you not had chance to view our videos either? Click here to check out our YouTube channel with all of our video content:


2,400 Followers and Counting….

News Spring17Newsletter 7 | Spring 2017 Newsletter! | Creative PlayWe are so excited to have reached over 2,400 followers on Twitter! Our Twitter feed allows you to keep up to date with our latest news, projects and any offers we may have on as well as news about all things play!

Click here to stay up-to-date with us on Twitter

We look forward to following you back and hopefully giving you a great insight to Creative Play, in fact all things PLAY!


Thanks for reading and make sure you keep an eye out for our next Newsletter coming in Summer 2017…

 

 

 

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Seven of the Most Interesting Playgrounds in the World

Playgrounds are a common sight in cities around the world. Over the years the design of playground equipment has become more exciting and imaginative. However, in many cases, safety regulations have prevented designers of playground equipment from creating more challenging and exciting environments for children to play in.

Scientific research has proven that playground equipment plays a vital role in the development of a child’s mental and physical abilities. Along with this, it has been shown that encouraging children to take risks further aids their development. Psychologists say that preventing children from encountering and solving the challenges involved in risk-taking, increases the chance of them experiencing anxiety over everyday challenges.

While many playgrounds are carbon copies of each, lacking innovative thought, it’s fortunate to know that there are several playgrounds in existence that push the boundaries of human imagination. We’re going to take a look at some of the most imaginative and exciting playgrounds in the world.

 

Swarovski Crystal World

Renowned for their top quality crystal products, the Austrian company Swarovski used their virtually unlimited budget to create Swarovski Crystal World in 1995, the theme park has become the most popular tourist destination in Austria. The park also includes one of the most exciting playgrounds to be found anywhere. It includes a 45-foot climbing net, multiple rope swings, a trampoline and slides.

 

Lake Macquarie Variety Playground

Located in Spears Park Australia which covers almost 2 hectares of land, this playground provides an incredible array of equipment for children of all abilities, including visually impaired children and those in wheelchairs. The exciting playground facilities include a 9-metre spiral slide, 12-metre high climbing net, a maze, wheelchair accessible play boat, music play elements and plenty more. It’s no wonder the site won the award of ‘best play area in Australia’

 

 

Harry Thomas Sr. Playground

 

This Washington DC playground combines mathematics with a playful design. The Fibonacci sequence is incorporated into the spiral design that is a recurring theme throughout the playground. The Fibonacci sequence is a mathematical calculation that dictates that the next number in the sequence is the sum of the previous two. This numeric sequence is found in many naturally occurring organic shapes, from the spiral of a seashell to the pattern on most flowers. The park also has facilities for disabled children.

 

Woodlands Discovery Playground

The designers of this playground in Memphis intended to create the ultimate 21st-century play experience. To achieve this they consulted with the children who will ultimately end up using the playground. They found that children wanted a variety of different playgrounds linked together, each playground providing new and exciting challenges. In this way, children get to go on a voyage of discovery as they move between play areas.

 

Bounce Below

Bounce Below is one of many exciting and beautiful play activities to be found at Zip Line in Northern Wales. The underground wonderland has been constructed in a Victorian coal mine and features giant trampolines and bounce nets connected by walkways. The brightly lit play equipment is suspended above underground caves, the deepest of which is 180 metres.

 

City Museum St. Louis

 

A ten story building which was once used as a shoe factory has become the sight for the St. Louis City Museum. This could well be the largest playground ever created with some unusual and exciting features like a slide that descends through all ten stories of the building, ending in the basement. There are numerous climbing installations for people of all ages and a 30 ft. tall Ferris wheel on the roof of the building.

 

The Green Heart at Shaw Park

 

The benefits of outdoor play and exercise need not be limited to only children. Shaw Park in Hull has built an outdoor gym area where the whole family can enjoy the health benefits of exercising in the fresh open air.

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Stand Out & Personalise Your Playground!

Bespoke0 | Stand Out &Amp; Personalise Your Playground! | Creative Play
Bespoke0 | Stand Out &Amp; Personalise Your Playground! | Creative Play

As a company we endeavour to ensure we provide the ultimate service, to do this we constantly review feedback and look for new ways to develop as a business and improve our services.
When choosing to update your outdoor play space there are many things to consider and finding the right company that can assist you with all your needs can be difficult. This is why here at Creative Play we want you to be able to come to us with all your ideas and we will always strive to meet these as best as possible.
One of the ways we believe Creative Play will present going the extra mile is to create ‘bespoke products’ for our customers. We have done this for many customers already and want to ensure all of our customers are aware of this unique opportunity to make your playground equipment individual for you and really stand out.


Bespoke Products:

Bespoke1 | Stand Out &Amp; Personalise Your Playground! | Creative Play

We already have a huge catalogue of products but we know each and every playground is different shapes and sizes and it can be difficult to have certain pieces of playground equipment incorporated into the area. This is why Creative Play offer to create bespoke products for our customers. Anything you think of, we will try our best to ensure we provide you with the best possible solutions.


Bespoke Engravings:

Bespoke2 | Stand Out &Amp; Personalise Your Playground! | Creative Play

Many customer have already chosen this great feature to have logos, expressions, images and even names engraved onto our Playtec boards to add a real unique aspect to an outdoor play area. This has become increasingly popular and all the engraving are done onsite here in our factories with the rest of the playground equipment.


Bespoke Surfacing Designs:

Bespoke3 | Stand Out &Amp; Personalise Your Playground! | Creative Play

One of the Safety Surfaces we provide is Wetpour. We are now offering to our customers a chance to choose and engraving of their choice and to cut this into the Wetpour surface to create an exclusive characteristic to their existing outdoor playground. This could again be a logo, a name, a phrase or educational markings.
We also provide artificial grass surfacing and we have recently introduced the chance for customers to have an illustration printed onto the grass. This is great to incorporate different games into playtimes, the possibilities are endless.


Bespoke Thermoplastic Playground Markings:

Bespoke4 | Stand Out &Amp; Personalise Your Playground! | Creative Play

When choosing to include thermoplastic markings into your playground development you can be assured you will get long lasting, durable surface markings. But it might be that we don’t offer a design/shape you require. This is why we offer to produce bespoke thermoplastic markings to allow you to design your own. This could be a great thing to do with children; let them design something and we will try our best to match the image submitted to us.

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Who doesn’t love Trim Trails?!

Newstrimtrail Featured | Who Doesn'T Love Trim Trails?! | Creative Play

Trim Trails have always been popular with all of our customers making the range one of our best sellers. We have over 40 Trim Trail products and guess what?! We have added even more!!

That’s right we have added two more products, the Inclined Net and Inclined Log Climber giving children even more of a challenge in the playground!

As we now have well over 40 Trim Trail products it would be hard to tell you about them all in one article so, we have chosen some of our best sellers along with the 2 brand new products!

 

NEW! Inclined Log Climber

Newstrimtrail 1 | Who Doesn'T Love Trim Trails?! | Creative Play

Traverse the tricky Inclined Log Climber and put your balance and co-ordination skills to the ultimate test. With 5 angled logs to conquer, will you be able to pass this challenging piece of trim trail?


NEW! Inclined Net

Newstrimtrail 2 | Who Doesn'T Love Trim Trails?! | Creative Play

The Inclined Net is ideal for improving gross motor skills as well as hand-eye coordination. Constructed from our high quality timber and polypropylene covered multi-filament steel core rope net, the added inclined element is ideal for putting your balance and co-ordination skills to the test!

 


Tyre Crossing

Newstrimtrail 3 | Who Doesn'T Love Trim Trails?! | Creative PlayA real hit in the Trim Trail range because kids love it. They’ll climb over them. They’ll crawl through them. However children do it, they’ll have great fun negotiating the swinging tyres on this playground favourite. Overall it provides a great challenge and tricky way to get from one side to the other, great for testing children’s balance and coordination.


Overhead Ladder

Newstrimtrail 4 | Who Doesn'T Love Trim Trails?! | Creative PlayOur Overhead Ladder helps to challenge children’s upper body strength and requires masses of stamina to get from one side to another. This piece is perfect for linking with other pieces of equipment to build on a fun playground environment.


Climbing Wall

Newstrimtrail 5 | Who Doesn'T Love Trim Trails?! | Creative PlayThe Climbing Wall provides a low level foot and finger holds that is perfect for kids of all sizes, its bright colours and sturdy design makes it appealing too. It is great for testing children’s balance and co-ordination, keeping them busy for hours. It also come in both Playtec and Timber designs.


All of our Trim Trail can be built as a trail to create your own bespoke circuit and also to link several piece of equipment together. Overall a great addition to any outdoor playground.

Click here to view our entire Trim Trail range

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A Short History of Playgrounds

Ask anyone about their childhood memories and invariably they will conjure up images of summer days spent on the playground. It has become such an integral part of our lives that we can’t imagine a world where playgrounds didn’t exist. However, they are a relatively new addition to the urban landscape and only really became common through the course of the 20th century.

Early History

Early playgrounds looked very different to what we’ve become used to today. Let’s take a trip through history and find out where it all began. We’ll start at by looking at the humble beginnings of the playground and follow its evolution through to the modern day.

The idea of creating a playground was first introduced in Germany, essentially as a platform to teach children the correct way to play. However, it wasn’t until 1859 that the first children’s playground was built in a Park in Manchester.

 

The idea of building playgrounds for children spread to the United States and in 1886 the first playgrounds started appearing in Boston. These early playgrounds were very crude by modern standards and definitely wouldn’t comply with health and safety regulations today. When playgrounds first emerged, they usually consisted of roughly built structures, made from iron, with sharp edges that could do a lot of damage if they weren’t used properly.

Slow to Catch On

During these early days, playgrounds did not grow too much in popularity. It took until 1907 when US President Roosevelt properly introduced them. This brought about a new enthusiasm and propelled the idea further. Playgrounds became seen as a way to keep children off busy city streets, allowing them to develop their physical, mental and social skills through play.

Early playgrounds were segregated by gender, with separate play areas for boys and girls. Children were supervised on the playground and taught how to play correctly.

Throughout the early 20th century, playgrounds continued to increase in popularity. The practice of splitting children up by gender fell away and so did many of the regulations about supervision, as it became clear that children actually benefitted from playing on their own terms without adult instruction.

A Recovering Land

After World War II London saw the introduction of “junk playgrounds”. These were the brainchild of landscape architect and children’s rights activist Lady Allen of Hurtwood. In 1953 she changed the name to Adventure Playground and established the National Playing Fields Association – today this is known as the Fields in Trust. The idea was to build playgrounds from recycled material or “junk” – hence the original name. While this was initially a way to make use of the wastage left behind after the extensive bombing of London, these exciting playgrounds gained momentum and spread throughout the rest of the country.

 

As playgrounds have become more commonplace, regulatory bodies have been called in by governing bodies to manage health and safety standards and ensure that children are playing in a safe environment. New materials have since been introduced such plastics and concrete. In addition to this, there has been developments in playground surfaces to make them safer and reduce maintenance. Modern play equipment uses bright colours and many exciting and original shapes to enthuse young minds.

Modern Methods

 

Along with improved safety, playground equipment has become much more imaginative. Designers of playground equipment are constantly challenged to come up with new ideas that are aesthetically pleasing and provide children greater challenges and new fun ideas.

The playground has been evolving for over a century and will continue to do so in the future. What we can be sure of, is that the fun and creative stimulation provided by the playground will continue to excite children for generations to come.

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Community Protest in Hitchin Saves Beloved Local Playground

When residents of Hitchin in North Hertfordshire heard that their beloved Brook View playground was included in a list of 14 parks that the council had scheduled for demolition, they were outraged. The local community came together to protest the council’s decision.

Their voices were heard and on the 24th of January Councillor Jane Grey announced to the council chamber that the park would be removed from the list, much to the delight of both local parents and their children.

The council had originally intended to do away with the park as part of cost cutting measures. A Comet review revealed that annual maintenance costs for the park amounted to £2,200. This meant a total cost of £6,600 over the next three years. Added to this, a planned renovation of the park’s facilities would cost a further £75,000. This brought the total cost for the period to £81,600.

It was calculated that to remove the existing facilities would cost £5,000, meaning that the council could save £76,600 if plans went ahead to do away with the park. Brook View was the only park on the list that had been identified as a medium use facility. The reason given for placing the park on the list was that it lay in close proximity to other parks.

When news broke of the council’s decision to demolish the park, it was met with resistance from residents. Some local youngsters actually burst into tears when they heard that their neighbourhood park was doomed. Fortunately for these children, the local community protested against the decision and the council was forced to change their tune.

The success of this action has led to people raising concern over other parks on the list. The council may have to rethink their plans to close more green spaces in the area.

It should come as no surprise that Hitchin residents reacted so strongly to the park’s closure. Around the United Kingdom, parents have become increasingly aware of the benefits that playgrounds have for their children’s development. Most councils in the country have taken the decision to invest in outdoor playground facilities. It therefore seems quite bizarre that the North Hertfordshire District Council should to choose to move in the opposite direction.

Recently, a number of studies have been conducted into the positive effects that outdoor play has on children up to the age of 16. All of these reports have indicated that there is a need to increase the number of playgrounds and other natural environments in schools and neighbourhoods. This is good news for youngsters whose mental and physical development is suffering from the negative effects of spending too much time indoors.

The actions taken by Hitchin residents to save their neighbourhood park should serve as a positive example to other communities around the country. It seems clear that councils facing increased financial pressure should consider other avenues to reduce expenditure.  Saving money at the cost of our children’s development is not in our best interests.

We can all be thankful that local communities are realising the importance of providing a healthy and positive environment for our children to grow up in.

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Luxembourg Artist Installs Hundreds of Colourful Swings Above High Street Shops

Luxembourg Artist Max Mertens transformed a city centre street into a magical wonderland last year, with an artistic installation composed of hundreds of colourful swings. The work hangs above the pedestrian avenues, Rue Philipe II and Avenue de la Porte-Neuve, giving those who walk below a beautifully nostalgic journey into their youth.

The creative and playful installation was created as part of a competition organised by the Association Rue Philippe II in collaboration with the Casino Luxembourg art museum and the City of Luxembourg. It consists of 450 wooden swings hanging just out of reach of pedestrians. The ropes suspending the swings are painted in bright colours and present viewers with a fantastic and bright playground suspended above the busy city street.

While the swings have no practical use, they give the street a vibrancy and remind people of the excitement that they felt as youngsters revelling in the joy of playground fun. One observer jovially commented that pigeons are the only ones who will be using the swings “and they will have time to master how to hit humans with their ammo while being in motion.” This reflects the playful, fun energy that the installation has brought to the city centre.

The concept of using playground equipment as an artistic statement is not totally unique. The balloon swing designed by Australian architect Jesse Lockhart-Krause for a New York park, uses a swing that is suspended from a colourful hot air balloon. This lets children float above the city park whilst sitting on the swing – a fantastic experience for youngsters at play. Artist Phillippe Malouin has also used swings as an artistic expression in several installations.

The swing is one of the oldest and most common pieces of playground equipment, it remains a favourite among children and adults alike. The feeling of lightness that is generated from being suspended and flung into the air seems to be a sensation that people love. Its impact is so great that it even serves as inspiration for artists.

The joy and freedom experienced as children at the playground stays with us forever. It’s no wonder then, that there’s a worldwide resurgence in the popularity of the playground. In our modern world, the emphasis on academic education and the obsession with technology have taken children away from the playground. People are now realising that playground equipment is an important part of stimulating children in many ways.

This realisation has created a renewed interest in the role of the playground in a child’s development. Not only does it inspire children to develop whilst at play, but it also inspires creativity. It’s easy to understand how Mertens’ swing installation was accepted with so much enthusiasm. It evokes the emotions of excitement and youthful freedom. A sensation that people of any age can embrace.

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Will Virtual Reality Playgrounds Become a Popular Alternative?

The playground as we know it may soon become a thing of the past. Virtual playgrounds could be the future of creative play for children. Cited as reasons for the development of virtual playgrounds is the lack of space in urban areas and safety concerns over conventional playgrounds. The latter seems a little farfetched, as playgrounds have been a part of our lives for over a century and we seem to have survived without incurring major injuries. Furthermore, playgrounds have undergone many transformations to make them safer.

However strange as the concept may be, there could be some merit in this new type of playground. The idea of a virtual playground, named Playthings is the brainchild of George Michael Brower, founder of Always and Forever Computer Entertainment. This is an interactive media studio based in New York.

Playthings have created a magical playground where musical instruments take the form of food – hotdog xylophones and jellybean harps. The theme is based around children being able to create a musical symphony from virtual food that floats, magically suspended in a world without gravity.

The creators say that it provides children with the opportunity to explore the wildest areas of their imagination without the critical eye of onlookers. Even the smallest room can be transformed into a wonderland of virtual objects with unworldly possibilities.

As novel as the idea may be, it surely misses some of the important reasons why playgrounds are so important to childhood development. Today children are spending too much time indoors through the attraction of computerised gaming. The playground is one of the few attractions left to encourage children to spend time outdoors.

Another important role of the playground is that it develops children’s social skills through the interaction they experience with other children. Then we have the obvious benefit of healthy exercise. The time children spend running and climbing on play equipment is an important part of their physical development.

While the benefits of outdoor playgrounds are obvious, there may well be a place for virtual playgrounds. The weather can often prevent children from playing outdoors and indoor playgrounds can become crowded. On cold, rainy winter days it might be a great idea for children to escape to the wonderland of a virtual playground, where they can indulge their imaginations without sitting in front of the television. Many parents are likely to disagree with the argument that regular playgrounds are an unsafe place for their children to spend their leisure time.

There’s no doubt that the virtual playground will be met with a good deal of enthusiasm, it’s a novel and imaginative idea. Children always love something new and different, as long as they’re having fun.

For all the parents and children who fear that play areas will disappear from our towns and cities, rest assured. It’s very unlikely that virtual playgrounds will ever replace conventional ones. They cannot provide the same level of challenge, stimulation and exercise compared to genuine outdoor playgrounds. Besides this is the fact that we’ve all come to appreciate the playground as an important part of our children’s lives and our own childhoods.

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The Obamas Donate White House Swing set to Local DC Shelter

When the newly elected US President Donald Trump was preparing to take up residence in the white house, outgoing president Barak Obama offered the swing set that he had installed for his two daughters to Trump for his ten-year-old son Barron. Much to everyone’s surprise, Trump declined the offer.  However, it seems that every cloud has a silver lining. The Obama family decided to donate the playground equipment to the shelter, Jobs Have Priority Naylor Road Programme in Southeast Washington DC.

When the Obamas moved into the Whitehouse in March 2009, their two daughters Sasha and Malia were aged 7 and 10 years old respectively. One afternoon after returning from school the two girls were delighted to see a wonderful swing set had been erected on the south lawn of the Whitehouse garden, below the oval office. Onlookers say that the two girls literally squealed with delight when they first saw it. For the next eight years, the girls had hours of exciting play outdoors, while their father could look down from his office through the course of a busy day discussing world affairs.

Many parents may wonder why Trump decided not accept the playground equipment – a beautiful wooden structure with swings, a fort, climbing wall, a slide and climbing ropes. Attached to it was a plaque which reads “Malia and Sasha’s castle”. Whatever Trump’s reasoning may have been, the playground set is going to be put to good use, allowing underprivileged children the opportunity to experience the joys of outdoor play.

During a celebration to mark Martin Luther King Day, the ex-president and the first lady handed over the playground equipment to the ecstatic youths at the shelter. It’s wonderful to think that these children who have so few opportunities in life can have this simple pleasure. The equipment will not only provide the city children with hours of outdoor fun, but will also aid their development both physically and mentally.

There were many who found the handing over ceremony to be an emotional occasion and were moved to tears as they imagined the extent of good that this small act of kindness would do. Donating used play equipment to children who have very little certainly won’t bring an end to world hunger or war, but it has brought immense joy to a group of Washington children who don’t have the same opportunities as many others.

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Oxfordshire Council Begin £300,000 Revamp of Riverside Area with Playground

The riverside play area at Abbey Meadow in Abington is set to give the playground a new lease of life. In early January work began on a £300,000 project to revamp the existing playground. District Councillor Charlotte Dickson was onsite to mark the event, saying that she was delighted that the project was underway.

The project will be providing local youngsters with an exciting range of new play equipment. One exciting feature consists of a climbing area based on the town’s old abbey. There will also be a feature depicting a river complete with a boat and miniature Abington lock, along which children can walk. The children can also look forward to a sensory play area with a play garden, a broad slide, trampoline and an informal play area for activities like ball games. The park will also include regular play equipment like swings, a roundabout, climbing net and a zip line.

Dickson said that she is really looking forward to seeing young children playing on the equipment when the park reopens later this year. While the project is underway the old play area will be closed to the public. The council plans to complete the new playground by this summer, with the addition of new public toilets later in the year.

District Council leader Matthew Barber joined Dickson at the new site, pointing out that this is one of several projects of its kind in the area. Last year the council provided new play equipment in Faringdon and Wantage.

These projects display the Oxfordshire council’s commitment to providing local children with the opportunity to experience the joy of outdoor play. Across the length and breadth of the United Kingdom councils, schools and local communities are experiencing a renewed interest in providing quality play areas for children. This is in keeping with a worldwide trend in realising the benefits that outdoor play presents for a child’s development.

Research has shown that children who spend at least one hour per day playing outdoors show increased development of motor skills, improved concentration and improved social skills. Parents and teachers are encouraging children to spend more time on the playground, getting involved in healthy play activities.

Projects like Abbey Meadow’s show that city councils are taking the call to provide safe and stimulating play areas for children seriously. This is an encouraging sign for parents, who have indicated that there are not enough areas where urban children can experience the benefit of outdoor play.

Over the past few years many local councils have provided funding for the upgrading of playground equipment and facilities. It is hoped that many more will follow this example. Investing in the wellbeing and development of children today, will ensure a better future for the country. Healthy happy children will grow to become eager and productive adults, which will be an asset to society.

We can be sure that the children of Abington will experience many years of joy from the new playground equipment at the park. This should encourage them to spend more time experiencing the benefits that this type stimulation provides.

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California Franchise Builds Sensory Play Gyms Designed for Autistic Children

A brand new gym was opened recently in the city of Arvada, Colorado. The gym is specifically designed for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and is part of the California-based We Rock the Spectrum franchise.

Autism Spectrum Disorder is a developmental disability that causes social, communication and behavioural changes. It is known as a spectrum disorder because it affects people differently, and symptoms can range from mild to severe. About 1.4% of US citizens suffer from the disorder and in the UK this figure is 1.1%.

We Rock the Spectrum gyms provide a safe environment for children with autism and special needs to develop their skills. The gym features 10 different kinds of therapeutic equipment, each designed to deal with the sensory processing issues facing children with the disorder – providing children with the “sensory diet” needed to improve learning and neurological development.

An example of how this works can be seen in the use of a zip line that aids children by providing vestibular sensation, whilst also developing upper arm and core strength.

Owners of the new gym, Amy and Abe Woszczynski discovered the franchise when their five year old son was diagnosed with the disorder. Less than a year later they opened the first gym of its kind in Colorado and a second one is to follow soon.

The proud new owners of the gym feel that it is particularly beneficial because children with the disorder can play alongside children who don’t. This aids their social development and serves to remove the stigma associated with autism.

Facilities such as this one demonstrate the extent to which children are able to learn and develop through play. It is well known that play equipment can also aid development in children who don’t suffer from any form of disability. However for children suffering from Autism Spectrum Disorder and other disabilities, specialised playground equipment does much to help minimise the effects of their disability.

Affording autistic children opportunities such as this not only gives them a chance to enjoy fun activity, but also allows them to interact with other children. Through this interaction they’ll feel less excluded from society develop their self-confidence and general social skills.

With the correct guidance and therapy, children with autism are able to play a meaningful role in society. Facilities that provide fun and stimulating environments development create a wonderful opportunity for children and their parents too.

We are delighted that it’s becoming more common to find playgrounds that cater to children with all types of disabilities. These facilities encourage children with disabilities and those without, to interact in a regular environment. Through doing this, we are developing a generation that is free from the prejudice and ignorance that leads to the marginalisation of people with disabilities.

People have become aware of the important role playgrounds have in many aspects of any child’s physical, social and mental development. The idea of learning through play affects virtually every aspect of their development. For children facing additional challenges brought about by disabilities, the importance of playground learning is so much more significant.

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American University Highlights the Benefits of Sensory Play for Brain Development

 

Observing the way in which toddlers play with building blocks have shown a lot about how children learn about the world around them from an early age. A study conducted by Michigan State University has looked into the effects of sensory learning and how this develops cognitive skills.

From very early on, children form an awareness of objects using all five senses. Using the example of a young child playing with blocks we can see that they use their eyes and hands to experience the shape, weight and feel of each block. Initially, they will smell and taste the blocks, soon realising that they all taste and smell the same. By going through these processes they form a complete understanding of what a playing block is. This may seem like a simple and self-explanatory process, but it says a lot about how we begin to form cognitive understanding.

Cognitive skills are used for problem solving and creative thinking.  A child that has well developed cognitive skills will be better equipped to solve mathematical and scientific problems. In later life, cognitive skills will help them be more inventive and come up with innovative ideas which may well lead to major new discoveries in the future.

Sensory play is a vital part of early childhood development. It forms the foundation for all further learning including reading, mathematics and science. By experiencing sensory development early on, a child will be able to draw on these skills later in life to aid with problem-solving and facing new challenges.

The playground offers children one of the best opportunities for sensory play. Sensory gardens have become a very popular part of the modern playground. What may seem like a simple play activity, for example playing with water and sand, is actually an important learning experience.

When a child plays with water and sand, all their senses are stimulated and they are inadvertently learning valuable scientific truths that will make later learning much easier. Through touch and feel, they learn the difference between liquid and solid. Through sight, they experience mass – observing that sand sinks in water. The sound of water is different to that of sand, as is its taste and sensation in the mouth. A child will soon learn that sand is not that good to eat and that it causes an unpleasant sensation in the mouth.

All these things seem obvious to us as adults, but the fact is that we had to learn this. The earlier in life we get to do so, the better our chances are of developing good cognitive skills. Providing children with a safe environment to explore their sensory perception in their early development will provide them with the skills needed to succeed in later life.

It is important to allow young children the freedom to discover and learn through play. It must, however, be pointed out that the environment in which they explore their senses should be safe and controlled to a reasonable degree. Learning that sharp objects are dangerous through sensory perception is certainly not the best way for a child to do this.

Play equipment that is created to aid a child’s sensory development is specifically designed to present them with challenges that do not put them at unnecessary risk.