At this point in our series of posts explaining the ins and outs of our approach “Taking Play Seriously” we reach the Improvement section of our quadrant model. Once all the preservation has been looked after, we can now focus on improvement.
A good playground plays an important role in a child’s development, and thus their life. From inspiring individuality, fostering confidence, creativity, independence, the humble playground is an integral part of a child’s journey into adulthood.
When a child plays they are constantly improving their cognitive ability, social skills, and physical health. This is why the power to improve a child’s mind through excellent and intuitive playground design architecture should never be overlooked.
Why Is Designing To Improve The Mind So Important?
In a world where there is an ever-growing source of digital distractions, many parents want their children to be able to experience the rewarding benefits of playing outdoors. This active and engaging type of play is a welcome change from a lot of the on-screen activities available to children these days. Allowing children to engage in active play outdoors is beneficial for their mental and physical health.
A good playground should stimulate and challenge a child’s mind in exciting ways. Children are full of unmatched excitement and energy, if this is not stimulated children can become frustrated and distracted. By making the most of this energy and imagination children are able to work their minds like a muscle and further their development and learning while playing and having fun.
How Does It Affect Children?
Having access to playgrounds that encourage, inspire, and challenge children unlock a world of benefits for them.
Through play, they learn to problem-solve, calculate risk, use their imagination, and to socialise. These are the skills that strengthen the mind and confidence of children. If these skills are hindered in their early stages of life they may be compromised throughout their life.
On the playground, children have to navigate, make plans, solve problems, and understand a variety of emotions. This directly not only develops but strengthens and increases the size of a child’s prefrontal cortex in the brain. This is also the part of the brain that allows us to moderate our own social behavior.
Every step, decision, and social interaction a child makes while playing is forcing their brain to think and develop and grow. All of which fine-tuning their decision-making skills and ability to assess and adapt to situations.
With this sort of healthy and holistic early development children are able to lay the foundations to grow into healthy, happy, productive, and socially adept adults.
Why Should Parents Care?
Every parent wants the best for their child. Knowing their children will be stimulated and excited to develop and improve their young minds while playing is of the utmost importance.
Every child has the right to reach their full potential. The challenges and situations children have the freedom to explore through play allows them to develop their intelligence. The social element of play also allows children to properly develop emotional intelligence. Developing these skills early allows them to grow into happy, socially adept, intelligent adults. Children whose minds are balanced and bettered through play can lead to healthier and happier lives. Making your job and relationship as a parent even more rewarding than it already is
What Part Do Schools Play?
Children go to school to get an education and better their minds every day. It only makes sense that any play equipment they have access to on school grounds would allow them to do the same.
Allowing children regular time to stay active, fit, and play wakes their brain up and allows it to function more effectively. When kids are physically active their brains are stimulated to create new neurons, pathways, and release feel-good chemicals. This means once they return to the classroom they are feeling happy, balanced, and their brains are ready to take on new information.
When children can expel their excess energy on play this also means they are able to focus and pay better attention in the classroom. Giving kids the time to be active means they will be less distracted in the classroom as their physical needs have already been met.
By further supporting and stimulating the improvement of children’s minds on the playground they can achieve a more holistic sense of development. This allows them to grow into well-rounded adults.
How Does Improving The Mind Improve Local Councils?
Beyond being a place for children to learn important cognitive skills, local neighborhood parks are an important tool in improving mental health. Giving children a place to play and socialise outdoors and away from screens helps improve and balance their state of mind.
Happier, socially skilled children create a positive, unified community. This flows on to build stronger communities and ensure the next generation will be healthy and happy.
How Do We Achieve All Of This In Our Work?
Through our playground design, we want to create a place for a child’s mind to improve through cognitive exercise as well as social stimulation.
These days it has become a growing concern to try and offset the passivity and isolation associated with too much screen time. We know a great playground does this by bringing kids together to socialise, play, and keep active.
When creating equipment and designing playgrounds at adventure+ we draw on a huge library of knowledge and expertise to ensure the mind is able to develop to it’s fullest potential.
One of the ways we do this is through the use of interactive panels that promote role play and imaginative play. This stimulates mental development in children greatly. Grading activities on the playground sequentially also means children can start on easier tasks and gradually challenge themselves. This encourages the development of problem-solving and self-confidence.
By incorporating shared play areas and equipment where children have to wait and take turns children are able to improve their social skills.
We also ensure that all our designs consider accessibility to promote social inclusion for children with special needs or disabilities. This allows all children access to equal opportunities and teaches them the importance of inclusivity.
Encouraging children to calculate risks is also a huge part of the way play improves their minds. Through challenging, equipment link rope climbing structures children can safely push themselves to take risks and play safely outside their comfort zones. These problem-solving skills will stay with them throughout their adult lives and the physical reward/sense of achievement helps build up their confidence at the same time.
Our playgrounds encourage children to interact with each other by minimising any possible conflict zones. This means they feel comfortable and safe on the playground to socialise at their own speed with options for shared play.
Through considering all the ways in which a playground can improve a child’s mind positively, our playgrounds allow more and more children to develop into the healthy, happy adults they deserve to be.