Redesigning Play for All
Many of us have fond memories of days spent spinning on the playground merry-go-round until the landscape blurred into a watercolor painting. There’s something thrilling and almost addicting to feeling that dizzying sensation.
Traditional whirls were designed very simply, however, offering a singular play scenario and making it difficult for children of all abilities to join in. Kids looking for a physical challenge might find classic merry-go-rounds boring, while kids who need extra support to stand or sit up might find the flat platform design unaccommodating.
Communities today demand parks with play equipment that appeals to everyone—offering various levels of challenge and a richer experience. That’s why we decided to take the classic whirl and redesign it to encourage more cooperation, socialization, and unity on the playground.
The motivation for SpinR went beyond accessibility and inclusion. It was about developing what we call a “play rich” product—something that enables every child to be challenged at their own level of development and receive the full physical, sensory, and social benefits of play. We turned a spinning-focused activity into a climbing, relaxing, and more cooperative event for everyone.
A New Angle
We started by rethinking the angle of the platform to increase the challenge, creating a volcano-like structure with sturdy perforated steel. Combining motion and climbing into one event, SpinR stimulates the child’s brain and creates a brand new, more physically active experience. The angle offers many options for play; kids can climb, recline, hang, sit, perch, stand, or ride the outer rim. They can ride facing inward or outward, both of which offer a completely different feel and view. It tests their strength, balance, gross motor planning skills, proprioception, and creativity. It also allows kids to lie or lean against it for a more relaxing ride. Grip-friendly handles let riders steady themselves and provide a sure handhold for the person starting the spin.
Even children with limited mobility can get the full body sensation of spinning. To provide the most inclusive experience, SpinR can be configured with one or two recessed, outward-facing seats. Set at transfer height, the wide seats make it easy for a parent or caregiver to help their child onto the whirl or actually sit and ride with them. It also has the option for adding a personal support belt. The slight inward pitch of the seat allows kids with poor trunk control to sit back with friends and enjoy the ride.
Younger children will love to claim their spot at the top. The cup of the SpinR produces a gentler sensation, and lets them pop in, hide out, or sit with their legs in the center and chat face-to-face with friends.
Play Richness On Your Playground
Everyone has their own unique set of strengths and weaknesses. Parks need to keep this in mind when planning a new play space. Choosing equipment that accommodates all ages and abilities is just the first step. We need to provide unique physical, sensory, and social experiences at every level of difficulty. We can’t settle for accessible. Every child has the right to be challenged and to play alongside their peers.
Explore SpinR and the reimagined classics of the Unity® Collection at Playworld.com/Unity.