Just because the summer holidays are coming to an end, doesn't mean play should!
Playgrounds are about much more than play alone, they are a great place to create happier and healthier societies. Through combining development and fun in an intelligent way we can improve lives supporting physical activity, learning and social interaction. Following on from a summer of sun and fun we focus this week on the importance of continuing play as you get back into the swing of things after summer.
From growing toddlers that need to improve their coordination, gross motor skills and awareness, through to teenagers that needs to build up strength, endurance and speed. Physical activity is vital in a world where the majority of children are not meeting their minimum recommendation for physical activity (world health organisation). Playgrounds are the perfect way to ensure that everyone gets there 60 minutes of activity a day in a fun environment.
Recent studies have shown that important life skills are learnt easily through play. A great example is waiting your turn. In the classroom this can be hard to understand, however on the playground this can be much more understandable as they are waiting to use a piece of equipment. Pairing these life skills with playground equipment that is designed and built to provide opportunities for learning, play can become an essential pillar in childrens development and a great source of fun. Especially when you are taking turns and creating challenging games like these students at St Marks Primary School.
As children develop an increasing understanding of other people they can manage play in bigger groups, and gradually grow from role play to rule play. Games with rules are hugely popular and well understood, as children enjoy positive competition and interaction. During teenage years, social interaction with peers becomes even more important than ever. Teenagers need to be with and make new friends, preferably in large groups. Which means playgrounds become the perfect place to play games and socialise, providing fantastic opportunities interaction whilst having fun.
Here we have only focused on a few of many ways that playgrounds can help child development, hopefully showing the importance of having fun and continuing play even after the summer holidays have finished.