Guest Column - July 2015
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Splash Play

Bringing Inclusion to Water Play

By Shanley Hutchinson


Room to Grow

When a child interacts with a spray feature, they're getting more than fun and games. They're strengthening motor skills, hand-eye coordination, as well as analytical thinking and problem-solving. Simple cause-and-effect interactions like experimenting with weirs to change the flow of a stream or spinning a feature to make water spray stimulate both cognitive and physical development. A well-designed play pad will challenge its users by providing them a safe space to experiment freely and test the limits of their imagination. It's also a space where we learn how to play together, as a community. Through collaborative play we encounter one another's unique abilities and nurture our respective strengths. These discoveries may start on the play pad, but can spill over into the player's everyday life to promote greater well-being.

By tapping into the universal language of water, a play space can become a cherished destination for any community. It becomes a gathering place for people of all abilities, ages and backgrounds to smile, laugh and connect through the joy of water. The naturally inclusive landscape of the aquatic play pad and the water features that bring it to life gather kids together for a fun adventure that satisfies their unique physical and cognitive needs. It supports everyone's right to play alongside one another, to fall, get up again and push one another to new heights despite any societal imposed limitations based on bodily or mental ability. A simple but powerful spaceā€”the play pad gives us a glimpse into the bigger picture of humanity, global well-being and connectivity.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Shanley Hutchinson is communications manager for Waterplay Solutions Corp. As part of Waterplay's management team, Hutchinson assists in the product design and development process. Her technical background allows her to approach product concepts from a practical perspective, lending insight into how they can best function for their users. Hutchinson has a passion for bringing multiple play styles to the play pad, and encouraging developmental growth and experience through play. Visit www.waterplay.com for more information.