Inclusive play is important to all children
Play is a fundamental part of a child’s physical, social and emotional wellbeing. It helps them to build social skills, independence and emotional resilience. Sensory play is crucial to their brain development, creative play helps them unleash their imagination, and physical play aids in the development of their motor skills, balance and spatial awareness.
Playspaces provide opportunities for community members to come together – to talk, to share and to connect. They are a place where friendships are formed, and memories are made.
In South Australia approximately one-in-10 children lives with disability and can face barriers using playgrounds and community playspaces. Children with disability, just like any other child, need opportunities to play with others, be physically active, learn, grow, connect and have fun.
When playspaces are designed to be inclusive, it means everyone, no matter their ability, age, cultural or social background, can play together side-by-side. It means parents, grandparents and carers feel welcome too.
Inclusive play promotes play between children of all abilities and cultural backgrounds and encourages acceptance and friendship. It breaks down barriers, allows people to share different life experiences and helps them learn from each other. Inclusive playspaces can change people’s attitudes and promote diversity and inclusion.
Inclusive play is a topic close to the heart of South Australians
We heard from over 235 people during our consultation period for Inclusive Play — including children and adults who live with disability, those who care for a child with disability — parents, guardians, carers and grandparents — and people who work in the sector.
We heard that inclusive play is important for everyone:
- “All children should be able to access and play on an equal footing — so important for all socialisation”.
- “...if people are aware that the space is for children with disabilities you are less likely to feel ostracised and isolated.”
- “All abilities can play. All ages can play. Everyone’s included”.
When asked about what inclusive playspaces should be like, respondents said:
- “Inclusive playspaces need to be about the needs of children and all potential carers, who may have impairment or age-related challenges themselves.”
- “Play equipment that he can access independently in his walker.”
- “Sensory equipment, walls with bumps and different textures, steering wheels, things to twist and turn. Buttons to press. Cause and effect-type thing.”
- “Swings for children and adults (adults tend to have wide bottoms).”
- “Make bigger slides. Way harder monkey bars!”
- “Things that challenge them to try new skills such as balancing or climbing and give them a sense of achievement and accomplishment.”
- “An area that provides a quiet retreat when overwhelmed by noise or sight of other people”.
Inclusive play enables everyone to connect with their surroundings, with other people and with themselves
What we see and feel every day varies from person to person. We all deserve the opportunity to connect. When we have time to connect, we gain a better understanding of ourselves, each other and the world around us. These guidelines encourage connection and offer practical ways for you to support inclusive play.
Connect with place
A place without barriers that is easy for everyone to access and enhances the existing environment.
Connect with each other
Facilities and equipment that encourage people of all ages and abilities to interact and play with each other while feeling safe and welcome.
Connect with self
An experience that helps every individual activate their senses, stimulate their imagination and challenge their limits.