Continuing Education for Professionals

Are you looking to expand your knowledge about playground design while simultaneously fulfilling your yearly Continuing Education (CE) requirements? Little Tikes Commercial offers educational courses for free, with automated credit reporting. If you are an architect, landscape architect, or other construction professional, you can count on Little Tikes Commercial to help you maintain your accreditation.

Little Tikes Commercial is an approved CE provider through the ASLA–Landscape Architecture Continuing Education System (LA CES). Our courses are approved for LA CES 1.0 PDH

Continuing Education for Professionals

Making Magic Happen: Creating Outdoor Environments for Young Children – May 20th @ 1PM ET

Magic happens on a well-designed early childhood playground. An outside space that is well designed allows for stimulating and challenging play experiences that meet children’s ongoing developmental needs. The first five years of life are an especially critical time for brain development and forming the foundation for future learning and behavior. In this webinar, Dr. Angela Searcy will take you on a journey of discovery. Explore the importance of gross motor, pretend, and social-emotional play. Learn how to look at playground equipment with a critical eye and combine manufactured equipment with loose parts and nature play.

Speaker: Angela Searcy, EdD holds a B.A. in English and Secondary Education with teacher certification through the State of Illinois, and a Master of Science in Early Childhood Development from Erikson Institute with a Developmental Therapy Credential through the State of Illinois. Angela is also the owner and founder of Simple Solutions Educational Services, providing professional development and therapy services to children and families with children aged 0–18 years of age. She is a “Master Trainer” for the Illinois State Board of Education, The Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning at Vanderbilt University and the Multisensory Training Institute in Massachusetts.

Angela also serves as an educational consultant throughout the Chicagoland area and an adjunct professor at Rasmussen College. Angela is a nationally recognized speaker with over 20 years of experience working with professionals, young children, and their families as an early childhood teacher, child development specialist, staff developer, mental health consultant, parent educator, language arts teacher, college professor, and tutor. Angela is a regular speaker for the Learning and the Brain Conference Sponsored by Harvard, Yale and Stanford Universities.

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Piaget and the Playground: Adding learning to the playground – June 17th @ 1PM ET

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.

Speaker: Mara Kaplan. Mara Kaplan is an educator, an advocate for inclusive play, and a parent of a child with disabilities. Ms. Kaplan is nationally and internationally recognized for her expertise in inclusive play design for more than two decades. Ms. Kaplan is the editor of the Inclusive Play Design Guide and helps inform the designs for many of our inclusive products. She provides third-party certification for playground designs. She speaks around the country about her journey as a parent of a child with disabilities as well as on topics of universal design, inclusive playgrounds, and including social and cognitive play.

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Previous Courses

Urban Playground: How Child-Friendly Planning and Design Can Save Cities

What type of cities do we want our children to grow up in? Car-dominated, noisy, polluted and devoid of nature? Or walkable, welcoming, and green? As the climate crisis and urbanization escalate, cities urgently need to become more inclusive and sustainable. This session taught by Tim Gill, scholar, advocate and consultant on childhood, reveals how seeing cities through the eyes of children strengthens the case for planning and transportation policies that work for people of all ages, and for the planet. Gill will show how urban designers and city planners can incorporate child friendly insights and ideas into their master plans, public spaces, and streetscapes.


Meaningful Placemaking for Outdoor Spaces: Best Practices for Design and Specification of Fabric

Never before have human beings been so sedentary, nor spent so much time indoors. One obstacle to being outdoors is sun exposure – healthy in small doses but dangerous in large ones. This course offers shade creation techniques for designers, landscape architects, urban planners and park and recreation professionals. Tensile fabric structures elevate the value of outdoor space to a high degree. They can be purely functional or wildly imaginative. The designer’s imagination is the key. This course discusses the value of tensile fabric structures and the variety of applications for this exciting form of architecture. The factors that make up tensile fabric structures are discussed, including framing, fabric, connections, and foundations. The process of bringing a fabric structure from idea to implementation is thoroughly discussed. And case studies are inserted throughout to show these innovative structures in action.


10 Steps to a Playground for Children on the Autism Spectrum

1 in 54 children in the United States are on the autism spectrum. 3.5 million people in the United States live with an autism spectrum disorder. This workshop will explore the autism spectrum disorder, the implications for families bringing their child to a playground, and 10 strategies to incorporate in playground designs that address those needs.

Instructor: Mara Kaplan



Playground Fundraising and You

You can’t build a playground without money. Organizations that understand the fundraising landscape – and have a strategy for meeting their objectives – are typically more successful. In this session, we will explore how to identify and communicate effectively with potential donors and review the strategies you can employ to execute a winning fundraising campaign. As part of this session, we’ll also discuss the realities of fundraising in a post-Covid world, including the future of online fundraising and in-person events.

Instructor: Jason Rodham


The Land & Water Conservation Fund

Passed into law in the summer of 2020, the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA) is a landmark piece of environmental legislation for the United States. One of its key outcomes is to guarantee full funding and allocation of the 1965 Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). Historically, the LWCF has been dogged by underfunding, diversion of resources and uncertainty about its long-term future. The GAOA establishes a permanent, minimum-level of funding for the LWCF at $900-million annually. This presentation will discuss the LWCF’s ongoing operation and the scale and scope of its investment in outdoor recreation over the past 55 years.

Instructor: Jason Rodham

1 LU from LA/CES

Surfacing Secrets

Loose fill vs. Synthetic. Accessibility and Safety. Cost and Maintenance. Every playground requires safety surfacing, yet what to purchase is one of the hardest decisions to make. In reality, there is no perfect surfacing, but in this course we will explore all of the different options and discuss the benefits of each type. The goal of this course is to give you all of the information so that you can educate your customers. Together you will be able to make the best decision for a particular playground’s size, budget, use, and maintenance plan.

Inclusive Play Clinic

Who needs play? Everyone! This course offers various design concepts that help people of all abilities feel welcome on the playground. Unlimited Play, Little Tikes Commercial’s premier partner, is a non-profit organization focused on transforming communities by building universally accessible playgrounds that provide the freedom of play for ALL children and families.

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