Splashes of primary colors dot the landscape at the Fairplex Child Development Center but they are not from the clothing of the children playing in the playground. It’s the playground itself. A shiny green swing invites kids to hop on. A bright yellow tunnel offers a quick hide out. Atop a red and blue platform there is a makeshift playhouse.
The large bright, shiny objects are part of a $200,000 renovation to the CDC’s outdoor play areas. The equipment was chosen with not just aesthetics in mind; the state-of-the-art playground is developmentally specific to enhance children’s needs.
“This is specially designed for the physical needs of toddler-aged children,” said CDC director Holly Reynolds. “It is built with child development in mind.”
The renovation is part of a two-phase project to update the 11-year-old playgrounds on the toddler and preschool sides of the center. The new equipment will comply with state safety guidelines and the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Often during the construction of a playground, designers look for sturdy, durable, safe equipment. With its philosophy of serving children’s physical, emotional and educational needs, the CDC was looking one step beyond safety and durability – fostering imagination and creativity. For the toddler yard, designs from the Danish company Kompan International were selected. Kompan employs child development specialists in the design of its equipment.
According to Kompan child development expert Helle Burlingame: “Playgrounds are critical to the healthy development of children. Playgrounds provide a crucial outlet for developing not only physical abilities, but if designed correctly, emotional, intellectual and social skills as well.”
Those sentiments fit perfectly with what the CDC strives to do – offer a well-rounded program for children from infancy to age 6, including constructive play.