Playing outside is an essential part of childhood development. In fact, it is recommended that children get at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day, and even toddlers should be involved with active play throughout the day. It can help if you are able to take your children to a park that has a playground in it because these areas allow for a variety of physical play that is great for all ages. If you install a residential playground for kids in your backyard, you can even get the benefits of this kind of play right from home. Here is how playgrounds foster positive child development activity.
Play That Benefits Your Child
Playing on playground equipment encourages muscle development and can assist in developing gross and fine motor skills. The physical benefits are among the more obvious reasons to get kids outside and playing every day:
- Jungle Gym: Gripping the bars helps fine motor skill development and climbing, which helps build muscle strength. Depending on the type of jungle gym setup, this type of active play may also help with spatial awareness.
- Swings: Swings encourage both fine and gross motor skill development simply by gripping the chain and pumping the legs. They are also great for teaching about speed, direction, and physical coordination.
- Sports Games: Sports, particularly those that involve a ball such as a basketball and four square, aid in developing coordination and object manipulation. When you incorporate strategy into the mix, these games can also be useful for enhancing problem-solving and critical thinking skills.
- Free Play: This includes any other sort of playing on a playground, including pretend play, tag, sliding, running, crawling, and more. Free play encourages creativity for brain development as well as builds muscle, enhances coordination, and promotes self-confidence.
Characteristics Playground Play Develops
When you have multiple children playing together in kids’ play place, development can take on a whole other form from the physical. Playing together on and around playground equipment also encourages the following important skills:
- Social: As the kids interact, they build on their social skills, such as learning how to make friends. Even disagreements can be important for helping children learn about conflict resolution, problem-solving, and compromise in some cases. It is also beneficial for kids to interact with others their own age.
- Communication: Children naturally engage with each other through speech while playing outside. This also helps build on creativity as they communicate and play games, especially with pretend play.
- Leadership: Kids may also take turns being in charge of different aspects of play on a playground. This builds leadership skills early that can serve to benefit them later in life.
It is important for you to supervise your children when they play outside, particularly if they are very young. However, don’t be afraid to let them resolve some issues on their own in order to help these skills develop.
Movement is Important
Playground activities are the perfect blend of building skills physically, emotionally, and intellectually. By installing a quality playground for kids in your own backyard, you can encourage your children (and maybe even the neighbors) to be more active and maybe spend a little less time in front of a screen. To learn more about the different play set options that may be perfect for your home, browse the sets at Backyard Fun Zone or call us directly at 616-785-7383.
Photo Credit: noBorders- Brayden Howie/ Istockphoto