New Riverside Park Playground Coming – Spring 2020

We are excited to announce the installation of a new playground at Riverside Park in 2020!  The new playground will replace the existing playground and will be installed on the same footprint.  This playground is generously funded through TIFA and a grant through GameTime.

Here is the new playground design concept:

There are many fun and outstanding features of this playground! The design of this playground is very modern and is in line with playground trends across the country. 

Some of the current trends in playgrounds include:

  • Sensory Play – Textures, shapes, colors, and sounds.  This is especially important for children with sensory and social/emotional disabilities and it encourages all 5 senses. Some of the sensory elements in this playground include the shadow play panels, a thunder ring, many textures within the park, bongos, and shapes.

One of the sensory elements of this playground is the Shadow Play panels.  These panels look like stained glass and as the sun changes throughout the day, the colorful shadows move along the ground creating vibrant shapes and colors.  They can be used to play games, learn about color, learn about shadow and light, or just to enjoy. 

  • Inclusive Play – People who are disabled and non-disabled are able to engage in play together.  This structure has 7 elevated play elements and all 7 are accessible by transfer.  It has 16 ground events and a Zero-G Swing.
  • Themes – A theme within the playground that tells a story, celebrates culture or a community.  Our theme is a river theme and it is featured through the frog, the cattail spinner, the blue and green color palette, and the wave zip slide.
  • Open Play vs. Traditional Rigid Play – Play that has no boundaries, that allows children to investigate and explore freely, directing their play in whichever way they wish to.  For example, on a slide there is essentially one thing to do with it – slide.  Sliding is fun and important; however, this concept includes other open play pieces such as the frog, the shadow play panels, the Vortex and Triton.
  • Multigenerational – caretakers play alongside children, encourage parent/grandparent-child bonding, reinforces playful behaviors throughout our life cycle. In this design concept, seniors and active older adults can play on anything within the park that their fitness level allows.  The Expression swing provides engaging play.  The hex pods promote balance and core strength. Rails on the stairs will assist people who may need help with balance.  Shadow play panels provide opportunities for adults to talk to children about light and shadow, play games, or enjoy the colors.  The double slide allows caregivers to race with their child.  The cattail spinner and frog provides the opportunity to talk about animals, river life, and animal habitats, they can pretend to be frogs by hopping around and engaging in imaginary play.

One of the multigenerational elements in this playground is the Expression Swing.  The Expression Swing allows face-to-face, eye-to-eye interaction between children and caregiver or siblings.  It allows the caregivers to be active and engage in play with their children. 

This playground will have play elements for ages two and up and is the perfect fit in our downtown park!  We are excited to see the finished product and we hope you will come play next summer! 

Sage Hegdal, Recreation Director

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