Many of us grew up begging our parents to take us to play at the nearby community playground, but what made that playground so special? Maybe it symbolized our early freedom— running off by ourselves to explore all that it had to offer. Maybe it gave us a chance to meet new friends and show off our skills on the monkey bars. Whatever the reasoning may have been in our young minds, it proves that playgrounds have certainly brought joy, imagination and outdoor recreation to children for decades.
International Play Equipment Manufacturers Association (IPEMA) is privileged to take part in that joy by promoting improvements to the quality and quantity of children’s free play outdoors, and particularly on playgrounds. Throughout the world, manufacturers have gone above and beyond the average swings and slides to excite children of all ages in a unique, safe environment. Here are two shining examples of the top-rated playgrounds in the world – using IPEMA-certified equipment and surfacing, of course. Try not to get jealous.
Clemyjontri Park is located in McLean, Virginia and provides an outdoor experience for children of all abilities. The park is split into four parts, including the “Rainbow Room,” the “Schoolhouse and Maze,” the “Movin’ and Groovin’ Transportation Area” and a “Fitness and Fun Area.” Each section offers something different, whether it is braille, maps, clocks or true roadway situations. Additional features to the park are a train and a working carousel, but what makes this playground so special is its accessibility for children with disabilities. This is made possible because:
- “Ramps connect structures,
- Swings have high backs, arm rests and special safety features,
- Rubber surfacing allows wheelchairs to roll easily,
- Lowered monkey bars provide easy access,
- Equipment is designed to be sensory rich so all children can participate with peers and
- Wider openings allow easy access to play structures.”
In addition, Clemyjontri Park was the first in Virginia to install a Liberty Swing which allows children in wheelchairs to experience a swing without getting out of the wheelchair.
Another example of a unique playground is Westminster Center Park in Westminster, Colorado. This playground was nicknamed “Peter Pan Park,” and it includes everything from the Disney tale: a pirate’s cove, an artificial forest with tunnels and slides, a look-alike version of the house that Wendy, John and Michael lived in and playground equipment that looks like ships. Instead of having to pretend they are in the magical Neverland, children in Westminster can actually see their Disney imaginations come to life.
In addition, the park has a water feature modeled after the River Thames, located in Westminster, London.
Are you wishing your childhood community playground had been one of these? Check out the links below for more information on other top playgrounds in the world.