Landscape Structures is proud to work alongside STAR (Sensory Therapies and Research) and the Sensory Processing Disorder Foundation (SPD) to promote and understand the developmental benefits that are obtained by children while playing on inclusive playground equipment. In hopes of allowing children to use their playgrounds to develop their bodies, brains, and self-esteem, Landscape Structures keeps in mind the importance of an inclusive playground and its ability to appeal to the 7 senses of sensory play. These senses include: Tactile, Proprioceptive, Vestibular, Visual, Auditory, Motor Planning, and Social/Imaginative. Each piece of equipment may appeal to any one or any combination of these senses. Inclusive elements of the playground are designed to accommodate children with Down Syndrome, sensory disorders, and visual and hearing impairments.
Tactile Senses: These are senses that help a child determine the feeling of different materials i.e. smooth vs rough.
Proprioceptive Senses: Are sense associated with movement. Examples include using your muscles to climb along a rock wall or swing from monkey bars. These senses are also used to determine how much force is needed to go a certain speed on say a swing or tilt a whirl.
Vestibular Senses: Determine balance and body position. This sense could be demonstrated by hanging upside down and feeling the gravity pulling you down head first, or by laying in a swing on your stomach rather than sitting on it.
Visual Senses: Probably the easiest to understand. These senses can be stimulated by bright colors, or on such equipment that may require visual localization, such as merry-go-rounds and see-saws.
Auditory Senses: Are some of the more difficult senses to appeal to in a playground but could come from interactive equipment that features sound, or be as simple as the sound of rotating blocks (tic tac toe) or a slide made up of roller bars that make a sound when rolled.
Motor Planning Skills: Incorporated when a child can plan his/her next move on an object such as a rock wall or some monkey bars. There could be more than one path to take and this stimulates the motor planning skills to determine which path may be the best for him/her to take.
Social/Imaginative Skills: The best parts of being a kid are the limitless imagination and the ability to interact with other children who are just as imaginative. Where is a better place for the two to thrive than a playground?! This is accomplished by forming an area meant for kids to gather, such as an Eagle’s Nest or Cozy Dome, or by giving the playground a specialized theme such as castles, knights, and dragons or planes, trains, and automobiles.