The Benefits of Play Equipment
A playground features a variety of play equipment that helps kids develop their coordination, strength and teamwork spirit. Children of different ages enjoy interacting with one another on the playground.
Age-appropriate playground equipment is important because kids are able to enjoy it more when the gear suits their size and development level.
Suitable for All Ages
Kids love to play, but they need to feel challenged and able to accomplish tasks that will help them develop physically, mentally and socially. When they’re playing on equipment that doesn’t meet their size or development level, kids may become frustrated and decide to abandon the playground entirely.
Children ages 2 to 5 need to be able to safely engage with a variety of physical activities, including climbing and sliding. They enjoy pretend play as well, and structures such as a series of playhouses with enough space for multiple kids to use at one time will encourage their imaginations. Sensory elements such as activity panels that incorporate music, visual and tactile stimulation will also engage this age group.
In addition to developing their motor skills, kids in this age group are learning how to play with others and are beginning to develop a sense of self-esteem. To build their confidence, it’s important to include play equipment that is challenging yet still safe in height, such as more advanced climbers, loop pole elements, corkscrew and sliding pole components, swings and monkey bars.
While children in this age group can often be a little wild, it’s important to make sure they have access to playground equipment that is designed with their safety in mind. This includes playground equipment for sale a soft or foam-covered surface under and around all equipment.
In addition to building a child’s imaginative and creative skills, play is also one of the best ways to help them express themselves. It can be a positive way for kids to communicate their emotions, and helps them understand how to overcome negative feelings in healthy ways.
Creative play can be in many forms, from pretending to be a doctor or firefighter to making art or playing music. It’s important to provide a variety of different types of equipment that allow children to be creative in their own way. This can be done by incorporating creative elements into existing playground structures or adding movable equipment like sensory walls, crates, tunnels and foam to an existing school playground facility (Hyndman, Benson & Telford, 2014).
Pretend play – when children use props to act out scenarios or tell stories – is a popular form of creative play. It’s usually a favourite for preschool-aged children, with equipment like activity panels and role play panels enabling kids to explore their creativity and imagination.
There’s also nothing better than time spent outdoors in nature, which is an ideal setting for creative pursuits. Encourage this by providing equipment like sand pits, natural-looking play structures and water play equipment. You can even add outdoor musical instruments, like metallophones and drums, to create a more dynamic play environment that fosters different skills.
Encourages Social Interaction
Kids need a lot of physical activity to grow strong and healthy, but they also need to interact with other children. Playgrounds are the ideal place to encourage group interaction and social development. Platforms, decks, and bridges allow kids to congregate in groups to play games or build structures; slides and swings teach children how to take turns; and tunnels and roof-covered areas support group games and pretend play.
The operation method of playground facilities can influence the opportunity for peer interaction, because some operations require children to spend time familiarizing themselves with the facility and may induce level two peer behaviors such as gazing at and imitating others. In addition, the presence of a partition may influence levels three and higher peer interaction because it induces longer stationary times, allowing children to observe other children playing with the facility.
Preschool-aged children enjoy interacting with other kids in creative ways and may want to explore a playground’s different features. For example, they may want to climb new playground equipment for sale structures or participate in other physically challenging activities. Playground equipment that supports this type of active play includes smaller climbers, bucket swings, and short slides. Kids this age may also love to use overhead equipment such as monkey bars.
Observed interactions at the lower end of the social spectrum involve simple parallel play, while those at the upper end involve interaction with other children. Level five interactions, which include playing together behavior, were more common in the experimental data than the control data. For instance, kids operating the bubble machine observed other children below and attracted them by talking and gazing.
Encourages Physical Activity
Kids need a variety of opportunities to be physically active, and playground equipment provides them with one. It’s a great way to build upper-body, lower-body and core strength, as well as improve balance, hand-eye coordination, and cognitive skills. Kids can also practice new skills while playing, which makes them feel proud of their accomplishments and encourages them to keep doing it.
In addition, the right play equipment can help children develop good posture and increase their heart rate to promote physical fitness and reduce the risk of obesity. Many playgrounds offer equipment that’s suited for different age groups, from designs that are suitable for early years children to more prominent structures that older kids can use. Older kids may also enjoy using climbing equipment or adventure courses, which tend to be separate from the playground so younger children don’t try to use them.
Depending on the layout of your site, you may want to consider installing equipment that caters to various ages at once. This allows kids to play together and interact socially while allowing older children to challenge themselves with more advanced equipment. You can even incorporate musical elements like chime-style bells, marimbas and xylophones to help kids learn music while they play.