With the popularity of the Internet, portable devices, and social media, the need for children to play outside is becoming more important. This is a crucial part of child development that aids in developing coordination, physical strength, and balance. It also offers the opportunity for kids to learn and hone the following:
- Social Skills – When kids play amongst themselves, they learn how to communicate, interact, collaborate, shar, and most importantly, empathise with other kids.
- Problem Solving and Thinking Skills – As kids learn to evaluate risks and handle challenges, they learn about the value of perseverance and persistence.
- Creativity and Imagination – Outdoor play is often times open-ended, so kids learn to be creative and imaginative.
- Confidence – When children master their newly acquired skills while playing with other kids, this enhances their confidence in their social and physical abilities.
- Building Vital Connections with other kids, the community and nature.
- Caring for Oneself – Handling both social and physical challenges while at play aids kids in learning how to take care of themselves better.
In order to support and improve these wide array of learning goals, your chosen playground equipment must include specific areas for free, natural, creative, exploratory, active, social, imaginative and quiet play.
Parents, relatives and caregivers can help kids while they are in the beginning stages of playing in outdoors by setting restrictions regarding how far kids can run around or climb the equipment. When kids are old enough, teach them proper safety rules so they can prevent injuries and the do’s and don’ts when it comes to emergencies and interacting with strangers.
Encourage older kids to help out with younger kids so they can also be safe while playing outdoors. By inviting and motivating kids to take initiative, take chances, grab opportunities, and explore endless possibilities, you can better provide them with more learning opportunities they can use not only in the playground, but in other places as well.