Any playground can be beneficial to children as play areas but many of the activities in well-designed playgrounds can actually help in a child’s natural development. There are known to be 7 elements required for a playground to meet its full potential in improving a child’s natural development and these are:
• Brachiating (Swinging from one arm to another)
• Sensory Systems
To the children swinging may only afford them a relaxing, soothing sensation but in reality it is strengthening their bodies and helping it to co-ordinate one part with another. Swinging can also help the development of a child’s vestibular system. Children with under developed vestibular systems often feel unbalanced and unsettled.
Some children sit in what is known as a W position and this is where one leg bends back on either side of the body, forming the letter W. This can be a hindrance in the flexibility of their legs and hips and also contribute to them being unable to fully develop special awareness. Sliding forces a child to place their feet in front of them and, at the same time, promotes social interaction and improves their ability to follow instructions.
Several attributes are given to climbing, first the ability for it to improve hand eye co-ordination. Second is its ability to not only build strength but to also build self-confidence. Thirdly climbing can assist a child in learning the need to place things in the correct places and in correct orders.
Learning to have to place one hand in front of the other in order to advance helps a child to learn the need for placing things in the correct. Brachiating of course also helps to build upper body strength and co-ordination.
Spinning not only helps better e tone and endurance but can also assist a child to understand direction, speed and force which are essential for healthy, natural development. Hearing their scrams of joy can of course also be beneficial to you.
Balancing promotes a child’s ability to concentrate which is important especially during their school years and so the earlier they learn the better.
When there are many different objects for a child to look at they get to learn about things being wet or dry, old or new. Looking at these objects will also strengthen their eye muscles and help them distinguish differences between objects that at first look similar.
All the above activities can therefore help promote a child’s development as well as afford them some fun experiences. The aim of any playground therefore should not just be to provide a place where children can play but should also be a place where children can learn natural abilities whilst they play.
If your playground or a playground near you does not have all these facilities, the benefits of introducing them should perhaps be bought to the relevant authority’s attention. It is our responsibility to try and ensure our children develop correctly and completely.