Halloween is mostly synonymous with kids dressing up in spooky clothing and trick-or-treating from one house to the next. However, there are many other ways Halloween can be made enjoyable, including neighborhood- and church-focused gatherings. Did you know you can make your playground the hub of a fun Halloween festival for all to enjoy? Here are a few tips to make your event one they’ll remember:
Get creative by decorating playground equipment with spooky props like scarecrows, carved pumpkins, witches, black cats, scarecrows, and spider webs. This will help create a ghostly ambience to serve as a backdrop for your “ghoul-tastic” activities.
It just wouldn’t be Halloween without kids dressing up in costumes to represent their favorite characters. Host a costume contest to reward their creativity, and include special categories such as Scariest Costume, Funniest Costume, and Best Cartoon Character. Some events include a “costume swap” where the kids try on each others’ costumes, which can also be a lot of fun.
Face painting is another popular activity during Halloween that both kids and their parents can enjoy. Ask around to find a professional face painter in your community, and be sure to check out their work online before you hire them. Look for an artist with a broad range (not just scary faces) to accommodate the requests of kids and grownups alike.
Telling scary stories is a time-honored Halloween tradition; you might want to check with your local library to see if one of their more popular storytellers is available to read a favorite ghost- or goblin-themed kids’ book. Alternatively, you can also set up a projector and screen some scary (but still family friendly) movies.
When it comes to Halloween games, the choices are endless; here are a few you options to consider:
- Pumpkin decorating
- Eyeball spoon races (with a plastic eyeball balanced on a spoon)
- Mummy wrap races (teams wrap one member in toilet paper from head to toe, and the fastest team wins)
- Skeleton bone hunt (disassemble a plastic skeleton and hide the pieces around the playground; the child who collects the most pieces wins)
- Pumpkin bowling (using empty soda bottles as pins)
No matter which activities you decide to include, you can make your playground the site of a fun, safe Halloween event that parents and kids will remember all year long.
Playtime is important to every child’s development, not only contributing to physical and social skills, but also helping them discover their own self-interests. Research shows that children who enjoy regular playtime are less likely to suffer from depression and childhood anxiety.
However, finding the perfect place to play isn’t always easy, especially for kids with physical challenges. The government is making headway in this area under the American with Disabilities Act (ADA), which requires all playground designs, materials, and equipment to provide equal playing opportunities to children with disabilities as it does to their more able-bodied counterparts.
Playgrounds should not just be inclusive, but also allow effortless movement for wheelchair users. Here are a few product components that provide all children an opportunity to enjoy playtime:
Activity panels give kids a chance to exercise their creativity and imagination through music exploration (learning about rhythm, sound, and pitch) and simple coordination games. These panels have accessible-height activities to promote mental engagement and hand coordination through moving steering wheels and colorful balls.
“Rock’n Ship” Glider
According to the ADA, wheelchair accessibility platforms must have guardrails or barriers, and openings for access/egress play components should be narrowed to 15 inches or less. The wheelchair-accessible Rock’n Ship glider features a moderate swaying motion and 70 square feet of deck surface.
Rails are important for kids in wheelchairs as they provide gripping support, helping improve their ease of movement and maneuverability.
Therapeutic rings are ideal for stretching and exercising the upper body, helping improve mobility, strength, and overall health for any child.
Talk Tubes offers kids the chance to experience quiet downtime away from the noise of the playground while still enjoying one-on-one engagement.
Inclusive and adaptable playgrounds are important for all children to be able to interact, regardless of physical ability. To accomplish this goal, consider additional components such as ramping structures, surfacing, and sensory panels. Kids with disabilities and their parents will thank you … and so will their friends!