The playground is a childhood staple. It can often be a home away from home for kids as they spend significant outdoor time at the same local parks. From their perspective, it’s an obvious choice for a place to run around and have fun. What they don’t know, is that so much more is happening…
Free time at the playground allows kids to grow their cognitive skills and decision-making skills as they explore. Swings? Slide? Monkey bars? Finally conquering the climbing wall? They decide.
Acting on their own accord builds agency and imagination.
When they master an apparatus, like learning the monkey bars, they build self-confidence. Remember the scary feeling the first time attempting to go down a tall slide? Once you get down, you want to do it over and over again because it’s exciting to master something and be in control.
Self-esteem on the playground can carry over to schoolwork and social skills with confidence to accomplish things independently.
Kids often meet each other for the first time at the playground. Those introductions lead to sharing space, sharing playground features, sharing creativity, and maybe playing a game together.
Such shared experiences with peers create friendships that can last through childhood and beyond.
In addition to getting fresh air outside of the house and spending time away from screens, sliding, swinging, running, hanging, jumping and climbing develop motor skills and engage muscles.
It’s a workout for kids! They strengthen their bodies.
Kids generate a lot of natural energy. The playground is a great place where they can burn some of that energy. When they run wild with excitement, they’ll tire out their muscles and their minds.
Exhausting energy during the day means an easier time winding down and getting quality sleep at night.