Children love to be in places that are large enough for them to hop, jump and run around to their heart’s content and having a playground to do just that is great for their physical and social development. After all, it is a well known fact, corroborated by research, that physical activity increases blood flow to the brain and stimulates it. However, children are also easily bored and they constantly seek new ways of entertaining themselves. Having just a large playground, without any additional props or special play zones to engage them is unlikely to hold their interest for long.
So what elements should a playground possess? According to Component Playgrounds – “Apart from the basic elements like proper fencing for safety, use of safe equipments or swings, another important facet of a playground should be features which help in stimulating a child’s mind and learning essential life skills”. A lot of research has been done on what leads to better development of a child’s brain and all of them have highlighted the benefits of various types of playground equipment on a child’s social, emotional, motor and cognitive skills. With that in mind, here are some tips on what all can be a part of a perfect playground for children:
ü Slides, Swings, Ramps, Tunnels, See-saws and Bridges:
All of themnot only enhance a child’s loco motor skills, but also, balancing and co-ordination skills, which are important aspects of brain development. Slightly complicated slide designs, logs, safely installed stepping stones and obstacle courses can be added to make the play area a little more challenging for the kids.
ü Sand Pit:
Having a sand pit in a play ground, with perhaps a little bucket and a toy spade as well as a safe area with water,is a great idea. Children can learn to buildsand castles, which is a fun way of stimulating a child’s imagination, allowing them to think through the process of erecting the castle structure, its base and towers. Children can also get together and play imaginative games like king and queen of the castle. Making up such games on their own, complete with its rules as well as making teams are all activities that allow them to be social, and imaginative.
ü Ropes and Tire Swings:
Ropes hung like ladders from trees or other artificial structures never fail to attract a child’s attention.Apart from being a great exercise, they also help in bringing out the creative and competitive side of children, what with playing swinging monkey and pirate games, making up competitive games like a climbing race, etc.
ü A Green Playground:
Children can learn a lot from a playground that blends flowering plants, sand, grass and other natural elements like purposely created hillocks, rock structures, scattered logs as well as mud and water. These all help the children in developing motor skills, problem-solving skills, cognitive skills, same as playgrounds with artificial structures.
Spending time in playgrounds is not just a welcome break for children from academics, but also a proven way to boost their brain functions. Great playgrounds make the most of this knowledge by incorporating the above mentioned elements and contributing to the overall development of children.