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Swings in the 21st Century

Swings play a pivotal role in a child’s sensory system and brain development, yet they often require a large area in a playground layout. Is their inclusion worthwhile? In this course, we’ll talk about the benefits that swings offer for a child’s growth. We’ll also review the variety of swings currently on the market, examining the merits of each kind.

By the end of this course, you’ll be able to:

Describe how swings enhance the sensory system and contribute to brain growth.
Discuss how kids utilize their gross motor skills, fine motor skills, and motor planning with swings.
Illustrate the social benefits of incorporating swings in the playground.
Recognize the variety of swings on the market, and the unique benefits of each one.
Investigate how an assortment of swings can foster inclusivity.

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About this course

What will I learn?

Though you might not realize it, swinging is actually one of the most difficult activities kids do on a playground. Physically, swings develop kids’ fine and gross motor skills. Mentally, swings are calming and provide a soothing sensation. For this reason, it’s important to include plenty of opportunities for swinging in your playground design.

In this course, Mara Kaplan of Let Kids Play will chronicle the history of swings from ancient times to the 21st century. In addition, she’ll cover the different types of swings that you can include on your playground, and their respective benefits.

  • Belt Seats: A playground classic that is suited for a wide range of users, including children, teens, adults, and seniors.
  • Toddler Seats: A bucket-style swing seat that provides extra support for toddlers, and allows parents to easily push them.
  • Accessible Swing Seats: Swing seats with a tall back and strap that help children with disabilities stay in place while swinging.
  • Group Swings: Multi-user swings, like saucer swings and nest swings, that allow an entire group of children to play cooperatively.
  • Ziplines: A swing on a single track that allows children to glide from side to side, with either a disc seat or accessible swing seat.
  • Parent-Child Swing: This swing includes two seats for parents and children, and allows them to face one another while swinging.

Who is my instructor?

Mara Kaplan is the Founder of Let Kids Play, a consulting firm that partners with manufacturers, communities, and parents to develop projects and strategies that provide optimal play opportunities for children.

Recognized nationally as an expert in designing play spaces, Mara is a committed advocate for inclusive play. As an educator and parent to a child with a disability, she holds a 25-year track record in designing, building, and managing both indoor and outdoor play environments. Her expertise also extends to play spaces and toys for children with and without disabilities.

In 1995, Mara, and five other parents raising children with disabilities, identified the significance of play in their children’s learning. They were determined to build a space where children of varying abilities could play together, leading to the founding of the Center for Creative Play. Mara served as its Executive Director for seven years before embarking on her journey with Let Kids Play.

Mara’s educational background includes a degree in elementary education and a minor in gifted education from Indiana University (Bloomington, IN). She later acquired her MBA, specializing in non-profit management, from Boston University.

Mara’s endeavors have earned her the Shore-Whitehill award for her efforts in enhancing the lives of people with special needs. Her work has been showcased in publications such as, the Wall Street Journal, Be the Change, and the Social Enterprise Reporter.

Who is this course for?

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.
Mara Kaplan, course instructor for "Swings in the 21st Century."

Mara Kaplan

Founder, Let Kids Play

Mara Kaplan is a nationally recognized expert in inclusive play, with 25 years of experience designing outdoor environments. She is the driving force behind Let Kids Play, a consulting firm that works with parents and communities to create accessible play spaces.

More Courses?

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