The Mansfield Area YMCA will open a fully inclusive splash pad on May 25 at 11 a.m. Rain Drop Products, LLC, created a custom design to foster play for children of all abilities.
The YMCA hopes the splash pad will create a fun and safe area for children to play and for the community to come together.
With little standing water at any given time, there is little risk of children drowning. Parents can relax and let their children have play safely while they interact with other adults. In this way, the splash pad will encourage stronger bonds within the community.
The YMCA received funding and support for the splash pad from the Richland County Foundation.
“A community pool is a gathering place for families get to know one another,” Brady Groves, president of the foundation, said. “We supported the Mansfield Y’s Splash Pad because it builds a stronger, healthier community.”
When Rain Drop became involved with the project, Mansfield Area YMCA President and CEO Cristen Gilbert and her team realized that a splash pad is the perfect place for all children to play together, regardless of ability.
Rain Drop showed the YMCA team that splash pad features could do more than just spray water. An entirely accessible and inclusive experience could be created for all children to enjoy through creativity and ingenuity.
“The Mansfield YMCA is the first organization to really go to this level of interactivity and inclusiveness,” President and CEO of Rain Drop Mark Williams said. “The idea of maximizing the sensory experience for all involved was the right thing to do. Right here in Mansfield, we have created the most interactive sprayground.”
One reason the splash pad is so inclusive is its wheelchair friendly features. But this accessibility is just one of many features that offers inclusivity. It also includes an abundance of features for autistic, low vision and deaf children. Some features combine tactile, audible and visual interaction.
Inclusive play maximizes senses of touch, sight, hearing, body awareness and movement. Children with special needs are either hyposentive or hypersensitive, and designs must account for both.
The splash pad will feature a submarine that is the pinnacle of inclusive interactive play. It has a series of buttons kids can press that are designed to stimulate a variety of different senses and cognitively engage them.
The submarine includes an LED illusion effect of looking down into the depths of the ocean. One button will start a gentle vibration and engine noise. It will regularly spray water, and on the hour, bubbles will spray from the top of the submarine.
Another feature is a VW Wagon bus. Its headlights are LED lights, and a variety of buttons will activate different sprays. Another button will activate Beach Boys music.
An iconic dumping bucket provides a high sensory experience. Every couple of minutes, a bucket will dump 300 gallons of water on a rooftop. This provides a high sensory experience, and older kids are especially attracted to this feature.
Other softer features include gentle jets. These were designed to stimulate senses, yet to also provide a calming effect. Jets and water flow can be adjusted to account for varying sensory experiences.
Misting features are gentle and soft while the dumping bucket offers a heavy stream of water. This again speaks to the inclusivity and variety of features offered in this splash pad, and how every kid will find something to enjoy about it.
To ensure the splash pad would be as inclusive as possible, Rain Drop consulted with students and professors from Ashland University’s Special Education department.
Williams said that he and his team learned a lot from these students. They taught Rain Drop what was already inclusive about their products, and made suggestions for small changes that could make the splash pad fully inclusive.
Williams also emphasized how the Mansfield Area YMCA is the first to produce a splash pad that is fully inclusive, and he believes this is the future of the business.
“I cannot stress enough,” Williams said, “This is my business, and we have never made anything like this. My competitors have not made anything like this. I believe it will get national exposure because of the inclusivity and interactivity.”
The splash pad is designed to accommodate as many children as possible, and to be a fun environment for all to play. Children of all abilities will have enjoy the splash pad features.
The facility will also be available to rent out for events. The LED lights make the water magical at night, and the splash pad would be available for party rentals.
Ribbon Cutting Tuesday, May 21st at 1:30pm (not open to the public)
Opening day: May 25th at 11:00am
Splash Pad Park Daily Guest Pass Rates:
12 & Younger: $3.00
13 & Older: $5.00
Family Pass: $30.00 (limit 6 per family, an individual rate for each additional person)
HOURS OF OPERATION:
Monday - Friday: 11:00 am - 8:00 pm
Saturday: 11:00 am - 5:30 pm
Sunday: 11:00 am - 4:30 pm
Memorial Day: 10:00am-5:00pm
Open Memorial day-Labor day weather permitting.
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