This past weekend I sat outside under the bright sun and spring flowers, and drew pictures on the sidewalk with my kids. There is something magical about playing outside in the bright warmth after a long, gray, cold winter. I can’t seem to soak up enough of the sun.
When I think about fun outdoor spring activities, one of the first things to pop in my mind is going to a playground. However, when my daughter started using her walker, it became apparent to me that playgrounds would be a challenge. Mulch is my nemesis. It stops her from being able to play independently. It robs her of her energy. It isolates her from the other kids.
This is why I have somewhat of a love affair with accessible playgrounds.
Did you know that in 2010 the “U.S. Department of Justice made access to play areas a civil right under the Americans with Disabilities Act when it adopted stringent standards that require playgrounds to have surfaces and equipment that can be used by disabled children” (article about the law)? The caveat is that public playgrounds are not required to be up to these standards unless they have been built or modified after March 15, 2012. However … I like to look at the cup as half full … and this law will guarantee that over time more and more accessible playgrounds will become available. That is fantastic.
We’ve actually already benefitted from this law (although I didn’t realize it until recently when I learned equal access to play was a law). One of our favorite accessible playgrounds was built near us just last year when the city converted a small local airport into a beautiful new park.
Find an accessible playground near you!
A couple weeks ago I came across this article about NPR crowdsourcing information about accessible playgrounds and turning it into a searchable online database called “Playgrounds for Everyone.” The website already includes nearly 3000 accessible playgrounds in 48 states and 996 cities. If an accessible park near you is missing or was recently built, you can submit it to the NPR team to be added to the site.
I love that NPR took the initiative to build this database. Truthfully I love NPR in general, but this just deepens my feelings for them.
- Go find an accessible playground near you and enjoy this fantastic weather!
- Already know about all of the playgrounds near you? Search your area. If any of the accessible playgrounds near you aren’t listed, submit them to NPR so they can be added to the site. Then, lean forward and pat yourself on the back for helping another parent or grandparent find a playground for their child.
- Have a vacation coming up? Find an accessible playground near your destination! We have a trip to Chicago coming up, and I’m excited to find a playground near our hotel where my kids can play out some energy.
Now … get out there and have some fun.