April 9th, 2018
Interactive water play is an ever-increasing trend within the playground market. The demand for spray parks is constantly increasing in municipal parks, recreation centers, hotels and resorts, campgrounds, zoos, FEC’s, water parks, theme parks and even less obvious places such as shopping malls.
Interactive water play – having a user’s input create a variable output or response from a water feature – can be achieved through various designs of watertoys.
The simplest form of interactivity is created with water itself as it cascades down on you, or sprays on you in one way or another. For example, a number of jets shooting from a variety of directions can create different feelings or sensations, including tickling, pricking, coating and soothing. Stimulating the senses in all these different ways is what amazes the user and encourages the interactivity.
Empex Watertoys® has designed several categories of interactive water features to enhance the interactive water play experience, including:
1) Interactive Watertoys
Where the user creates a water jet by constantly pedaling, like on the Waterbike turning a handle, like with the Watershooter rocking back and forth like they do on the Squirtin’ Frog or pumping through an up and down motion as is the case with the Watertotter.
Simple interactivity is created without moving parts, but by simply using the hand. Our Aquaton line of water features are static play structures, or Aquatecture, that have varied nozzle designs. Interactivity is created by interaction with the nozzles. When one nozzle is blocked by the fingers of the user, the other water jets become stronger. As a result, the more nozzles that are are blocked by the user, the more the effect increases. Often, other children are called to participate in this interactive behavior, leading to many children working together in order to cause the craziest water jet possible. It’s amazing to see the children work together in order to produce these simple, yet amazingly enjoyable effects.
3) Simple interactivity with no moving parts by using the feet
For example, our Aquajets are ground jets with different nozzle designs. By stopping the flow of a nozzle with the foot will once again change the effect of the other jets.
4) Interactivity by turning a selector wheel.
Our Aquanetic structures provide a handwheel whereby the participant affects the outcomes by turning the wheel and selecting and activating a different water-based event, such as activating a particular spray array, pattern or spinning pinwheel, or even a set of turning gears.
Interactivity with water is also a physical learning experience for young children. They learn cause and effect and some basic, yet important, lessons in physics and fluid dynamics. They unconsciously learn subtle lessons about water pressure and water flow without realizing it.
Interactive water play also creates important social interaction between two or more children, leading to valuable lessons in beneficial social behaviors such as cooperation and teamwork.
And water play creates a relaxing experience for parents too. They can interact with the kids in the water or interact with a book on the sidelines, knowing the children are safe, away from deep water.
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