The very first playgrounds came about in the late 19th century and by the 1920s, it was commonplace for children to spend their outdoor playtime, especially during the summer, on a see-saw, a swing frame, a sliding pole or a balancing tree. If you look at a modern playground you will notice that the equipment hasn’t really changed.
What has changed, however, is the amount of time children spend outdoors, as children are now more inclined to interact with digital software such as tablets and phones, than enjoy the natural adventure of the outside world. In addition, there is now much more fear associated with allowing children to play independently at the local park, and the added worry of injury.
But the need for time outdoors is just as important as it was many years ago and it seems that, unfortunately, much of the responsibility rests with schools as they are able to provide a protective and secure environment for children to play and run about at their leisure.
And with childhood being a crucial time for rapid growth and exploration, the need for the right play equipment at school is becoming critical. So how do playgrounds really help a child develop? Below are some of the fundamental benefits:
In the playground, there are endless opportunities for children to get creative and solve problems, providing reams of potential for their cognitive development. Whether it’s weighing up the risks of ascending a climbing frame or getting the balance right on the see-saw – they have to think, measure and assess many different situations. Activity boards also offer children the chance to explore shapes, numbers and other logical tasks.
There is no better place, than the diversity of a playground, to help children develop socially and become more confident. They have to learn how to share – after all they can’t all go down the slide at the same time – and there’s usually only two or three swings!
Friendship can blossom as they laugh and share the enjoyment of exploring and using different apparatus. Equally they have to learn to resolve conflict when things don’t always go their way.
Playgrounds can be vast, and varied in shape, colour and touch. As children grow it is so important for them to use their appropriate senses to seek pleasure and make decisions. Playing with other children can teach them how to act with each other.
A playground not only makes children stronger, fitter and healthier but it also teaches them that exercise can be fun and varied. Whilst building muscle and developing their fine motor skills, an increased sense of adventure and the ability to run around freely, can do wonders for feelings of stress and anxiety improving overall emotional stability.
If you’re looking to offer further developmental opportunities for your pupils through an outdoor playground, get in touch and we will be happy to discuss your requirements. We can work together to build a creative and exciting outdoor space for your school.