Over 18 million people in the US deal with mobility issues on a daily basis. These issues span the entirety of American culture, from veterans to athletes. One of the demographics impacted most by mobility issues are children below the age of 18. While they often have access to the same education and cognitive resources of others their age, their activities and play can be greatly reduced by their mobility. This has inspired playground designers around the world to develop play areas and structures that are not just aware of those with mobile issues, but 100% inclusive.
That’s where Goric comes in.
Since the mid-90s, Goric has been dedicated to creating exciting and challenging play spaces that are inclusive of children of all mobility levels. Some of our most recent projects have included the San Jose Rotary Playgarden and Boston Jackson Square Park. Both of these play spaces have been fitted with the most revolutionary equipment to facilitate collaborative and integrated play for children of all ability levels.
One of our most unique structures is the Integration Carousel. This is an update on the fast-moving carousel from your childhood, with an emphasis on safety and mobility access. The carousel sits flush with the ground, eliminating the risk of falling a foot down to the ground or barking your ankles or shins when you push it. In addition, the level entrance makes it completely accessible for those in wheelchairs. The specialized access areas make it easy for children in wheelchairs to autonomously enter the ride themselves. Then, the cross bar helps them remain stable for the ride while the integrated “steering” wheel gets everyone involved in propelling the carousel together. So much fun for everyone!
The Seagull Swing is a special addition to any truly inclusive playground. In it, less mobile children can sit in the support chair while a friend, family member, or caregiver swings beside them. The action from the traditional swinger triggers movement in the support swing, allowing both participants to move up and down and front and back. Not only does this give the child a visceral motion experience, but they are enabled to connect emotionally and physically with other friends on the playground. And, no adults are necessary to play, which gives the wheelchair user more freedom to move about the playground.
Need More Mobility Play Access? 5 Cool Ideas for Summer
Although these are fantastic pieces of equipment for facilitating fully inclusive play, not everyone has access to them. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to give your child a fuller play experience despite their need for a wheelchair.
1. Stretch out in nature. Sometimes it’s just nice to spread out on the grass and enjoy nature. Facilitate natural play with your child by finding an area where they can lay out and observe plants, birds, and other wildlife.
2. Get dirty. Sensory areas are awesome, as long as they’re easy to access. Look for parks with raised gardens, sandboxes, or water features that are paved. That way your child can navigate them easily and have freedom to choose his or her activity.
3. Splash around. A great choice for children in wheelchairs (especially in the summer) is a splash pad. As long as your child’s wheelchair is rust-proof, rustle up some swim suits and sunblock and play for hours. Be sure to choose an area that is not overly crowded so that your child doesn’t get jostled too much.
4. Shoot some hoops. It’s never too early to get kids involved in a fun team sport. Wheelchair-accessible basketball is a great example. Get together with a local National Wheelchair Basketball Association team or just play with other kids. There is a great resource from the University of Illinois about the unique rules for this fun, fast-paced game.
5. Hunt treasure. Setting up an outdoor treasure hunt is a fun way to get both mobile and mobile-challenged kids working together. Choose a place where there are lots of walkways and ramps and then create a list of things for kids to find. You can choose things from nature or set up items ahead of time. Either way, everyone will have a blast!