Kids Konnection Playground: A Beautiful Playground for Kids of Diverse Abilities on the Northshore
Have you been to Kids Konnection playground on the Northshore yet? This is a “must do” outing with young kids in New Orleans. For starters, the physical beauty of the park is inescapable. The equipment and the grounds are in pristine condition, with pretty flowers and healthy greenery all around. Another beautiful sight is the part of the playground designed for the smaller children, including the popular “bucket” swings.
If you head to Kids Konnection, you will notice plaques here and there, and you will began to learn that there iss more beauty to this place than what you initially notice and feel. The plaques honor mothers – and their children with disabilities – who are the foundation of the playground’s creation. They also honor the private citizens, businesses, corporations and government entities who gave their time, money and talents to ensure the playground would grow from an idea to an actual place for all people to enjoy. Beautiful!
A Playground for Everyone in New Orleans
Knowing this makes many other aspects of the park make sense and puts one in awe of the creativity poured into all the different activities the park has to offer. In addition to traditional playground equipment found at almost any playground, there are special, little nooks all throughout the park for play and learning. A xylophone made of wood and pipes, a place to sit and “drive” a “car,” a sand and water station, a large see-saw with large seats, several different tactile activities, as well as swings with large backs, and a huge sandbox with lots of different sand toys to use. One of the most beautiful things about all of the equipment, traditional or not, is that every single area of the playground is accessible by wheelchair! Not to mention, nearly all play areas are heavily shaded. This helps everyone dealing with Louisiana summers and people with conditions that require them to avoid direct sunlight and extreme temperatures.
I personally have been a special education teacher/tutor for many years. To me, this isn’t just a really cool, handicap accessible playground. For me, the children, and the families I have worked with, this is a place where children and adults with disabilities and diverse abilities can play just like everyone else. More importantly, this is a place where they can “konnect” with a large amount of people with varying backgrounds and abilities. Maybe most significantly, this is a place where they can be more a part of their community.
The History of Kids Konnection Playground
There is a lot of power when two moms of children with disabilities sit in a kitchen together! The seed for the playground was planted when one of the moms asked the other if her child had ever been to a playground before. One mom had heard of something called a Boundless Playground, and they wanted to make sure their children were able to enjoy the experience of going to a playground like all other children do.
As described on their website, “Boundless Playgrounds are special playgrounds designed so that all children of all abilities can play together. In January 2004, they [the aforementioned moms] gathered with other mothers like themselves and formed an executive board. They vowed that they would find a way to build this playground and named their group ‘Kids Konnection,’ for kids to connect through play.”
They began to spread the word about their ambitious endeavor. They needed at least one acre of land in central St. Tammany to accommodate the playground, parking, and handicap accessible rest rooms. With the help of Kevin Davis and the Tammany Trace, the land was donated. The parents raised the $438,000 in one year. In the fall of 2007, with thousands of in-kind donations, over 500 volunteers gathered for three weekends to build south Louisiana’s first totally accessible playground valued at $1 million. Beautiful!!!