Playgrounds provide vital opportunities for children to play. There is considerable research that shows the link between play and brain development, motor and social skills. All learning – emotional, social, cognitive and motor – is engaged by the pleasure of play. Playgrounds that promote different types of play are important for a child’s development. Specific ways in which playgrounds promote growth include free play, brain development, motor skills and social skills.
Playgrounds provide an opportunity for free play. This allows children to play in any way they choose and differs from structured play like sports or recess. Free play allows a child to develop play tendencies naturally and for children to learn from one another in a wide range of age groups.
The most crucial time for a child’s brain to develop is in their early years. Play stimulates brain development and function and is essential in improving the capabilities of the brain. Repetitive play stimulates neural connections and synapses. The more a child plays the more these connections are strengthened. Playground structures help facilitate a child’s cognitive development during free play.
Outdoor play equipment is an important environment to foster motor skills. Infants and toddlers can practise simple motor exercises and older children are able to refine their skills on more difficult play equipment. Through play children can develop advanced fine motor and manipulation skills. Interactive panels promote manipulation and coordination; ramps provide motor skills; and slides and swings provide balance. These and other play components help a child with movement, reflexes and control.
The playground maximises the opportunity to engage with other children. By providing children with a place to come together and play, the playground encourages social interaction. Different playground structures provide different kinds of interaction and opportunities for socialisation from the singular retreat to the group games. Through the act of playing children learn social and cultural rules – they learn to negotiate, compromise, work together and control themselves.
Child’s play is not just all fun and games. The act of play is of enormous benefit to the successful growth of the brain, body and intellect. Playgrounds provide an opportunity for children to play alone or come together in a group and develop both physically and mentally. The fun children have in a playground will have lasting positive effects on their development.
Give the team at Play Poles a call today to discuss your next playground.