Schools and parks & recreation programs can foster inclusive friendships by intentionally offering inclusive play programming in which children of all abilities are taught the skills to play together successfully. Children will come to understand and appreciate each other's strengths and challenges, and they will feel nurtured, encouraged, respected, and active, both physically and socially during play - creating a deep sense of community among all children.
2 Play Together® strives to make a positive difference in inclusive play on the playground by creating communities that care through character education. 2 Play Together® offers playground activities and tips for educators and programmers to promote social inclusion between children of all abilities outdoors. Often children with and without disabilities need strategies that help them better understand how to play together successfully, even if there are differences in how they play, communicate, and engage. Teaching children about how they can actively play together takes inclusion to the next level and can be critical for creating truly meaningful play experiences between all children.
The inclusive playground activities, created by experts from the National Lekotek Center, were field tested during family outdoor playground events and included children with and without disabilities. Family play specialists observed how children naturally played together and incorporated considerations into the activities based on their observations of how children initiated interaction, communicated, and then applied strategies that fostered social inclusion. Additionally, Lekotek collected numerous testimonials from children, parents, and professionals to gain a comprehensive look at the positive outcomes that resulted when children successfully played together freely, by choice, creating fun and memorable experiences for all!
With thoughtful planning and programming, outdoor play environments can provide the prefect setting to create awareness, breakdown barriers, and between children of all abilities.
Preview an example of the types of activities in the companion guide, 2Play Together. Seek and Hide is a fun twist on hide and seek for children of all abilities to play together.