What Makes a Playground Magical?
Magical Bridge is culmination of seven years of planning, research, design and careful consideration. They say “it’s all in the details” and that could not be more true than at this remarkable playground. The above graphic calls out just some of the finer features that make Magical Bridge so magical.
- Distinct play zones designed to accommodate everyone.
- Retreat Cocoons for those needing a break from play.
- Smooth, seamless pathways.
- Wheelchair access to a two-story playhouse, treehouse and top of a slide mound.
- Fully accessible equipment including bucket swings, joyful spinning features, wide slides, a sway boat, and a merry-go-round flush with the ground so everyone can join in the fun.
- Far surpasses the minimum ADA requirements.
- Designed by inclusive play experts, educators, therapists, families living with various disabilities, and leading landscape architects.
- Surprising and innovative features such as an artist-designed 24-string laser harp, whimsical artwork, seamless turf, custom wooden structures for tactile and visual impact, and many others.
- Outdoor play is the foundation for physical development, as well as social-emotional lessons such as cooperation, sharing, problem solving and kindness. Without inclusive playgrounds, many families do not have a place to bring their children to play.
- Everyone in a community benefits from the elimination of social stigmas and prejudices, and this naturally happens when people of all abilities have the chance to play together.
Where Everyone Plays
Magical Bridge Playgrounds are designed to address the complex needs of the entire population living with disabilities, from the physical to the cognitive.
It is important to note that only 10% of those with disabilities are physically affected; autism, cognitive and developmental issues, sensory challenges and many other differences make up the other 90%.
The first of its kind, Magical Bridge Playground considers everyone.
Swinging creates vestibular stimulation, activating the inner fluids in our ear canal that are critical to maintaining body posture and equilibrium, especially beneficial for people with various autism spectrum disorders. Swinging restores balance to the vestibular system, provides proprioceptive input (deep pressure), and also soothes, relaxes and increases concentration.
SLIDING AND CLIMBING ZONE
Sliding and climbing activates our vestibular systems, which contribute to our sense of balance and spatial orientation. Vestibular input coordinates movement of our eyes, head and body, which affects our body’s balance, muscle tone, visual-spatial perception, auditory-language perception and emotional security.
Music stimulates more parts of the brain than any other human function. In children, it motivates interaction, facilitates socialization and improves social skills. The brain processes music in a different area than speech and language, therefore, for those who have difficulty communicating verbally, music provides a way to express themselves in a non-verbal manner.
Rotary vestibular input, caused from spinning, is the most powerful form of sensory input that the brain can process. Just 15 minutes of vestibular input can have a 6-8 hour impact on the brain.
The heart of Magical Bridge, the Kindness Corner is a gathering place for reflection, compassion and education. Magical Bridge offers a dedicated section of the playground to help spark conversations and lessons about making friends with someone who is “different,” modeling positive behavior, and encouraging kids to be up-standers and address the issues of bullying.
PLAYHOUSE + PLAYSTAGE
Through pretend-play, children experience the full range of their senses and feelings, how their bodies move through space, and how their imaginations can create alternate worlds of existence. Since 1987, Barbara Butler Artist-Builder, Inc. has created over 600 unique play structures — and their first wheelchair-accessible, two-story playhouse and treehouse was designed and built especially for Magical Bridge.