In honor of the 2010 Olympics in London, this week’s spot lighted playground is in Devon, England. The Playpark is located at the King George V Playing field on Topsham Road, Exeter, EX2 6HE – behind Countess Wear Hotel.
According to their website, “This is an inclusive playground where the equipment is almost all wheelchair accessible. The equipment is designed to encourage co-operative play and is large enough to be used by older disabled children who may need more space for wheelchairs and sometimes helpers.A safe community space due to adequate fencing and gates, it contains sensory equipment such as sand, textured surfacing and sensory planting, along with tactile signs for less well sighted visitors and pictorial signs for people with learning difficulties.”
There website provides a lot of helpful information including which company supplied the unique pieces to assist another group looking to replicate their efforts. They also have Widget symbol sheets that can be used to prepare a child with autism for the playground or to be used by a child who is non-verbal at the playground.
Here are some aspects of the playground:
This is a new lighter weight specialist roundabout called Mirage produced by a firm called SMP. The designers worked closely with children who have cerebral palsy. Hence the seats are carefully contoured to support users who may have physical weaknesses. The height of the seats is calculated so that people in wheelchairs may be able to transfer across into the seat. It's altogether a very promising piece of equipment which we hope will be tested out by visitors to the play park.
The bird nest swing is the popular piece of equipment at the park. The center of the net is literally a nest that keeps even children with severe disabilities completely snug as they swing.
Spiral Musical Chime Bars--Bang bing bong. Strike the bar with the beaters and you too can make music. The notes go up as the height increases.This equipment works best with more than one player. Co-operation is the name of the game.
Make it rain panel--Ball bearings fall through this toy as the circle revolves. It is a soothing toy that captures many childrens' imaginations and can be used in any weather condition. Absolutely every age loves playing with the panel. It is one of the most used items.
"The Big Unit" has 3 slides, ladder climbing bars, rope support mesh, movable walkways, hoops to dangle from and lots of integral play parts.
This is the most brilliant swing of all. Wheelchair users can use it provided they have a radar key. In the UK and Australia people with disabilities are given a key to access accessible restrooms and other features such as this swing. At one side of the unit is a roll on ramp for wheelchairs. Once the rider is in place, the carer can push the swing as high as they both feel happy with.
A wheelchair friendly see-saw
A trampoline for all!
The website has two videos about the playground. Below is the short 1 minute one. If you are interested in the 15 minute video, click here and go to the bottom of the page.
Recently seven new mural panels made by over a hundred local schoolchildren of all abilities, with the help of talented North Devon artist Karen Hawkins were added to the playground.