‘Playground Gang’ tests new play forest at Efteling theme park

Nest! is inspected by the smallest advisors of Dutch Foundation for Disabled Children (Stichting het Gehandicapte Kind)

This month, the new play forest Nest! at Efteling, the fairytale theme park in the south of Holland, will be tested by a ‘Playground Gang’ from the Dutch Foundation for disabled children Stichting het Gehandicapte Kind.

Several members from the ‘gang’ will discover and judge different elements of the new play forest, which opened in May 2021 The foundation comprises experts in accessibility for children with disabilities and knows exactly what is needed to make a playground suitable for all children. The ‘Playground Gang’ is a group of children, with and without disabilities, who are committed to environments where every child can play carefree together with other children. Last weekend, the first children visited. After their assessment of Nest! the green signs went up. "It is super nice that the ‘Playground Gang’ had a great time in Nest! and that it has been approved. For months we have worked very hard to make this play forest as accessible as possible for children with and without disabilities. With this test, all the pieces of the puzzle fall into place", says Fons Jurgens, CEO of Efteling.

Playing together carefree
During the test, different elements were addressed. The ‘Playground Gang’ is very experienced in testing playgrounds and follows a standard programme. Playability, provision of information, social and physical accessibility are examined. The main focus is that all children, with or without disabilities, can play together carefree. "The fact that our ‘Playground Gang’ can test the new play forest is of course very special. During the design phase, Stichting het Gehandicapte Kind gave advice on the accessibility of Nest! It feels very complete that they can also give final advice and their reaction is very enthusiastic and positive", says Henk-Willem Laan, director of Stichting het Gehandicapte Kind.

First reaction
One of the first testers was Duncan (8 years old). He called Nest! "super fun", because despite his handicap and wheelchair dependence, he can play in the play forest. "What I liked best was the wobble bridge on the boardwalk and the green path with the bumpy wooden beams. I could cross them easily. But the slide is also great fun. I could get all the way there in my wheelchair and slide down it with my mum," he says enthusiastically.

Accessibility at Efteling
Accessibility has been a top priority at Efteling for many years. Since its foundation in 1952, it has been important for everyone to feel at home and safe. Nest! play forest is a place where everyone can feel at home: all young children with or without disabilities can play there together. With the creation of Nest!, we looked very carefully at the accessibility of the play forest for different target groups. Advice has been sought from the Dutch Foundation for disabled children Stichting het Gehandicapte Kind, among others.