Who We Are
When Wood County Plays was started in the summer of 2019, there was a recreational gap in our community. Children with disabilities struggled to enjoy traditional play spaces. We set out to close this gap by building new, inclusive playgrounds around Northwest Ohio.
Inclusive playgrounds that are built by Wood County Plays are often the first in their communities. They allow those with special needs and their families a place to play and grow along with their typically developing family and friends. Additionally, all of our playgrounds address not just physical accessibility concerns but also give safe play for children with sensory, emotional, or cognitive disorders a place to play like never before - side by side with their peers!
While we're all inspired by the kiddos with special needs in our lives, Wood County Plays was founded after 2.5-year-old Grant was sidelined during a playdate with typically developing friends at a local playground.
Grant uses a walker to move around and mulch and stairs made it impossible for him to play with his friends. He was frustrated and we felt like we'd let our little guy down.
Later that night, while co-founders Ryan and Kaley were looking at inclusive playspace, they vowed to build a place where Grant could play like everyone else.
Along their journey, they met other families with unique requirements to making a playground truly inclusive. The Hoge family wanted secure fencing to keep their son Asher safe in case he eloped on the playground. Additionally, our team learned about ways to include nearly all sense into the play on playgrounds. (We skipped the sense of taste...)
After a few short and exciting meetings, the first Wood County Plays design team was assembled consisting of occupational and physical therapists, speech-language pathologists, teachers, school psychologists, construction specialists, and families with special needs.
Together, the team designed its first playground - Perrysburg Inclusive Playground presented by Mercy Health. Through community and individual donations of over $800,000, the playground was built in the summer of 2021 and opened to the public in July 2021.
Wood County Plays is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that designs, fundraisers, and builds fully inclusive play spaces that allow children of all abilities to play side by side. A beneficial resource in Northwest Ohio, Wood County Plays design team consists of therapists, teachers, community members, and parents of special needs parents to develop an inclusive playground that promotes learning, empathy, communication, and understanding among children.