Keeping Kids Happy - A Better Way to Live
ADA Guidelines (American's with Disabilities Act)
Helping Families to Feel Connected to Your Business
Evidence-based design studies indicate that visitors and staff react positively to an environment that is created for comfort and gives them ways to relax. When product performance meets design criteria you can achieve these goals.
With this in mind People Friendly Places has developed commercial quality indoor play products and reception area juvenile furniture that contribute to the well-being of children and their famililes in a public building.
In 2008 ADA guidelines apply to outdoor playgrounds, not to indoor play areas. But commonsense dictates that indoor play areas and waiting room toys should be created for all children to enjoy.
GUIDELINES FOR INDOOR PLAY AREAS IN PUBLC BUILDINGS
• Accessible- Offer children's activity centers that are easily accessible by a child in a wheelchair. If the child is sitting sideways can she still play? How far does she have to reach? Make sure she has room to maneuver her wheelchair to and from the play area without any problems.
• Safety- The play area should never block a walkway or door, or be in the direct path of either.
• Independence-Is the play activity easy to do? Will the child need adult assistnace? Magnetic play tables are very popular but can your typical young visitor contort an arm under the table to move the magnetic wands? If not, try a top-play magnetic game.
• Special Needs-Children who have short attention spans or who are Autistic need games with a purpose, a beginning and end. Turning mazes on wall toys and play cubes may frustrate many children with special needs. They may prefer artistic expression, mix and match or puzzle style games.
• Noise-The quieter, the better. Visitors come and go, but staff will hear the toy noise all day. Some children get over stimulated by noise. Avoid reception area play cubes and waiting room wall toys that look and sound like mini-arcade games, unless your business is an arcade.
• Safety & Durability- Use durable easy-to-clean, safe furnishings. Childen shouldn't be able to pick at the hardware, paint, decals, glued-on trim, or twist-off components.
• Avoid the trinity of trouble- No playing near windows, doors, stairs. Help to protect children who like to wander, both young children and many children with special needs.
• Limit Physical Play Challenges- The most common childhood injury is a finger or entire hand. If the hand is bandaged can a child still play? Choose activities that challenge the mind, not the body.
• Relax- Fine motor skills help children relax by releasing endorphins to their brain. If they can grasp an item between their thumb and pointer finger they are using small muscles in their hands and this triggers a good feeling.
• Themes- Boys vs. Girls-When in doubt, satisfy the boys. Girls will play with boy toys, boys won't play with girl toys. Same goes for decor. Girls like sports. Boys don't like girl themes.
• Child-Like vs. Childish-Wall toys for public reception areas need to look decorative and give children a positive play experience without embarassing teens and adults using the same area. Respect older children with special needs by offering games that don't look like baby toys even though they may need an activity that is rated for younger aged players.
• Low or No Vision-Choose games with a piece that the player grasps and moves through a grooved path or pattern, this can be enjoyed more than a flat-style game, or a game with complicated gears and handles that creates results they can't see. Fancy artwork doesn't make the game more fun.
• Sensitive to Feelings-Parents have asked Burn Hospitals not to decorate with mirrors or images of children because many of their childen are scarred or deformed from accidents. Instead choose silouettes and pictures without fine details.
• Diversity-Select waiting room toys the provide a variety of acitivities, at different heights, and different abililty levels, and different actions. You may need to combine wall-mounted toys with free-standing play islands and play cubes and play tables in the same room to achieve this goal. Beware of uniformity. It looks good in a photograph but doesn't create good entertainment for a diverse audience.
• Reading Not Needed- Whether the child doesn't read fluently in English or just struggles to read should not impede their play time. Play comes naturally to kids. Give them a chance to be kids and enjoy their visit, especially if they're in a hospital or other stress-filled environment.
• No Loose Pieces-Protect people from tripping over stuff on the floor and from having to do a major cleanup. Our USA made waiting room toys, play islands and play centers keep public areas safe, clean because they are made with No Loose Pieces.
• Parents appreciate your interest in the happiness of their child and making a nice environment. It's true, "when the kids are happy the parents are happy."
If you want to add or change this information, please tell PFP. We're here for you. Thank-you!