A playground should be an area to engage and stimulate all types of kids. Kids should get the opportunity to explore new surroundings and develop physical, mental, and social skills. But is this possible for visually impaired children? They also need similar exposure and should not be deprived of the same opportunities.
As their world is quite different, it becomes essential to design kids outdoor play equipment in playground area for the blind and visually impaired that caters to their needs.
How to Design a Playground for Visually Impaired Children?
In the current article, we will be discussing the various ways to design engaging playgrounds for visually impaired children.
Introducing textured elements in the playground helps the visually impaired kids feel and stimulates their sense of touch. Introduce sensory maze to encourage teamwork and to solve problems through touching.
Include Braille or use sections with bumps, grooves, or rough textures. Such surfaces will create interest and help them to differentiate the equipment. Rubber timbers with smoothed tops can act as stimulants. All these modifications should be done at ground level so that it is accessible to all kids.
Tactile Play Area
Water structures and sandboxes are some excellent kids outdoor play equipment to incorporate new material for their experience.
Safety boundaries include the playground circumference as well as the areas covering the play space. Boundaries should be designed so that the visually impaired can easily recognize them by touching them.
For example, put fences as these children prefer to trace their fingers along a surface to recognise it as the playground boundary. Dangerous areas within the playground, like swing sets or slides, can have a different texture.
Apply textures with which they can relate. Guidewires and rails, if applied, can also help the children to move freely in the playground area. Paint the playground equipment, especially the edges of steps, slides, and other surfaces, with yellow colour making it easier for kids with low visibility to identify from a distance.
Install Sensory Play
Apply bells or chimes on the fence to encourage sensory play. Avoid too many sensory stimuli as it becomes difficult for a child to explore an area.
Create a sensory garden filled with plants and flowers with distinct and pleasant smells such as lavender, mint, and roses. A sensory garden stimulates all the senses like hearing, smelling, and touching.
Hearing is stimulated through the rattling sound of seedpods or tall, rustly grass. You can choose few edible plants like chives or tomatoes.
Nowadays, outdoor play equipment manufacturers focus on musical instruments like xylophones and windchimes. It is used as an effective tool to create a sound used as a location signal. The sound characteristic can distinguish between different segments of the playground.
Quiet Play Area
Children with autism often prefer to play alone, creating games, other special equipment, and opportunities for such types of kids.
For example, a domed structure with holes can be an area for solo play with privacy inside. Attaching props like chains, knob or latches creates accessible games for the visually impaired, thereby encouraging social interaction and communication.
Introduce stationary beepers to mark goals or fixtures. Beeper boxes can be used to mark finish lines. A beeper ball can be used to lay games like T-balls and beep baseball.
Specially Designed Swings
To make the playground more visually impaired friendly, outdoor play equipment manufacturers introduce wheelchair swings raised beds at wheelchair height and moving bridge to provide a different experience to blind kids.
Incorporate a raised sandbox to accommodate kids in a wheelchair to play. Seating areas like benches or picnic tables should accommodate both the guardian and disabled children.
Visually impaired children should be encouraged to use their other senses to play and learn. It should not become a hindrance to the child’s development; by following the above guidelines, designing an interactive playground by installing kids outdoor play equipment is essential for the healthy development of these kids. https://www.okplay.in/ kids outdoor play equipment serves as the top kid’s outdoor play equipment manufacturers; you can visit them and browse through their incredible product range.