aximizing play value and respecting age-appropriate activity are important elements of any spraypark. This Dream Facility takes that maxim to the extreme, providing younger toddlers a place to explore water in a non-threatening environment while giving older kids plenty of exciting options.

Graphic courtesy Waterplay Manufacturing

The fun starts in the toddler interactive zone. Here, zero-depth water-play elements provide a great way for even the youngest children to get comfortable with water elements. They can enjoy the gentle spray of water on their faces without a surprise element. Keeping things closer to the ground allows the kids to interact with the components as well as with the water.

In addition, younger children like uncomplicated things. They often end up playing with the box in which a toy came, longer than with the actual toy. At this park, simple and recognizable elements are incorporated into the design in the form of crayons, pencils and paintbrushes with spraying nozzles along the whole component, not just from the top. A single spray from above is not enough to occupy them for long. Observe any spraypark and you’ll notice children playing and touching the water in different directions.

The musical components included in this design are perfect for the pint-size group. The grade-level keyboard allows a small child to interact directly with the water and be rewarded with fun, whimsical sounds or songs. The larger Tuney Tube is equally as exciting for the taller child able to reach the nozzles on this 6-foot-tall, larger-than-life component.

The older crowd needs a more active and interactive environment to keep them entertained. This design includes spilling larger volumes of water from above. To avoid knocking over a small child on a hard surface, the water falls into a shallow depth water-play park. Slides, always the busiest component in a park, can be a great meeting place to make new friends while waiting a turn. Water cannons allow them to spray their newfound friends, while interactive “wet wheels” let them control the water flow on giant flowers. Cooperative play components also help foster relationships and collaborative play, teaching kids essential life skills while they’re having fun.

Component and nozzle selection are integral dynamics of any well-designed park. A 12-year-old is not going to be terribly interested in a small, gently “popping” ground spray, but a 2-year-old will sit and giggle with delight even after the small ball of water has shot out of the ground for the 20th time. Conversely, a 2-year-old cannot comprehend the cooperative play elements found in some of the interactive features. Selecting lower flow nozzles for the tot’s area just makes sense.

Because any family facility should be inclusive, this park also is designed to be relaxing for parents or caregivers as they watch their children. Comfortable seating, tables and beverage facilities are placed strategically within eyesight of the children. A zero-depth component to the water-play park ensures that no one is left out. Suitable grading requirements and space planning enable easy maneuverability for a wheelchair, making large parts of this design ADA-compliant.

Such a Dream Facility gives parents a place to bring their toddlers. The repeat business from each child will pay off over the next decade, and the cycle most likely will continue. Such a tradition will benefit our children and communities in a healthier, family-inclusive environment for generations to come.