Children develop spatial awareness and gross motor skills through the cause and effect experiences of active play. Major milestones take place on playground equipment including the early development of
- Balancing skills
- Motor skills
- Muscle strength and
North Shore Pediatric Therapy breaks down the physical benefits of children playing on playground equipment as follows:
- Climbing ladders and rock walls is a great way for children to figure out which extremity to move and in what sequence.
- Crawling through tubes encourages the development of coordination as well as core strength.
- Monkey bars develop strength in the core, hands and extremities and encourage the development of hand-eye coordination.
- Spring riders develop core and extremity strength, coordination and the vestibular system.
The developmental milestones achieved on the playground have been shown to help children both on the sports field and in the classroom. Fine tune motor skills make classroom tasks like cutting with scissors a breeze. The development of coordination and strength in the core and extremities puts children on the playing field at a clear advantage.
Playground equipment also enables unstructured play, where children can use their entire body as a learning tool. Research demonstrates that crucial risk-taking, problem solving and discovery skills are developed on the playground. The meaning of geometrical and prepositional concepts is more easily grasped once experienced. For example, when a child crawls through a tunnel on the playground, the meaning of the preposition “through” resonates more than simply seeing the word written on a piece of paper. The child has now experienced an action that he or she can relate to the meaning of the word, resulting in better understanding and higher learning retention.
In addition, playing freely on the playground with other children has been shown to greatly develop children’s social skills. A recent study analyzing a group of 73 preschoolers’ interactions at the playground found a positive correlation between outdoor physical play and social competence, particularly when play included smaller peer groups for a longer amount of time.
Playground equipment enables unstructured play, an ideal place for children to process sensory information and fine-tune those gross motor skills. Are you ready to get out and play? Get started with a quote on playground equipment that’s customized for you!