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Outside play is an essential part of childhood that has been enjoyed for generations. In recent years, and due to our busy schedules and modern living arrangements, we’ve seen a decrease in children playing outside or with outdoor play equipment. Despite the challenges, it’s crucial for young children to have opportunities for outdoor play. It provides numerous benefits for children’s physical, cognitive, social and emotional development and allows them to explore their natural environment. Here, adventure + explores the importance of outdoor play equipment for kids and the benefits it provides.
Exploring and learning about the natural world is an incredibly important stepping stone in children’s development. As well as improving children’s physical health, allowing them to build a strong relationship with their bodies, it also provides endless mental health benefits. Much like adults, time in nature for children has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety and provides a peaceful and restorative environment to help children feel relaxed and content. Nature and outdoor environments can provide a rich sensory experience to children of all ages. From the sights of flowers and greenery and sounds of different birds, to the feel of bark or gravel, children can explore the world around them in a variety of ways and reap the benefits of our natural world. As playground design continues to modernise, many now incorporate natural elements as a way to weave in some of these benefits.
Structured learning is not the only way to aid your child’s development. Fun and free play have similar developmental benefits and are equally as important in your child’s journey. Free play is highly beneficial for children and is defined as unstructured play, where children choose their own activities, set the rules and explore their own interests. Engaging in imaginative and creative play without constrictions allows children of all ages to develop their cognitive abilities, including problem-solving, decision making and critical thinking. Similarly, it can encourage emotional growth as children learn to regulate themselves, cope with stress and develop resilience. Adventure playground equipment can provide safe and stimulating outdoor environments for children to explore, and caregivers should regularly encourage free play activities.
Outdoor play combined with the clever use of play equipment for kids allows them to use their senses to observe, investigate and solve problems. Practised regularly, this exercise forms healthy habits, while logical thinking and problem-solving are important skills for us all. When interacting with playground equipment, children will begin to form questions and solutions in their minds.
Now, your children will likely be experiencing these dilemmas subconsciously, but the experience of doing so and using their logical thinking skills allows them to grow developmentally.
Experiencing the outdoor world in a safe way allows children to encounter manageable points of contention, such as taking turns on the slide, and use age-appropriate skills to problem-solve and build resilience. To find a playground design to suit your needs, scale and budget, contact adventure+ online or call 1300 237 587.