July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 50

OPERATIONS
Healthy Communities, Parks
and Splash Pads
By Barb Lapierre
T
he World Health Organization (WHO) continues to underscore
the importance of community parks as they relate to family
health. Kids are playing less, getting less exercise and often lack
access to physical activity opportunities (childhoodhealthyliving.
ca). As a result, the prevalence of obesity in children has approximately
tripled in the past 30 years (tinyurl.com/3vnvndsr). Acknowledging this
rise in obesity and many other chronic diseases, WHO has stressed how a
child's environment significantly determines their overall well-being.
Local parks have the power to
promote a healthy lifestyle for children
and families alike. As demographics,
health and inclusion concerns
evolve, aging facilities and
new projects must step up to keep
communities engaged and active.
Attracting Families
Because children's use of parks is
mainly guided by their parents and
caregivers, understanding their preferences
is essential for creating the most
inviting and usable park spaces to facilitate
children's physical activity.
However, very few studies have
been conducted to document parents'
and caregivers'
preferences.
Research completed several years
ago concluded that less than 50 percent
of respondents frequented the
park closest to their starting destination
(tinyurl.com/yvxhns72). Most
traveled nearly two-and-a-half miles
to the park; the park location was
less important than the amenities
they desired. In fact, the main reasons
for choosing certain parks were
water attractions, shade, swings and
cleanliness.
Water Play
Splash pads have become one of the
most popular methods of encouraging
physical activity and much more.
Of course, they develop kids' aerobic
capacity, muscular strength, agility,
reflexes,
fosters social skills, giving children
the tools to cope with stress and the
means to solve problems actively.
A healthy
community
also
means making inclusion a priority.
Splash pads employ an inclusive
design approach that incorporates
both accessibility and universality.
This means accommodating as
many people as possible, regardless
of age or physical or mental ability.
Healthy Communities
Perhaps the most understated element
of a splash pad is its transformative
power to create healthier
communities by building social capital.
They become vital gathering
places creating safer, more connected,
engaged and active communities.
Splash pads connect families. Parents
and caregivers tend to get off
the bench and join in the water fun
more than any other play opportunity.
Splash pads encourage healthy
play across generations.
Splash pads connect communities.
An aquatics play space becomes a
destination and gathering point for
neighbors. Parents can connect, and
neighbors can build or strengthen
ties. The presence of more individuals
and families in public spaces
helps to reduce crime and vandalism.
Amenities like splash pads poscoordination
and motor
Water play is a joyful source of fun,
creating hours of enjoyable moments for
every family member.
skills. They encourage necessary free
play, where activities are unscripted,
and minds are open to creativity.
Cognitively, children interact with
the water features, and they learn -
reasoning, cause and effect, and intuition.
Water play is also a rich sensory
experience, as kids see, touch and
hear various water effects and color
reflections. Splash pads encourage
collaborative play that promotes
teamwork, generates interaction and
50 Parks & Recreation | JULY 2 0 2 4 | PARK S ANDRECRE AT ION . OR G
itively impact the local economy.
Towns and cities with well-designed
public spaces attract
which improve the local tax base
and increase property values.
Splash pads have been proven to
increase park usage, promote inclusion
and build social capital, supporting
healthy communities.
Barb Lapierre is Director of Direct Sales
and Education at Vortex Aquatic
Structures International (blapierre@
vortex-intl.com).
businesses,
PHOTO COURTESY OF VORTEX AQUATIC STRUCTURES
http://childhoodhealthyliving.ca http://childhoodhealthyliving.ca http://tinyurl.com/3vnvndsr http://tinyurl.com/yvxhns72

July 2024 – Parks & Recreation

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of July 2024 – Parks & Recreation

July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - Intro
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - Cover1
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - Cover2
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 1
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 2
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 3
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 4
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 5
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 6
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 7
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 8
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 9
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 10
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 11
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 12
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 13
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 14
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 15
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 16
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 17
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 18
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 19
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 20
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 21
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 22
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 23
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 24
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 25
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 26
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 27
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 28
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 29
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 30
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 31
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 32
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 33
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 34
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 35
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 36
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 37
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 38
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 39
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 40
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 41
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 42
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 43
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 44
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 45
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 46
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 47
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 48
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 49
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 50
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 51
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 52
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 53
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 54
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 55
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 56
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - Cover3
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - Cover4
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/july-2024
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/june-2024
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/may-2024
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/april-2024
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/march-2024
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/february-2024
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/january-2024
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/december-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/november-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/october-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/september-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/august-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/july-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/june-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/may-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/april-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/march-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/february-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/january-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/december-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/november-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/october-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/september-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/august-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/july-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/june-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/may-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/april-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/march-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/february-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/january-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/december-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/november-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/october-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/september-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/august-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/july-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/june-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/may-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/april-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/march-2021
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