France (Vannes) – 100% inclusive playground “Les Fleurs de Tohannic”

Client: City of Vannes

Location: Les “Fleurs de Tohannic” (Tohannic’s Flowers) Play Area – Etang de Tohannic, Brittany, France

Year: 2019

The City of Vannes situated in southern Brittany (France) wanted an inclusive play area on the Etang de Tohannic site. This project designed and implemented by Proludic makes Vannes the first city in Brittany to install a play area of this size accessible to all: 750 m², 30 items of play equipment and 50 fun activities suitable for children with motor, auditory, visual or intellectual disabilities.

 

3 spaces for 3 age groups

The play area is made up of three spaces set around a central hub easily visible with its 3.60-metre high flowers. Their plexiglass petals create interesting light effects when the sun is shining. The flowers serve as a meeting place and a point from where children and accompanying adults can have a 360° view over the entire play area.

 

 

For the very young: The Sea space

Here there are several ground-based play opportunities: playhouses, springers, play panels and swings suitable for children with disability.

  • The playhouses have wide entrances, supportive elements and internal dimensions large enough for children in a wheelchair to easily manoeuvre. The playhouses are real places of refuge for children who may need to be alone and observe in a quiet space.
  • 3 types of springer are provided: a version for two users, a single user version with backrest and side panels providing good body support for children with reduced motor skills and thirdly, a 10-seater structure mounted on 3 large springs and with a wide platform that’s close to the ground for easy transfer of children in a wheelchair.
  • Swings suitable for children with reduced mobility offering easy and independent access by wheelchair users to a shared play item.

 

For the middle age group: The Earth space

The centrepiece of this space, the Diabolo multi-play structure is a combination of platforms, access points and a variety of play elements.

Accessibility for children with reduced motor skills is encouraged by the presence of a ramp, low floors and secure steps. The play activities, located inside and outside the structure, help with development of motor skills, fine motor skills and cognitive faculties while also providing sensory stimulation. There are multiple easy-access entrances so that accompanying persons can share and encourage play activities or intervene quickly if needed.

The Earth space also features sound play items, Springers, play panels and trampolines, making it a place for exchange and interaction where children can learn to cooperate through play.

  • The Sensory Flowers are for everyone to enjoy including children with all types of disabilities: each flower is made up of two parts in bright complementary colours. Each flower emits a specific sound when the central part is rotated. The engraved graphics provide added tactile stimulation and the rounded shape of the stems offers optimal user-friendliness for wheelchair users.
  • Positioned at ground-level, the Inclusive Trampolines enable children in wheelchairs to easily access this equipment and – with the help of an accompanying person or playmate – gently experience the sensation of bouncing.
  • Play Panels include various manipulative activities requiring observation, concentration and eye-hand coordination. The low components installed at ground level make them suitable for children with reduced motor skills.

 

For older children: The Sky space

A large Kanopé multi-play structure measuring 87 m² occupies this play space where children can climb in all directions, clamber up and down many different-shaped rope structures and whizz down a slide or fireman’s pole. The balancing steps walkway has a long net alongside it that children can hold to help them stay in control and cross safely.

The Twiny car is a themed play item for sharing and has direct rear access for children in a wheelchair.

Mounted on two large springs, the Double Spring Perch requires a certain level of coordination by two children in order to create the rocking motion. Children can stand or sit depending on their abilities and wishes.

Each space features a Light-it-up Challenge® sound and light play item.

The aim is simple: turn a crank handle – easily accessible on the lower section of a pole over 4 m tall – causing the LEDs to light up and music to play, and then get to the top as fast as possible. A super challenging play item!

To encourage interaction between children of different ages, two Tubophones (talktubes) connect each space. Positioned 25 metres apart and partly buried, these tubes enable children to communicate without having to shout.

 

Sensory Trail

Crossing through all the spaces in the playspace and thereby encouraging interaction between age groups, this 1-metre wide fun trail is easy to follow for children with reduced vision or reduced motor skills and their accompanying adults.

The trail surface type varies along the way: artificial grass, pebbles, balancing steps made of circles of wood, cobblestones, roughened concrete and a soft section. Children experience different tactile sensations with each material.

 

Surfacing

Surfacing was an integral aspect of the design process and involves much more than simply having attractive play surfaces. It’s important in terms of facilitating movement around the play area and identification of the various play elements within it.

The whole of the play area has soft surfacing apart from the sensory trail. The themed decor, contrasting colours and raised zones serve to demarcate the 3 play spaces but also to immerse children in an imaginary universe: representation of a beach for the Sea space, flowers for the Earth space and clouds for the Sky space.

Signs and furniture

All signs in the play area are in braille or sign language to ensure that users with hearing problems can fully understand the instructions.

The “Tohannic’s Flowers” play area also has benches and picnic tables accessible to users with reduced mobility and where families can spend time together.

[Video] See images of the play area (time lapse)

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