02-15-22 | Association News

Playground Associations

IPEMA and the Voice of Play: 2021 Highlights
by Staff

Inclusivity is one of the primary goals for IPEMA. It is estimated by IPEMA past president, Tom Norquist, that a mere five to ten percent of the quarter-million playgrounds in the United States were designed to be accommodating to all abilities. PHOTO CREDIT: JODY MEACHAM
President Lloyd Reese
Past President Tom Norquist
President-Elect Brad Pittman

The International Play Equipment Manufacturers Association (IPEMA) is a non-profit trade association that represents and promotes a market for manufacturers of playground equipment and surfacing. Voice of Play is their initiative that promotes growth in the quality and quantity of free play and the use of playgrounds.
In January of 2021, IPEMA stressed that "playgrounds ideally offer children and families an interactive, comfortable and safer place to play - but have you ever thought about everything that goes into creating that space? From playground surfaces to certified equipment, there are quite a few factors that go into
playground installation."

Then as winter turned to spring, IPEMA's immediate Past President, Tom Norquist, went through what goes into developing a playground. "Capacity, age range, play experience, location, cost and visibility are just a few factors that are taken
under consideration."
At the start of summer, Norquist went on to explain how the pandemic created a new play dynamic. "Safety is a top priority and as we start to see the caution tape come off of parks and playgrounds, there is a renewed hope that play is coming back
stronger than ever."
Finally, the former IPEMA president talked about how inclusivity in playgrounds has grown but still has a long way to go. "Inclusive playgrounds have grown tremendously in the past few years, but there is still room for improvement. In this article, we learn about Ava Villarreal's experience with public playgrounds. Ava suffers from multiple, still-undiagnosed disabilities, but that hasn't stopped her inspiration from spreading. Ava's mother saw a lack of inclusive public playgrounds, so she took it upon herself to create a playground suitable for all. It started as an idea and has led to the development of dozens of playgrounds created by parents around the United States."
Norquist then touches on inclusive playgrounds and talks about universal design. He estimates that between five and ten percent of the quarter-million playgrounds in the United States built by park and recreation departments, schools and housing developers have made at least some attempt to incorporate inclusivity."
IPEMA and the Voice of Play is looking forward to another year of successful play advances.


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