- Created: 10-21-21
- Last Login: 10-21-21
A playground is more than swings, slides and a means to entertain
children. The type of play that happens on a playground represents one
of the more important parts of a child’s development. Playgrounds are
an essential element to the health and development of the mind and
Playgrounds provide opportunities for children to practice a range of
social, emotional, physical and mental skills. By understanding the
benefits of adding stimulating and challenging
playground equipment to your playground, you can increase
the value of play.
A well-designed playground entices children to play and teaches key
developmental skills. Playground activities like swinging, climbing and
sliding may appear to be "just fun" on the outside, but
initiate important body systems to develop and function properly.
The movements children perform on a playground build both gross and
fine motor skills, along with core strength. Playground play also
enhances the vestibular system — the sensory system that controls
balance and coordination — and develops better body awareness.
Self-led exploration on sensory play panels help children to further
develop their senses. Our high-touch panels provide multiple ways to
grow cognitive, tactile, sensory/motor, emotional/social and language
skills, and invite children to play with each other and use their
Music Children can explore the power or rhythm, experience subtle
shifts in tone, and discover the many ways individual sounds can be
creatively combined through our collection of chimes, metallophones and
A playground provides the environment needed for children to engage in
elements that develop key cognitive, social and physical skills. How
children play, or their patterns of play, reinforce the importance of
having a mixture of indoor playground equipment that encourages an
assortment of play behaviors.
In our whitepaper, Shaped by Play: How Play Types Impact Development,
we discuss the findings of an observational study by the University of
Minnesota Institute of Child Development that looked at how play spaces
shape a child's development. The study suggests that different
playground components facilitate different patterns of play and
therefore reinforce different developmental skills. In the study, some
components—like the overhead ladders and more complex rope climbers—
seemed to attract older children and facilitate independent gross motor
play. Sometimes children engaged in group games (e.g., tag) or simply
talked to one another as they played (e.g., while swinging side-by-
side). Other times, they participated in collaborative activities like
pushing one another on the swings or working together to spin on the
Play involving gross motor skills like custom climbers, rope climbers,
overhead ladders, rock areas and slides occupied nearly half of
kids' playground time. These are active play elements and in
contrast to components that are designed to encourage sensory
exploration (e.g., the Smart Play? Motion play structure) or that allow
children to sit while someone else operates the equipment (e.g., the
swings or We-saw?). When children engage in activities that build and
develop gross motor skills they are building upper-body, lower-body and
core strength, it can also increase heart rate and improve
cardiovascular health, agility, balance, and hand-eye coordination.
Additional Skills Supported by Play Patterns on a Playground
Creativity is encouraged when children use
child playground set as the basis for
imaginative games. A child's imagination turns a climbing tower
into a spaceship or boat. Their play morphs and adjusts to their skill
level and they create an obstacle course or climb on the outside of a
Netplex? playstructure instead of the inside to increase difficulty.
Collaboration and cooperation can be encouraged by specific
components that require children to work together. Slides or our
ZipKrooz? zipline structures require turn-taking and communication. Our
Global Motion? and seesaws also encourage collaboration because
children can operate them as a team, some ride and some push. Sound and
movement can even be utilized with Pulse? multisensory playground games
to encourage collaboration in an interactive way.
Problem-solving skills can be enhanced with various climbing elements.
Children work to figure out how to physically navigate a piece of
equipment, especially one that is new to them.
Persistence can be encouraged when a child keeps trying and doesn't
give up when experiencing a playground activity that is difficult such
as crossing the monkey bars. Once a goal is achieved or a skill
mastered, the child feels a huge sense of accomplishment and increased
self-esteem from working hard to reach a goal.
Playgrounds also offer the opportunity for children of different ages
to learn from and help one another. Children will often copy or learn
from older children or older children may help younger children—
boosting them up while they were climbing, helping them on and off the
equipment, encouraging them not to be scared, and offering to help them
down from the top of a tall structure. These mixed-age social
interactions are an important part of children's social experiences
on the playground.
The play patterns of children illustrate the importance of having a
variety of school outdoor playground
that encourages an assortment of play behaviors. Check out our
many options of age-appropriate and challenging equipment or contact a
Landscape Structures consultant .
Most adults remember their school recess times with fondness. These
opportunities to leave the constraints of the classroom behind and set
out for another playground adventure are memories you cherish forever.
However, today’s children are overwhelmed with an abundance of
activities and fewer opportunities to enjoy outside play. Video games,
TV, after-school activities and an increasing focus on academics have
led to disappearing playgrounds and playtime. This reduction in free
play can negatively impact the development of children.
Playgrounds are essential safe spaces where children can be themselves
and express their fun-loving nature while developing crucial cognitive,
physical, social and emotional skills. In this post, we’ll explore why
more and more child development experts are advocating for more
playgrounds and the increasing importance of parks and playgrounds.
Playgrounds are safe spaces where kids develop crucial physical,
social, emotional and imaginative skills. In this article, we’ll take
an in-depth look at how a child’s development benefits from playing on
Learning Through Play
You can’t have a playground without play. To put it simply, play is a
spontaneous activity children engage in to have fun. Experts in a
variety of fields including psychology, biology, health and education
have conducted a multitude of studies on the concept of childhood play
all proving the same critical fact — play is an essential aspect of
Play is fueled by a child’s curiosity. As a child grows, their play
becomes more complex. Without being able to play, children’s ability
to develop and learn is stunted. Just as eating and sleeping are
essential to a child’s health, so too is play.
Playgrounds are the perfect place for children to engage in free play.
Structured play — including sports or organized activities — differs
from free play. When kids are on the playground, different structures
and spaces give them the freedom to choose how they want to play. They
can explore their own natural tendencies, interact with a broader range
of age groups and awaken their creative instincts.
When you watch children on a playground, you’ll soon see that although
they’re having fun, they’re definitely getting a workout. The CDC
recommends children should have at least 60 minutes of moderate to
vigorous physical activity every day — and the playground is the
perfect place to get this done. Plus, when kids get into the habit of
exercising and see it as an enjoyable experience, it encourages them to
remain active as they get older.
Playgrounds are a vital aspect of healthy development, providing a
place for children to get a full-body workout, including exercises that
strengthen their arms, legs, torso and so on. From the cardiovascular
system to the circulatory system, each is nurtured and benefited
through vigorous play. Children see a vast variety of physical benefits
through preschool outdoor
Improved flexibility and balance
Development of overall motor skills, dexterity and hand-eye
coordination Opportunities to learn how to control their movement
Promotion of healthy heart and lung function
Improved immune function
Lowered risk of obesity and diabetes
When children spend time on the playgrounds, they learn diverse skills
and test their limits by trying out the various equipment. Slides,
swings, climbers and more encourage kids to develop their agility,
speed, strength, balance and coordination.
Playgrounds are not generally a solitary activity. Whenever you visit a
playground, other kids are bound to be there. When children meet other
kids on the playground, it teaches them important lessons about social
norms and how to interact with others, all of which will come in handy
in adult relationships and their future workplace. Learned social
The physical and social benefits of play are more obvious. However,
there are also subtle emotional changes in your child’s wellbeing that
may not be as recognizable, yet are still vitally important.
Physical activity and unstructured playtime on a playground serve as a
healthy way to help children deal with their emotions and reduce stress
levels. Not only can play serve as a distraction from their problems,
but happiness is a natural byproduct of outdoor activities.
Children experience many other positive emotional impacts when they’re
allowed the freedom to play on a playground. Playground play benefits
children because it:
Boosts self-confidence and self-esteem as they master challenging
Allows them to retain a sense of control unavailable in many other
parts of their lives
Lowers tendencies to misbehave or bully, as kids’ attention is
diverted with more positive activities
Teaches them how to deal with challenges in a healthy way
Kids do more than slide, swing and climb when on a playground. Just
listen to the conversations, and you’ll realize a variety of other
make-believe games are taking place. Imaginary play is a given whenever
kids are on the playground.
When children use their imagination and play make-believe, it teaches
them social roles. Creativity also fosters a child’s ability to
problem-solve and develop their personality. By using their
imagination, kids can try out different ideas and identities. This
helps them construct a strong sense of self, as they discover their
likes, dislikes and beliefs. Although developing self-identity will
continue throughout their young life, the foundation begins with these
innocent make-believe activities on the playground.
Makes Education More Fun
When a child’s school has a playground, these short breaks allow kids
freedom and fun, which, in turn, makes the educational experience more
fun. In fact, researchers now understand the importance of playgrounds
in schools and how they have an important impact on a child’s ability
to learn and develop.
Opportunities for play also have an effect on children’s attendance
rate at the primary school level. When a child knows there will be
opportunities to let loose, they often find it easier to listen and
learn in the classroom environment.