My OT tips

A Playground for Everyone

We are on a family vacation in Myrtle Beach this week and we naturally catered our itinerary to toddler-friendly activities that Chase would find fun as well.  While I plan to post about our entire Myrtle Beach vacation at a later date, I felt compelled to write about today’s amazing playground experience while it was fresh in my mind.

Down the road, about a mile from the resort where we are staying is the new community development called The Market Common, a mixed retail and residential town which officially opened in 2008. Within Grand Park Recreation Complex, we found the most impressive I’ve ever seen, Savannah’s Playground. When I googled local playground, I had no idea what type of gold mine for kids that we would find. This place was unlike any playground we’ve ever been on. It was HUGE and brand spanking new! But the most outstanding feature was it’s adaptive or enabling play areas, designed to accommodate all children with varying levels of development and deficits.

As an Occupational Therapist, I went bananas at this place. This is an ADA-approved playground, so I went exploring every single feature that it had to offer.  I honestly think I was taking more advantage of this playground than my own child, but that’s ok. From the wheelchair accessible ramps, to the lowered-height sensory and activity centers, to the safety swings for larger children with developmental delays, they had everything. There were different play areas for crawlers, walkers and those who may be completely immobile. There was even an adaptive ZIPLINE! What??!!!!! This was just too cool. As a pianist, I also loved the Harmony Park, which had different percussion instruments like marimbas, glockenspiels, large chimes, and hand drums. It was so much fun to play them all. Chase enjoyed hitting a few as well.

The animal lover in me also enjoyed our serendipitous encounters with small families of  ducks, geese and turtles in and around the pond adjacent to the playground. See photos below.

Savannah’s playground was created in honor of a special girl, Savannah, who was diagnosed with William’s Syndrome. So far they have raise almost $1 million and their goal is to reach $3 million to complete phases 2 and 3 of the playground complex. If this is something you are passionate about and want to donate, here’s the link. I was thoroughly impressed with the meticulous detail and thought that went into creating such an awesome park. The best part is that it does not scream “PLAYGROUND FOR SPECIAL KIDS”, but one that is all-inclusive for children of all abilities and needs. Parks like these help to reduce the stigma for children with disabilities and make my heart swell with pride. Huge high-five to this design team and advocates for this project.