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Playgrounds That Move Us

Owen’s Playground at Hillcrest Elementary – Downers Grove, IL

Through hard work and perseverance, dreams can become a reality. On the first day of first grade at Hillcrest Elementary, Margaret Chaidez watched her son Owen ride off in his wheelchair to play with friends on the playground. After the children went inside, Chaidez didn’t see Owen and found him stuck behind one of the structures. That day she promised him she would find a way to create a playspace he could fully utilize, one that was safe and fun for all children. Enter Owen’s Playground for Children of All Abilities. This universally designed play environment has double-wide ramps, a Cruiser™ Wheelchair Accessible Rocker, sensory panels, overhead events and more - all with safety surfacing that accommodates wheelchairs and other mobility devices. Although at a school, Owen’s Playground is open to the community and is the perfect place to bring everyone, of all abilities, together.

 

Staring Lake Park - Eden Prairie, MN

Taking advantage of the natural features of the setting and incorporating all types of play from imaginative to cognitive to physical, the city of Eden Prairie began the redesign of Staring Lake Park’s playground to give it a fresh look, make it more interesting to kids and families and create a multi-generational gathering space for the community to enjoy.

With a robust area for imaginative play that includes a “stage”, Sound Garden and a PlayHouse, kids can let their imaginations guide them in hours of fun and cooperative play. The areas for children 2-5 and 5-12 engage kids physically and help them get much-needed exercise. Verto Climbers and embankment slides take advantage of the unique topography to make the transition up or down between play areas. The result of all of the efforts is an incredible, diverse play environment that offers an amazing experience for kids and families in the Eden Prairie area.

 

Marine Park - Blaine, WA

With a location overlooking Drayton Harbor in Blaine, WA, the Marine Park playground is an example of a fun, unique, creative and educational play environment that helps tell the history of a city. The water has long been an important part of Blaine, so a ship and lighthouse combination was a natural choice for the theme of the playspace. It not only offers excellent play value, but also pays tribute to a long relationship between the town and the body of water it relies on for industry, tourism and recreation.

Children love the imaginative play pieces such as numerous decks and panels that make it feel like a “real” ship. A large climbing rock, slides and plenty of room to run help kids stay active and have fun in this beautiful destination play environment.

 

Friendship Park – Avondale, AZ

Imagine a beautiful park with basketball and tennis courts, soccer and baseball fields, a dog park and three playgrounds located less than 20 miles from Phoenix. Imagine that this was a destination for families from miles around. No need to imagine this incredible space – this is Friendship Park in Avondale, AZ. Public input is of highest priority in a community-focused city like Avondale and Play it Safe ideated multiple ways to gain that input from attending local festivals to working with the city to get residents and non-residents to vote for their favorite design. The most popular design – a beautiful, colorful inclusive play environment – won the vote! Now the playground at Friendship Park is a main attraction and helps keep kids and families moving and active! Kids love the exciting variety of sliding, spinning, rocking, musical exploration and swinging! With play environments designed for both ages 2-5 and 5-12, children can come to play, meet friends and get the needed exercise and time outdoors!

Hope Playground at Sam Johnson Park – Redmond, OR

When a small group of moms in Redmond, Oregon approached the city about a new playground at Sam Johnson Park, they had no idea it would become the amazing, collaborative project it came to be. What is now the largest inclusive playground in Oregon, Hope Playground, opened in October 2015 and is a destination for children and families of all abilities. The opening of Hope Playground at Sam Johnson Park celebrates years of grassroots collaboration, design, fundraising, grants (most notably from the Kiwanis Club) and construction. The community rallied behind the idea that a premier inclusive playspace that offered the opportunity for children and community members of all abilities to gather and play together could make an impact in the entire region!

Parker's Park - West, TX

Sometimes tragedy brings out the best in people and communities. This was the case in West, TX, where six year old Parker Pustejovsky helped rally a community to rebuild a park close to his heart. After losing his father and other First Responders in a 2013 fertilizer plant explosion, Parker wanted to rebuild the park his dad used to take him to. That’s when the Parker’s Park Project started, and since then, organizers have raised money and people from around the country have rallied to help. Parker’s Park thematically recreates a fire station and truck with everything from Custom Panels to First Responder Rock ‘N’ Rides and a large fire hat that tops off the space. The details made the difference in creating this space that kids ages 2-12 can play in while gaining important skills such as cooperative play, communication and social play.

Muckleshoot Child Development Center - Auburn, WA

Outdoor classrooms combine learning and play providing an amazing opportunity for physical, cognitive and social development. The Muckleshoot Child Development Center features an outdoor classroom with three play areas for children ages 6 months to 12 years spread across five acres of natural space. With everything from Social Rest Areas to Active and Motion Play Events to Tactile and Auditory Play Spaces, this incredible outdoor learning environment offers the chance to develop a variety of important skills that will take children into adulthood.