Get out there and Play
Welcome to the Miracle PlaySystems Best Practices Series -- articles that explore the best-practices (and fun) of playground design. In this article we explore outdoor playgrounds and the importance of play in physical and emotional development.
Children are drawn to play in emotionally invigorating ways. Small children and toddlers enjoy being swung by their arms and tossed in the air, and loved being chased by an adult or teen playing the role of "monster." Note that little ones find the most joy (and the most emotional benefit) when they can choose the pace and tempo of the activity. How high to toss? They choose. How scary a monster? Let the child find the sweet-spot between a friendly monster and REALLY scary.
Older children like movement -- creative ways to move their body in dance-moves, sliding and swinging high. Cartwheels and other forms of spinning are favorites, as are climbing trees and leaping into water. Their approach to each activity requires greater risk and skill. Whether it's skateboarding or bike-riding, or ski's and other activities that involve speed and movement, what is valuable is the child experimenting with their limits. Most kids start slow and move up as their comfort is reached. Taking risks in moderation is useful, and a thoughtfully designed outdoor playground plays an important role in the physical and emotional development.
We design playgrounds and outdoor spaces with an eye towards thrilling experiences, knowing each child is different in temperament If you're more interested in discussing your playground project and you've discovered Miracle Playsystems, just click over to our contact page to find a sales rep that works in your community. Our values are courtesy, knowledge and a passion for play -- you’ll appreciate the experience from the first call!
Outdoor Playgrounds are Dynamic Social Environments
Playing children sometimes get into arguments about the rules of a game or sharing -- it's just part of learning how to be a social being. Sharing is easy and natural for some, and a big struggle for others. Anger is a real emotion, and it is a sign to stop the play and address before moving forward. Children can learn how to regulate their emotions on a playground, and caregivers play a critical role, as does effective playground design.
When children learn to control the anger in their play, and move past frustrations because they want to keep playing there's an opportunity for growth. The key is to find balance between moving on too soon, and making a big deal out of what's really a small disagreement. A crucial life skill is regulating our emotions to that is serves positive purposes. And this learning happens best in free play -- activities that kids invent and lead.
Miracle believes in outdoor playground design that encourages free play in a way that is safe and inclusive, supporting the development of the community and the individual. Go out and play!