Research shows that play is a key element of development and health for individuals of all ages and abilities. Unfortunately, play is being threatened on every front in the U.S. It’s seen as a “children-only” activity, if it’s thought about at all. Even more, concerns around inclusive play are primarily discussed among disability experts and are not part of most community agendas.
In an effort to address play across the lifespan, Landscape Structures Inc., a Minnesota-based commercial playground equipment manufacturer, sponsored the Play for Life Symposium on Oct. 23-24, in Minneapolis, Minn. Through the Symposium, which is a Kanics Inclusive Design Services, LLC symposium, Landscape Structures hoped to educate individuals about the inclusive play movement by bringing together inclusive play experts from across the nation to examine the importance of play for all ages and abilities.
“In my experience, a lot of people were talking about inclusive play but were focused on one specific age group like early childhood, elementary-aged kids or seniors. It seemed like there was an opportunity to bring together all of these people to see that they’re all fighting for the same thing—play for all abilities,” explained Kanics. “The Play for Life Symposium offers individuals a chance to align themselves with like-minded people, and support each other in raising awareness about a similar message.”
“The Play for Life Symposium was designed to be more thought provoking than your typical conference. We want people to be able to network, discuss and brainstorm with others working toward a similar goal,” explained Kanics. In addition to reignite individuals’ passion for play, attendees can earn continuing education units in several different disciplines. Topics during the two-day session will include:
- The Importance of Play to All Children
- Designing Great Places for All Children to Play
- Creating Inclusion via Playground Programming
- The Importance of Play to Children with Autism
- Play as a Lifelong Journey: An Approach for All of Us, Young and Old Alike, based on Fred Rogers’ Timeless Wisdom
- The Importance of Recreation in Building Social Capital
- The Importance of Play for a Community
- Playing Around the World: Inclusive Tourism.