Now that school is back in session, it’s time for kids to leave the couch and reap the benefits of the school playground. What other way would entice kids to leave their tablets, smartphones, and Fortnite behind and experience real-world physical activity? Not only will a perfectly designed playground give children a reason to move around, they will also have chances to enhance their motor and social skills and overall wellbeing.
Back to Physical Activity at the School Playground
School playgrounds provide a plethora of health benefits. Most notably, physical health is an obvious perk to playing on school playground equipment. With a variety of options to choose from, ranging from swings, slides, monkey bars to even climbing boulders and net climbers, kids have the opportunity to use any part of their body for the different types of play. Climbing, hanging, swinging, jumping, balancing, crawling, and more can be had at the playground. Kids can even safely run to their heart’s content atop the PIP rubberized surface or the engineered wood fibers.
Playgrounds Enhance Motor Skills
Not only is the children’s fitness being exercised when playing at the playground, essential motor skills are actively being applied. When climbing on playground equipment, Understood.org describes that the “child needs to build an awareness of where his body parts are and what he can do with them.” Climbing, swinging, and running at the play area helps kids develop a range of motor skills. Fine motor skills are developed from grasping the swing chain or grabbing hold of the climbing boulder. Gross motor skills are advanced by running from one play equipment event to another.
Socializing at the School Playground
Sure, kids can “socialize” by speaking through a headset in a game of Fortnite, but it lacks the emotive quality that can only be experienced by speaking face to face. The subtle nuances of body language can only be truly expressed in a physical environment and the playground is the perfect place for full-body expression. Playgrounds are also a great place to exercise social rules. According to the Foundations For Learning, “Playgrounds help children develop social skills, which benefits our society as a whole as our youngest members learn citizenship and manners.”
Taking a Break from the Classroom and Getting into the “Flow”
Lastly, school playgrounds give kids a respite from the confines of the classroom. Playgrounds let children jump right into the moment and get into a state of flow where being in the present moment is all there is. According to Verywell Mind, flow is “a state of complete immersion in an activity” and positive psychologist Mihály Csíkszentmihályi describes it as “being completely involved in an activity for its own sake. … Your whole being is involved, and you’re using your skills to the utmost.” At the school playground, the stresses of class are completely whisked away. Meaningful goals such as winning the race against one’s friend atop the rope net pyramid is all that matters to the child at that moment. This physical activity combined with essential motor skills, spatial awareness, and the imagination of climbing atop the mountain, results in greater physical and emotional health.
There are many more benefits that school playgrounds have to offer over digital screens. Pacific Play Systems even offers custom-designed playgrounds to suit the school’s needs and themed playgrounds, as well, to really represent the school and its mascot. Do you know of any other benefits that school playgrounds have to offer? Please be sure to leave a comment below!