Kids receive so many benefits from outside play, from better eyesight to improved fitness to greater independence. Put them on a playground and the positives are magnified as they learn how to get along with other kids and start to weave themselves into the fabric of society.
Playgrounds, no matter how sparsely furnished, are always better for them than playing inside. Here are reasons why:
Daily exercise in a playground helps children lose weight and prevent future obesity, according to numerous studies. The playground is a space where they can get full-body workouts benefitting their cardiovascular and neurological systems.
It helps children develop motor skills and fitness. A swing set alone makes kids grasp, balance, turn, land, jump, push, use their pectoral muscles and more. Slides are great for encouraging climbing and teaching kids how to share and learn.
Children ages 3 to 5 need to use certain types of large equipment for optimum physical development, including bars just out of reach to promote reaching and grasping, according to a 2004 University of Texas study.
The playground is a space where no limits are put on kids’ imaginations. They can invent their own games and rules, tell their own stories and engage fully in the creative play process.
Public and school playgrounds allow kids to play with others from different races, ethnicities and income groups free from society’s preconceptions, as well as those with different abilities. One 2020 survey of 1,000 parents by Voice of Play, an initiative of the International Play Equipment Manufacturer’s Association, found 92% of parents felt playgrounds help teach children to be inclusive of those of different backgrounds and abilities.
Kids have both good and bad experiences on the playground, and learning how to cope with both helps them become well-rounded people able to modulate their emotions, according to a 2013 study. Children must master self-control to fully enjoy the playground.