Spray Parks offer an abundance of benefits, for children and adults alike. After partnering with Water Odyssey, we’d like to shine the light on these benefits. Not only do spray parks help with kid’s learning, behaviour, and understanding, they also foster social connections. Who knew something so fun could also teach so much! We are delighted to be bringing spray parks back to Saskatchewan.
How Spray Parks Benefit Kids
Not only are spray parks a heck of a lot of fun, they also foster physical development, provide sensory stimulation through tactile interactions with water sprayers, streams, and jets. Splash pads encourage the development of gross motor movement through jumping, running and dodging. They also promote socialization of youth and families (something we can all use!) which invites a way for the community to engage with each other and form bonds. Along these same lines, spray parks are generally inclusive and ADA compliant assuming accessibility to the park, which provides your community a space where all can play. Splash Pads include intentionally designed features to cultivate cognitive skills like planning, imaginative thinking, focus, problem solving and self- control as children interact with moving water. These neurological building blocks shape and carry children through life. Lastly, children and youth are encouraged through spray parks to trade indoor time for outdoor time. Spending more time being active and less time being sedentary helps children perform better in school, learn new skills and improve self-confidence. Physical activity builds capacity in youth as they learn how to be leaders, how to be creative and problem solve and how to meet and build healthy relationships with friends.
Inclusive Play: Spray Parks for all Abilities
As mentioned above, spray parks are one of the few recreational facilities that are accessible to all abilities. This allows all children and adults to have the same fun with their friends, without any added cost or preparation. Splash pads should be designed as an aquatic play environment comprised of features that maximize the cognitive and sensory stimulation for children of all physical and mental abilities and is designed to encourage all children to play together and enjoy the same features. Play features that are wheelchair height accessible and adequate turn-around space between elements are important aspects to consider in design. Other considerations should be made for how children with autism or other sensory differences may approach such a space: is there a balance between intense and more gentle water play? How will the various sights and sounds affect those playing in this aqua play space?