SOURCE: Playworld Systems

Playworld Systems

July 23, 2012 09:16 ET

Groundbreaking Inclusive Play Design Guide From Playworld Systems Offers Play Space Blueprint for Individuals of All Abilities

Expanded Free Resource Receives Endorsements From Industry Leaders and Academics, Provides Inclusive Play Inspiration for National Park and Recreation Month and Beyond

LEWISBURG, PA--(Marketwire - Jul 23, 2012) -  Playworld Systems, a leading manufacturer of imaginative playground and fitness equipment, today announced that its Inclusive Play Design Guide™ (IPDG) has been updated to include feedback from the community as well as industry influencers. The only guide of its kind, the IPDG literally changes the playing field when it comes to welcoming people of all abilities onto the playground. The nearly 70-page document provides detailed insight into creating playgrounds that enable children and adults of all abilities to play side-by-side.

The guide was developed by a cross-functional committee of international experts, many of whom are raising children with disabilities. Since its initial launch in October 2011, the revolutionary guide has been reviewed by dozens of experts and stakeholders including Lynn A Barnett, Ph.D., an associate professor in the department of recreation, sport and tourism at the University of Illinois, and Carol DeLeon, OTR/L, the director of clinical services at Developmental Therapy Services, a division of The Children's Institute for Learning Differences, among others. 

"We are very pleased with the evolution of the guide and the caliber of people who have not only reviewed but endorsed this much-needed resource," said Ian Proud, research manager of Playworld Systems. "If all playgrounds were designed using the guide, it would mean no adult or child would have to sit on the sidelines, watching the fun instead of participating. We believe that is an incredibly powerful, worthwhile ideal."

The IPDG has received support and many positive comments from industry leaders and inclusive play advocates worldwide:

  • "Thank you to Playworld Systems and to the Inclusive Play Work Group who put this together. It is a very thorough and professional document that is a must read for any play-designer," said Jim Sanders Owner, Playchek Services Inc in London Canada.

  • "Sending a big shout-out to the amazing and inspirational Inclusive Play Design Guide work group. They have poured their heart and soul into creating the most wonderful document that has me tearing up. Play Advocates should certainly check it out," said Rebecca Ho, online and playground manager for the Touched by Olivia Foundation in Australia.

Additionally, the guide will be the subject of a presentation at the upcoming annual meeting of the American Academy of Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Medicine (AACPDM). IPDG committee member, Chris Joseph, will give a presentation about assessing and improving playground access at the annual AACPDM conference in September in Toronto. 

Since its initial launch, the guide has been augmented to include an enhanced glossary and a new section on the pros and cons of different types of surfacing. The core focus areas have been expanded from four to five and now include a section on equipment selection. The five focal areas are:

  • Planning and Preparation: How to identify and involve people with the knowledge, skills, empathies and connections needed to successfully plan and execute an inclusive playground
  • Layout: Layout is the biggest single factor between only typically-developing children playing and everyone playing, since the design of the equipment is irrelevant if it is poorly sited or doesn't create an opportunity for children of different abilities to play alongside one another 
  • Access: The design of the play space and surrounding environment as it relates to the users and caregivers getting into, around and out of the play area
  • Selecting Equipment: Help with selecting inclusive play equipment. Equipment can mean manufactured playground equipment or natural elements that are used as play activities
  • Play Richness: How to select key play activities for people of all ages and abilities (e.g. a quiet, cozy place within the playground for autistic children when they feel overwhelmed)

"This truly is a wonderful gift to the industry," said Mara Kaplan, part of the IPDG work group and the founder of Let Kids Play!, an organization that specializes in designing play spaces for children with special needs. "The guide is manufacturer-neutral, making it unlike anything else available in our industry. I commend Playworld Systems for their ability to assemble the appropriate leaders to develop this important resource."

The enhanced guide's release coincides with National Park and Recreation month. In 1985, the National Recreation and Parks Association (NRPA) declared July the nation's official Park and Recreation Month. "We hope this new and improved guide encourages people of all ages and abilities to play together," said Matthew Miller, chief executive officer of Playworld Systems. "National Park and Recreation Month is the opportune time to re-examine the way we think about public play spaces."

Copies of the free IPDG can be downloaded by visiting

About Playworld Systems, Inc.
For over 40 years, Playworld Systems has been a leader in creating imaginative, customized commercial playground and fitness equipment that positively impacts the health and well-being of communities around the globe. Based on the belief that The World Needs Play®, Playworld Systems brings the joy and benefits of healthful outdoor play and exercise to people of every age and ability through such innovative product lines as PlayDesigns®, PlaySimple®, Playworld®, Origins, NEOS®, ENERGI®, and LifeTrail®.

Playworld Systems' products are made in the U.S.A. in its Lewisburg, Pa. manufacturing facility using domestic and foreign content, with a small number of parts purchased from trusted international suppliers. This multi-generational, family-owned company continues to invest significant resources to measurably reduce its impact on the environment. Its aggressive action to eliminate polyvinyl chloride (PVC) has helped Playworld Systems become the first and only playground manufacturer to have its products Cradle to Cradle Certified(CM) Basic. The company offers an optimal customer experience unique in the industry -- from value-added services using Microsoft Tag to personalized attention through its vast network of local distributors.

Playworld Systems has received numerous awards throughout its history, including two International Industrial Design Excellence Awards, a gold medal from International Design magazine, two News Directors' Choice Awards on Early Childhood, and the Pennsylvania Governors' Award for Safety Excellence. In 2012, Playworld Systems received an Evergreen Award in the sports and recreation category from the GSA Integrated Workplace Acquisition Center. For more information about Playworld Systems, visit