This course will dive into the intricacies of the proprioceptive system, shedding light on how children utilize play equipment to receive sensory feedback. It further highlights the significance of auditory and vestibular experiences, going beyond the ordinary concepts of musical instruments and swings. Lastly, we’ll discuss the roles of taste and smell, and how a strategically placed sensory garden near your playground can enhance sensory input.
By the end of this course, you’ll be able to:
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About this course
We’re all familiar with the five main sensory systems (vision, smell, touch, taste, and hearing). But, did you know that there’s two lesser-known sensory systems? The proprioceptive and vestibular systems help with our body awareness, and are just as important to consider when designing a playground.
In this course, Megan Miller of PlayPower goes over each sensory system and how it relates to child development. In addition, she proposes creative ways to incorporate these sensory systems on the playground.
- Proprioceptive System: The sensation we get in our muscles when pushing, pulling, or stretching. Can be incorporated on a playground through weightbearing activities, like overhead climbers.
- Vestibular System: The receptors in our inner ear that tells us where we are in relation to space and gravity. Can be incorporated on a playground with swings, slides, or spinners.
- Auditory System: The system in our bodies responsible for interpreting sounds. Can be incorporated on a playground using musical instruments or loose parts (i.e. falling washers).
- Visual System: The system that helps us determine our physical surroundings through sight. Can be incorporated on a playground using activity panels, scavenger hunts, or balance beams.
- Tactile System: The input we get from our skin that helps us differentiate pressure, texture, traction, etc. Can be incorporated on a playground through handrails, activity panels, or sandboxes.
- Olfactory System: The system that controls our sense of smell using our nose and nasal cavities. Can be incorporated on a playground through a sensory garden with flowers and herbs.
Megan Miller is the Founder and President of Miracle Playgrounds of Indiana. A leading specialist in outdoor recreation equipment, Miracle partners with parks departments, schools, and landscape architects across Indiana to deliver exciting play spaces. Megan founded Miracle in 2021, after working as a Product Manager for PlayPower for 5 years.
At PlayPower, Megan managed a cross-functional team of product engineers, manufacturers, and marketing specialists. She was involved in the design, development, and testing of play equipment from early innovation to market release. In particular, Megan specialized in the design of sensory components for children with intellectual and developmental delays.
Prior to her position as Product Manager, Megan worked as the Marketing Coordinator for PlayPower. In this role, she was responsible for developing and executing the company’s marketing plan and leading a team of graphic designers, photographers, and copywriters. She is passionate about collaborating with other creatives and analyzing how marketing strategy influences brand perception.
Megan brings her experience at PlayPower with her to Miracle Playgrounds. Her many years working as a liaison between sales reps, designers, and engineers gives her a unique perspective when designing the perfect playground for her customers. Her passion for play has only grown since founding Miracle, where she’s excited to step away from her desk and see her projects come to life.
The great thing about our courses is that they’re designed for all levels of experience. Whether you’re a parent on a PAC planning your first playground, or a landscape architect with decades of experience, there’s always something new to learn. Plus, our courses offer a quick way to stay up to date with the most recent trends in playground design.
Our courses take into account multiple groups and audiences, all of whom have different needs for their playground. A few groups that will benefit from taking our courses include:
- Parents: Parent volunteers will learn the most important aspects to consider when planning their playground project.
- Teachers: Teachers will learn about the educational benefits of play and how to incorporate them on the playground.
- Landscape Architects: Architects will learn innovative design ideas that they may use in their upcoming projects.
- Parks & Recreation: Parks professionals will learn about recent advances in safety, inclusion, and sustainability.
- Property Managers: Property managers will learn how playgrounds can attract families to live in their neighbourhood.
Megan Miller is the President of Miracle Playgrounds of Indiana, a specialist in outdoor recreation equipment. Formerly, she was the Product Manager for PlayPower, where she was involved in the design, development, and testing of sensory components.