Continuing Education for Professionals

We are thrilled to offer Continuing Education (CE) to professionals like you, who share our goal of creating awe-inspiring play solutions for all. We provide pre-recorded, online courses through our Learning Management System, or live courses via Zoom. Select an option below to begin.

 

On-Demand Courses Live Zoom Courses

Continuing Education for Professionals

Accreditation

All courses are available to you for free, with accreditation* We’re an approved provider through ASLA’s Landscape Architecture Continuing Education System (LA CES). Courses are approved for LA CES 1.0 PDH accreditation*. If you’re a landscape architect or other professional, you can count on Little Tikes Commercial to help maintain your LA CES accreditation.

* To receive accreditation, you must pass the quiz at the end of each course.

Continuing Education for Professionals

On-Demand Courses

All on-demand courses are available through our Learning Management System, which provides you the opportunity to learn at your own pace, and is available 24/7/365. If you’re a first-time user, select “Sign Up” below to register. If you’re a returning user, select “Log In” and enter your credentials. To review our available on-demand courses, select “View Course Descriptions”.

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Continuing Education for Professionals

Live Courses:

Sign up for one of our upcoming live CE courses below.

Continuing Education for Professionals

Youth Participating in Playground Design – March 23rd @ 1PM ET

Engaging youth in the playground design process can empower youth and create a more meaningful design. But, most of all, it is fun! This workshop will review how engaging youth in playground design can benefit the project, youth, and community. We will present several strategies and activities for engaging youth of different ages in different phases of the design process.

At the end of the course, participants will be able to:
– Explain how engaging youth in a playground design project can improve a project and help build human and social capital.
– List key strategies for planning a successful youth engagement process.
– Identify appropriate youth engagement activities based on the design phase and the youths’ ages.

Speaker:
Katherine Melcher is an associate professor at the University of Georgia’s College of Environment and Design. She teaches courses in community design, social theory and design, healthy places, and urban design. Her research interests span landscape architecture theory and the social aspects of design, with a special focus on participatory design. She is a licensed landscape architect with over fifteen years of experience in community-based development and design. Her work focuses on the interaction between design and community needs, particularly participatory design processes and community places. Her projects include parks, playgrounds, schoolyards, streetscapes, and pedestrian and bicycle trails.

 

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Continuing Education for Professionals

On-Demand Course

Descriptions:

All on-demand courses are previously recorded.

Continuing Education for Professionals

Combatting Trauma with Playful Spaces

All children deserve to grow, play, and thrive in a safe environment. Unfortunately, the society within which we all live is filled with places, conditions, and emotional stresses that attack our safe places. Children who have experienced trauma and toxic stress require sensitively designed play/recreational environments to minimize the impacts of the attacks from adverse childhood experiences. Trauma-informed design is an emerging field focused on supporting the environmental and psychological needs of trauma victims and survivors. This presentation will focus on the aspects of design that can help this demographic thrive despite the challenges they face.

Outcomes:

At the conclusion of this course, you will be able to:

  • Describe the breadth, nature, and impact of trauma on children in our current society.
  • Discuss trauma-informed principles for outdoor play/recreation space design that help combat and minimize negative impacts of trauma.
  • Show real world examples of design that supports physical, psychological, cognitive, and social development for children who have or are experiencing trauma.

 

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Community Engagement: A Case Study

Kids Cove in Marquette, MI, USA had been a beloved playground for two generations. When it needed to be replaced, many people in the community were disappointed to see it go away. A group of volunteers identified the need for an inclusive playground in the community. The City agreed to the plan if the volunteers led the fundraising and planning. In less than 20 months, the group hired a landscape architecture team, brought the community around to the idea of a new playground, created a design with input from many constituency groups, and raised over $1 million.

In this previously recorded course, we’ve interviewed three community members to learn how a group of volunteers in the upper peninsula of Michigan was able to accomplish what they did –  how they used crowdfunding to finish their campaign, and how the strong partnership between the architecture team and the volunteers was crucial to the success of their project.

At the end of the course, you will be able to:

  • Describe how an architecture team can help the community solicit input from different constituency groups.
  • Understand the pros and cons of undertaking a project in a small community with a 26% poverty rate.
  • Identify apps, programs, and ideas that can assist in getting the community involved in the project.

 

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Creating Extraordinary Playgrounds

What does it take to create an extraordinary playground? What strategies should you put into place so that your newest playground is visited by families from the neighborhood and from the next county over? In this previously recorded course , we will show a variety of built playgrounds. We will see how playgrounds fit into bigger settings; how theming makes a statement; how surfacing or one or two pieces of unique equipment can make something ordinary, or extraordinary; and how creating multi-generational and/or inclusive playgrounds draws families from all over.

Outcomes:

At the end of this presentation, you will be able to

  • Discuss how water play, height, and unique equipment can help create an extraordinary playground.
  • Identify small details that can take an ordinary playground to an extraordinary one.
  • Explain how playgrounds that reach the widest audience can often be extraordinary ones.
  • Understand the importance of child development when designing a playground

 

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Creating Intriguing Outdoor Playground Spaces

The design of outdoor space influences how children use their environments for play, exploration, and learning. Outdoor spaces and places that children have access to require examination from a variety of perspectives to determine what the space “says” to children. This previously recorded course is taught by a lead researcher on projects focused on examining strategies to advance children’s outdoor play through space design.

Outcomes:

At the conclusion of this course, you will be able to:

  • Examine space designs that support outdoor pedagogy and influence playground design.
  • Discuss why playground designs are examined from multiple lens.
  • Highlight how environmental attributes such as surfacing, topography and paths and wayfinding contribute to triggering children’s ideas and decisions about how to play in the space.

 

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Designing a Nature Playground

Nature play has been a hot topic for many years. You have probably seen some wonderful natural play spaces and some that make you wonder how safe or maintainable they really are. Developing a connection to nature and even just being outside playing has tremendous benefits for children from lowered stress to increased attention span to increased nature stewardship. In this course, we will look at the benefits of nature and playing in nature. Then we will look more closely at where to use nature in a playground. These quick rules of thumb will be based on Learning Landscapes Design’s 10 years of experience designing natural play areas. They take into account liability, maintenance, longevity, and play value.

Learning Landscapes Design is a landscape architecture firm specializing in inspiring places for learning and play. Michele Mathis principal designer at Learning Landscape Design has been designing spaces for nature connection, play, and learning for almost 20 years. It was a field that combined her passions of design, environment, and nature connection. She started the Oregon Natural Play Initiative as a place for Oregon park and designers leaders to come together and share our attempts at offering more natural places for play.  Since then she has earned a Masters in Education and become a parent (which is its own crash course that may never be ‘mastered’). LLD’s work has focused on how playgrounds and spaces for learning affect the growth and development of children. Our design team has learned a lot along the way. The path to quality nature play has been a curving and dynamic road. In this presentation, we will focus on creating high-quality and inclusive play spaces that combine playground equipment and natural materials. We will look at some of the decisions that need to be made by the owner and design team and how those decisions affect the resulting space for overall fun, sense of place, maintenance, and liability.

 

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Inclusive Play Clinic 2.0

Meet Natalie McKay and Jim Vollmer of Unlimited Play as they take a guided tour of an Unlimited Play playground.  Every piece of equipment is chosen to support inclusion.  Each decision about layout, from where the ramp starts to where the musical instruments are located is carefully thought out to support Unlimited Play’s five principles of inclusion.  The surfacing design supports children with visual impairments.  The theme runs throughout the entire playground to make it fun and educational.  The leaders of Unlimited Play will lead you through one of their most popular playgrounds explaining how and why each decision was made.

  • At the end of the course, a participant will be able to:
  • Understand multiple ways to design playgrounds to support parallel play.
  • Explain how to design a ramped structure to support children with a variety of disabilities
  • Explore how a theme can enhance a child’s learning
  • Describe how surfacing design can support children with visual impairments and/or children on the autism spectrum.

 

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Increasing Play Value with Playground Surfacing

Safety and accessibility surfacing is required in all playgrounds. The surfacing uses a significant portion of the playground budget. So, the question is, “how do you get more bang for your buck?” It is easy to increase the play value of the playground by adding designs, games, and undulations with the surfacing. Surfacing can help tell the story of your playground as well as provide important wayfinding details. In this previously recorded course , we explored how unitary surfacing can be used to transform an ordinary playground into one that the entire community is talking about.

Outcomes:

At the end of the course, you will be able to:

  • List strategies to use surfacing to create more play value.
  • Use surfacing to complement a wayfinding system and communicate about safety.
  • Identify the pros and cons of detailed surfacing designs

 

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Piaget and the Playground: Adding learning to the playground

The benefits of playing on a playground are well known. Children can get exercise, building up their core gross muscles, and practicing balancing as well as other physical play skills. Children make friends, practice cooperative play, and other social play skills. The playground is full of sensory play experiences from spinning to touching to jumping to hearing to seeing. What hasn’t been explored as much as physical, sensory, and social play, are Piaget’s forms of cognitive play. Just as it is important to ensure a variety of physical play events, so is it important to ensure that there are opportunities for functional play, constructive play, symbolic play, and games with rules. In this webinar, we will explore the benefits of these types of play and how to implement them on the playground.

Outcomes:

  • Understand Piaget’s forms of cognitive play.
  • Describe how playgrounds are the perfect place to practice functional play.
  • Explain 5 different ways to include symbolic play on the playground.
  • Illustrate the benefits of including Games with Rules on the playground.
  • Identify ways to include constructive play on a playground.

 

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Swings in a 21st Century Playground

Swings take a lot of space in a playground design.  Are they worth it? Swings stimulate a child’s sensory system and help with brain development. In this previously recorded course , we discussed the child development benefits to swinging. We also explored the many different types of swings that are now available, looking at the advantages of each one

At the end of the course, you will be able to:

  • Discuss how swinging can stimulate the sensory system and help with brain development
  • Explore how children use gross motor skills, fine motor skills, and motor planning when using swings
  • Explain the social benefits of having swings on the playground
  • Identify the different types of swings available and the advantages of each type
  • Explore how a combination of swings can promote inclusion.

 

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