Playgrounds are often not suitable for children with a handicap or a behavioural limitation. NSGK (the Dutch Foundation for the Handicapped Child) asked Panton to help in achieving its mission to enable all children, including those with a handicap, to play together in playgrounds. Together we founded the Speeltuinbende (playground crew). In this cool crew children, with and without disabilities, test playgrounds together for accessibility. Panton designed the test method, test tools, the test web app and the website of the Speeltuinbende. We also created shirts, caps, stickers and badges so that every child can show that it is a member of the coolest crew in The Netherlands. Meanwhile, hundreds of children in the Netherlands are members and dozens of playgrounds have been adjusted based on the feedback from the Speeltuinbende.

SAM play elements for playing together

For many playgrounds it is not feasible to rebuild the whole playground and buy other equipment to increase accessibility. Panton developed the 'SAM', a series of play elements by order of NSGK. SAM makes different places in the playground accessible, safe and playable for children with disabilities. By doing so, playing together with children without disabilities becomes possible again. For example, there is a raised sandpit for children in wheelchairs, and there are poles with a scavenger hunt that indicate an accessible route. SAM also provides a handy grip to make it easier for children to climb onto the playground equipment.

Each play element offers a challenging game, while at the same time providing a number of useful functions:

  • make places or play equipment accessible
  • bridging obstacles
  • offer recognition and overview
  • protect in dangerous places and situations (such as visually impaired people near swings)

Speeltuinbende in the Jeugdjournaal (National youth news)

On 26 June 2018, the Jeugdjournaal even devoted an item to the Playground Gang.
You can watch the report here:

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