The Benefits of Playgrounds in Childhood Development, Part 2
In the first part of this article, we highlighted two specific ways children can develop when playing on a playground. For one thing, kids are likely to make physical strides on the playground, getting stronger and fitter as they spend time outdoors climbing, running, jumping, and more. Also, interpersonal skills can be developed thanks to the other children that are likely to be present at the playground as well.
Those two points would be reason enough to include the playground in your regular routine, but we have more to say. Let’s keep going!
There are many stages of emotional growth and development that children need to reach as they work toward adulthood. It’s never easy to build confidence and self-esteem in a tough world, but the playground environment is a great place to do just that. A perfect example is a child who is fearful of a particularly tall or steep slide. At first, the child might not even want to walk all the way up on the play structure to the top of the slide. Then, once that fear is conquered, the child might not quite be ready to go down. Eventually, the child will go for it, and probably have a lot of fun on the way down.
Of course, kids aren’t thinking about the growth they are achieving while playing on playground equipment – they are just having fun. And that’s exactly the point. The growth happens naturally, as a result of the things they are pushing themselves to do, whether it is through personal motivation or to keep up with their friends. Overcoming challenges on the playground is only going to help when it comes time to deal with challenges in ‘real life’.
Compromise and Fair Play
It’s one thing to enjoy time on a playground when all alone and no one is in the way – it’s another thing to learn how to play nicely with others. This is a lesson that all kids need to learn at some point, and some adults could probably use a refresher course, as well. Sometimes, the playground is going to be busy and a child is going to need to wait his or her turn to go down the slide or get on the swing. It’s those moments that provide a great opportunity for growth.
For parents, the playground is full of ‘teachable moments’. When a small conflict arises, a parent can step in and help to moderate the situation. In time, kids will learn how to deal with these little issues themselves, and the involvement of adults will become less and less necessary.
In the end, the lesson of these two blog posts is quite simple – playgrounds are great for the development of children. Those developmental benefits come along with the simple benefit of letting children have fun playing outside, which is always a good thing. With access to a great playground, you can sit back and provide supervision while watching your children grow!