Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A park, I want everyone's thoughts

While I am stuck inside for yet another day, I have time to think and to plan.

I have been looking into creating a full accessible park right here in my county, Loudoun County. Yesterday (yes amidst the snow) a hand full of people I trust, came to my house to discuss early planning for such a park. We do not have any approval yet, we are exploring our options at this point.

Since last summer, a park has been on my mind. We went to a park that was amazing. It was the first time all three of my boys were playing together. I want that right here for our community. Something big, with lots of action...looking for the WOW factor!

Here is where I need your thoughts...
Are there parks/playgrounds near you that are fully accessible?
What is your favorite part of a playground?
Where do your children play most? The least?
What would you put in a playground?
Here is an idea we are tossing around. The park theme of Our Town, something to reflect our county. With a section that is all about the city and the other all about the country. What could be some things in it?

I want lots of comments, thoughts, suggestions, lots of them. If you have never commented before, you need to comment. Just click below of the the word comment, you can be anonymous if you like. I just want lots and lots of input.

We hope to present something to our local county directors by spring.


The Henrys said...

I love the pics of the park that you visited. A maze would be really fun. I have never been to a park with a maze.

One thing that I hate is going to a park with no bathroom. Have a bathroom with a family room, so that both my husband and I can go in to change our daughter.

Also, make it non-smoking. My daughter can't be around smoke and it makes us upset when we want to go to a park, but people are smoking.

I haven't thought about this before, so I will try to think of more ideas.

Wherever HE Leads We'll Go said...

What a great idea. I tried to find one in my area and when I got there, there was just one swing that looked "special". Not really what I had in mind!

I wish I had ideas to share - I am just not creative. Sorry!

The VW's said...

We have a boundless playground a few miles from our house. It's called "Frog Hollow Boundless Playground", in Wyoming Michigan.

I always thought this was a great thing, but after Gavin was born it became so much more important to me!

I think that it is GREAT that you are looking into doing this!

The playground by our house it on a hospital's property. I know that they put some money into getting it going, but it was also funded by some other organizations.

I found a couple of websites that may be of some help to you.

On the second website's page I saw that you could make a video and get a $5000 equipment grant.

Our other boys love going to our park. They wouldn't know that it's a playground that is accessible for wheelchairs, because it's fun for everyone! Ours is a small park, but it is still lots of fun!

I agree that the playground should have a restroom, and be smoke-free and also have a covered area for shade.

Hope this works out for your area! It would be such a blessing for so many children!

The VW's said...

Also, if you want to see some pictures that I took at the park by our house, I did a blog on it. Just go to our blog and look on the lefthand sidebar under "Blog Archives." I posted on this playground on July 14, 2009.

And, WOW! It looks like you guys did get a lot of snow according to that picture you posted! Looks pretty, but COLD! BRRR!

Anonymous said...

what a fantastic idea!

a school near me (alternatives for children on long island) was in the paper a few years ago for making a sound garden playground. i googled it and found the company who i think helped them. (i can't find the article with pics)

this is the school that created it (if you want to contact them)

and here's what they say about it on their website.

"The Sound Play playground is unique in that if provides learning experiences for a variety of children with hearing, vision and other related disabilities using a multi-modality approach. "

hope this helps!

Anonymous said...

There should be separate areas for older and younger kids.. too many times we have gone to the park only to have my youngest over run by older kids.. we have a park by us that has the concrete water type pipes, filled with sand that kids can climb on and in.. large enough for wheelchairs to go through..

Araceli said...

For one, I think parks should have that bouncy rubber like material instead of sand or wood pieces or concrete. Ill see if I can find a picture to post. I couldnt copy and paste it but try that link, if not try google "rubber material for playgrounds" and click on images... I think this is much nicer for kids to run on without the danger of falling on concrete or even the wooden pieces that can still hurt kids. Plus its easy to roll weelchairs and strollers through not like sand and wood chips.

I agree on the non smoking (at least not in the playground area)...

The restrooms is a HUGE deal for me. Some of the parks in my community still have bathrooms with multiple toilets and NO doors! I would suggest bigger bathroom area with multiple toilets with doors, and a private comfortable size handicap restroom weelchair friendly.

Another thing, for the actual slides and swings, I would suggest having both low and higher (normal higth) slides and swings. I would suggest widder swings with seatbelts for special needs...

If I think of more I will let you know :)

littleharves said...

my son who had pontocerebellar hypoplasia type 2 just passed away on sunday at the age of 13 months. not only did psalm 139 get read at his service because of this blog site, i now find myself completely inspired yet again by this blog site to create a park for families to use who have children with profound disabilities. i am an architect and my son had visual and hearing impairments, he had no voluntary movement at all, no head control, he couldn't spend all of his time on his back as that was cruel but he also couldn't be completely upright either as this placed too much pressure on his lungs, he had many other issues which we don't need to talk about here. he did however love being outside as we all do . we as parents of children like my harvey often get very inventive around the home with different ways to either position our kids or to stimulate them and give them as many different experiences as possible. or we utilise equipment at therapy centres once or twice a week, or bring it home filling our houses up with crazy things.
however, i am now , after reading what you are all discussing , going to try my darndest to get a playground set up that whole families can share so parents with kids with disabilities can have bbq's and picnics with friends who have regular kids and they can all play, experience, sense, feel and share a happy day outside together, thanks so much and once i've done some research and creative thinking i would love to work with you so that we can both achieve this dream on our two different sides of the planet xxx anne

A Lil Story (Bilslands) said...

I don't know of any fully accessible parks near us... but I think that is an amazing idea!

I love a park that has a separate area for little ones, like toddler ages(smaller slides/steps all that) and stuff for the bigger kids, so all ages have fun.

Also, a nice bathroom is great(i just went to a park recently that had porta-johns... no good with kids!)

Anyway, good luck with your project! keep us updated =)


Courtney said...

we love playgrounds!
bathrooms and water fountains are great...and picnic tables WITH TRASH CANS.
and some shade is nice.

Shannon said...

Here is a site that may have some interesting ideas:

-Shady areas are a must. Especially for kids more sensitive to the sun from meds.

-Picnic ares are also such a bonus. The playground provides such a wonderful place for families to host parties in a safe and fun way. Plus, you can bring in income with renting out pavilions.

-Our favs at Clemi..lots of swing options, the exploring areas with planes/trains/houses, carousel.

Anonymous said...

my school got a grant for a playground canopy. i'm not sure who made it, but i'm sure you could find a company that has them. it allows light through, but not direct sunlight, which seems to cause seizures/overheating for some of the students in my school. its also grea tb/c it keeps the ground and eqipment cool.

FYI - that rubberized floor material is great - but if you sit on it, it leaves black marks on your pants/ blackens shoes/braces and knees when kids crawl on it (that's one thing the parents in my class complain about...sigh) - and it gets hot. i'm sure by now they've made a something new that will avoid that.

i found this website that might be helpful