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The following is a review of the inclusive play elements of Southern Crescent Sports Foundation ALL-Accessible Playground located in H.O.P.E Park Lovejoy, GA. 

It is important for ALL children to have variety of sensory experiences for healthy development.  These include experiences that involve movement (vestibular system), climbing (proprioceptive system) and a mix of tactile, visual and auditory experiences.   On this playground children can access variety of sensory experiences encouraging them to play, learn and grow together.

Two separate playground areas are present to support children of different ages and abilities.  These are the 2-5 year old area and the 5-12 year old area each is designed to provide children with a wide range of challenging play experiences.  Both structures includes an entry ramps that are 60 inches width providing ample room for easy roll-on access for those who wish to access the different activities on each structure. 

The 2-5 year old PlayBooster structure provides children with a firm base to develop proprioceptive and vestibular skills while they play.  The assorted climbers include simple climbing to more challenging climbing found in the Wiggle Ladder which moves while the child climbs.  A transfer deck is provided near the slides to allow a child using wheeled mobility to transfer onto the deck, make their way up to the slide and slide back to the general area of their mobility device.  Next to the PlayBooster children of this age group can also explore the Weevos structure.  This provides them with additional climbing and sliding experiences in a different layout which provides challenge and novelty.

There are some play elements on the 2-5 year old structures that have similar elements on the 5-12 year old structure.  For example both have Roller Slides and SpyroSlides, this allows children to find similar elements on each structure with the older element providing a greater challenge due to increased size.  The Evos Structure builds on the skills that children develop on the Weevos structure.

The Sway Fun located on the 5-12 year old PlayBooster structure is a unique glider that allows all children to glide together, this linear movement through space activating their vestibular system.  The placement of the table with hand holds allow a child or adult using wheeled mobility to be the “engine” for the Sway Fun allowing them to provide the movement for the ride.  This element allows children to move together while they play encouraging socialization and cooperation. 

The structure also includes a variety of slides each providing a different sliding experience.  The double slide allows children to experience movement together.  The Roller Slide provides a fun tactile experience for sliding at the same time it eliminates static discharge making it a safe slide for children with cochlear implants to slide on (static can disrupt a cochlear implants function).  The SpyroSlide provides children with a bit more vestibular input as it takes children through a spiral motion as they slide down to the ground.

This playground has an assortment of climbing experiences for children to explore while they play.  These elements help them learn about their muscles and gravity as they climb and move across the assorted climbers.  The wide selection of climbers provides children with a broad range of challenge while they climb.  The Step Ladder is the simplest climber while the Conical Climber provides more of a climbing wall experience.  The Logo Climber takes children on a fun climb requiring them to really focus on their hand and foot placement as they climb laterally onto the main structure.  The Cascade Climber challenges children to adjust their body as they climb diagonally through space and the Pod Climber challenges children to climb without using their hands for stabilization making them work on skills of balance and core muscle development.  Children also get to challenge their proprioceptive system moving across the playground.  The Canyon Climber and Disc Challenge require children to motor plan as they move horizontally across the climbers.

The ultimate proprioceptive challenge is provided by the Evos structure.  This unique playground system allows children to test their skills as they move in different ways as they play.  The movements that children experience while they climb helps them build core muscles throughout their body.  The Belt-Zone and O-Zone Climbers provide an opportunity for children with limited mobility to still climb into the structure.  Children with upper body strength are able to transfer out of their wheelchairs and move across these two elements to be in the middle of the play experience with their peer.  Again, a variety of slides and spinners (Gyro Twister and Blender) provide children with a vestibular movement.  This combination allows each child to find a “just right” challenge in climbing and spinning. 

The playground provides a variety of tactile, auditory and visual play experiences.  There are a variety of sensory panels located throughout the playground structures so that children can find sensory play wherever they might be playing.  Those on the playground structures themselves include a curb mounted to the platform to keep those using wheel mobility devices from rolling off the platform.  These panels include a variety of tactile, finger mazes, auditory and visual play for children to engage in while they play.

The Marble panel and Color Splash panels encourage children to play on both sizes of the panels together.  They provide a mix of sensory experiences including visual and auditory play.  Children can explore sound and music with the Rain Sound Wheel, Ring-a-Bell, Bongo, Xylofun and Chimes Panels.  Socialization and cognitive play can happen at the sAlphamaze/Labyrinth, Trail Tracker, Match 3 and Kaleidoscope Panels providing children with a wide variety of different ways to play and learn together while they explore the playground. 

Shade is also provided throughout the playground to provide children with safe places to play.  Many children have sensitivities to direct sunlight and heat because of their illnesses or medications.  The additional shade gives them the chance to play longer on the playground.

The playground complex includes some great stand-alone play elements that also support children of all abilities while they play.  This includes the Cozy Dome, a play element designed to provide children with a place to “get away” from the hustle and bustle of the playground.  Groupings of Saddle Spinners provide children with the chance to spin with their friends.  The Sensory Play Center provides a place for sensory play away from the traffic on the playground structures.  Here children can also find some shelter from the broader activity of the playground.  The Roller Table provides children with a fun full-body tactile experience while making them work their arm muscle to pull themselves through.  The OmniSpin Spinner is a unique merri-go-round experience where children can play together as a group.  The design allows for easy transfer out of a wheelchair so that all can be part of the experience.

Finally, the playground includes a swinging area with an assortment of swings.  This includes Full Bucket Swings and an Oodle Swing that allows for groups of children to swing together.

Overall, this playground is a wonderful compliment to the H.O.P.E Park in Lovejoy, GA.  It provides children of ALL abilities with a great place to play together.

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H.O.P.E. Park
Southern Crescent Sports Foundation
2680 Hwy 42 N
McDonough, GA 30253
(770) 692-8455 fax

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