The 7 Principles of Inclusive Play

The 7 Principles of Inclusive Play

We work with a lot of city planners, architects and school committees to help build more inclusive playgrounds in communities across Canada. Planning more ‘inclusive’ spaces, which we believe holds a different from planning ‘accessible’ spaces, means we are intentionally designing and selecting equipment that is more usable by people, of all ages and abilities.

As we help plan and build these spaces, we ground our efforts in the 7 Principles of Inclusive Play, a guiding set of principles defined by PlayCore and developed to help structure a standardized approach to building more truly inclusive play opportunities.

The 7 Principles center on creating a playground that encourages play that should be…

  1. Fair. This means ensuring equitable opportunities for all abilities and all ages, considering the play needs of all users within the playgrounds community.
  2. Included. Designed with flexibility in how users can interact with the structure with a variety of levels, movements, and needs.
  3. Smart. The playground should facilitate intuitive play and fun challenges through clear, simple design that encourages longer play interactions.  
  4. Independent. Creating a space that encourages users to be able to play either independently or as a group and with a variety of access points to engage with the space and enter, exit or observe play with ease.
  5. Safe. A playground must meet the required safety standards, including rest and observation points
  6. Active. This means facilitating play with equipment and design that meets a diverse set of physical needs to encourage cooperative play and socialization.
  7. Comfortable. Incorporating complementary structures, like shade and seating, into an easy to access, simple design creates a comfortable space for users to stay for longer periods.

For an example of a project we designed using the 7 Principles of Inclusive Play, see our Brighton Core Case Study.

Brighton Core Park - a National Demonstration Site award winning park based on it's inclusive design

Curious how you can bring these principles into your new playground design or how to update an existing park to be more inclusive? We can help - let’s talk!

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