It doesn’t take long to see the obvious physical benefits that children receive from playing on a playground. Every run, jump and skip across the safety surfacing builds healthy muscles and bones. Yet, some of the most amazing changes happen below the surface as children play. Consider these six non-physical health benefits of playgrounds as you design your park layout to maximize the impact it has on your community.
Get Kids In a Better Mood
Just about every parent has seen the mood-lifting benefits of taking their cranky child outside on a beautiful day. In fact, playground structures for schools are often used for this very purpose as well. Running and climbing on playground equipment helps kids get endorphins flowing through their bodies that make them feel better emotionally.
Children find amazing opportunities to boost their creative skills at the park. Parents and teachers can supplement the climbing toys with additional supplies such as water and paint brushes that let kids experiment with their artistic abilities. Finding new ways to play on the equipment also strengthens creative skills.
Help Kids Learn Emotional Regulation
Young children often like to practice emotional regulation through pretend play. Theme-based playground structures allow kids the perfect background to play out their favorite dramas. From pretending that they are lost in a forest to acting like mommy and baby animals, kids develop the ability to understand empathy and compassion as they play.
Improve Cognitive Functioning
Those little brains need to have blood flowing through them well to develop normally. Children who exercise on the playground for even a few minutes find it easier to concentrate and focus on tasks. Playing outdoors also helps kids to have stronger memories, which all add up to better academic learning.
Build Strong Social Ties
Strong social ties influence a child’s physical and emotional health. Special equipment, such as a mommy and me swing, can be put on the playground that helps kids build stronger bonds with the adults in their lives. Children also tend to connect better with their peers and kids of other ages when they all play on the playground together.
Encourage More Restful Sleep
Many children struggle with sleep issues that interfere with their ability to live well during the day. Playgrounds give kids a place where they can freely run and challenge their physical bodies so that they are better able to relax mentally when it is time for bed. Children can experience more restful sleep after playing at the park during any time of the day, but parents often find that going a few hours before nap or bedtime is the most effective for helping their kids sleep through the night.
When you’re building a playground, don’t just focus on how kids can build their physical strength. You also want to remember that play areas create the perfect arena for children to develop their social, emotional and cognitive abilities. Creating a space that stimulates the development of the whole child helps every visitor get the most benefits from your park facility.