Original Publication Date: May, 2023
Focus: Sport & Exercise

Quality Participation on Playgrounds Blueprint--Programmer and Caregiver Versions

A team of researchers and practitioners with expertise in childhood disability, inclusive play, and community programming have produced two Quality Participation on Playgrounds Blueprint resources. They are adapted from the Canadian Disability Participation Project’s Blueprint for Building Quality Participation in Sport for Children, Youth, and Adults with a Disability. The resources present 20 evidence-informed strategies for building quality participation on playgrounds for children with disabilities. PDFs of the resources can be found at the bottom of the page or by selecting the images below.



How You Can Foster Quality Participation in Play for Children with Disabilities on Playgrounds - Programmer Version

This one-page resource can be used by programmers (e.g. camp leaders, and recreational program guides) as a tool to help guide the facilitation of quality participation in play for children with disabilities. The Quality Participation on Playgrounds Blueprint can be used alongside this one-page resource to help identify specific strategies. A pdf of the resource can be found at the bottom of the page or select the image below.



The KT Bulletin, Developing evidence informed strategies to foster quality participation on playgrounds (opens in a new tab), summarizes the rigorous, multi-step process that Dr. Arbour-Nicitopoulos and her research team undertook to develop 25 evidence-informed strategies to foster quality participation on playgrounds.


The Inclusive Playgrounds resource presents evidence-informed recommendations for designing inclusive playgrounds to enable participation for children with disabilities andprovides a diagram of a potential inclusive playground illustrating how these recommendations can be implemented. The research supporting the Inclusive Playgrounds resource is described in the KT Bulletin: Evidence-Informed Recommendations for Designing Inclusive Playgrounds to Enable Participation for Children with Disabilities (opens in a new tab).


A pdf of the Inclusive Playgrounds resource with the diagram's legend is available in English and French at the bottom of the page.


Diagram of an inclusive playground shows children of all ages and abilities playing in a playground, illustrating the evidence-informed recommendations for designing inclusive playgrounds.

 | Diagram created and designed by Megan Cheung |

Playground Elements & Recommendations

1.     Entry Points

1.1. Entrance to the playground space is wide and free of any obstacles 

1.2. Wide, flat, and firm pathways from the entrance to the playground 

1.3. Enclosing the playground to prevent children from straying (Promising Practice) 


2.     Surfacing and paths

2.1. A flat uniform surface that consists of material that is moderately firm and stable  

2.2. Ramps that provide access to and between elevated play components 


3.     Features to foster inclusive play

3.1. Play equipment accessible to all children 

3.2. Variety of play equipment that provides appropriate challenges for children of all ages and abilities 

3.3. Different types of sensory play components that are spread out within the play space to reduce overstimulation 

3.4. Solitary play components for escaping overstimulation 

3.5. Play components shaped in recognizable designs that allow for creative and imaginative pursuits 

3.6. Informational features to aid with spatial orientation, communication, and guidance on proper use of equipment 

3.7. Shaded spaces to aid with temperature regulation 


4.     Staffing/Supervision

4.1. Trained staff present in the play space to support play for all children 


5.     Design process

5.1. User involvement (families of children with disabilities and representative from disability organizations) in the design process  


To learn even more about how to create inclusive playground environments for children of all abilities, visit the Inclusive Playgrounds Playbook, made in partnership with our friends at Holland Bloorview: https://hollandbloorview.ca/research-education/bloorview-research-institute/research-centres-labs/epic-lab-inclusive