To develop inclusive playground equipment, we have worked together with a group of experts in the Inclusive Play industry: From play workers to school teachers at various education departments for visually impaired children and from hearing impairment to special needs physiotherapists. We also had many discussions with local schools and hospitals who were involved in developing and testing the Amico inclusive playground equipment.
The Importance of Play
At Imagination Play, we know that playing is of great value to all children regardless of their ability. Playing is first of all fun, but over recent decades it has become clear that it is also one of the key ways in which children can learn. Play helps children develop in many ways. Play gives space to children’s imaginations and fuels creativity. Through play, kids get to know their physical possibilities and limitations. Risks and challenges teach children to evaluate situations and find ways to go further than ever before.
Below is an example of the Pico playground from our Amico range. See the benefits of each component for all ability play.
Whenever you see the Amico Interactive logo shown here on our designs it represents the product displayed contains the full inclusive and interactive play components as explained below.
While most play equipment products focus on physical play activities only, Amico offers a lot of sensory play as well as physical activities in their range. It features puzzles that help develop visuospatial skills, spinning elements that make interesting noises and xylophones on which children can play music together.
This wide variety of materials and the play equipment elements themselves make them interesting from a tactile point of view, which is especially useful for visually impaired children.
The most exciting feature is the Musical Bridge with its microphone and loud speaker. These inclusive features are available on the interactive versions of the range. Children can make music whilst they play on the bridge. This can be done in any position: lying down, sitting, walking and of course dancing making this range a truly inclusive play product!
Friends can join in and sing their heart out through the microphone. Children can change the instrument type by a simple touch on the play equipment floor.
The volume can only be set by the owner of the playground equipment and a clock which defines the time that music can be played.
There are no moving parts and all the electronics are completely waterproof and are encased within the metal structure and hidden from sight. The product is designed to be extremely vandal resistant and is durable enough for public unsupervised areas such as schools and open space projects where prolonged hard use is the norm.
Rather than making use of the ‘power grid’ or vulnerable solar panels to vandalism, at Imagination Play we thought that it would be more fun to let children generate the energy for the interactive play products themselves which also teaches self sustainability for power production. The power is generated with Amico Dynamo, a power generator that is also easily accessible for wheelchair users. The status of battery charging is shown through two light graphs: one for the child that is generating the power as shown in the image and one that can be seen from the Musical Bridge.
When the equipment is fully powered, children can make music for several minutes. Dynamo powers the Musical Bridge, the microphone and the speaker. These inclusive and interactive play elements are available on the Interactive versions of Pico, Niňo, Presto and Alto.
From our tests with children of all abilities we have seen that, together with the Musical Bridge, Dynamo may actually be one of the most popular play elements on the units!