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Why playgrounds are essential for early years development

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The vast majority of adults remember their school years, mainly in the playgrounds. These opportunities, although only a small portion of the school day, were times when we were free to run and play as we wished. Fast forward to today however and so many children as young as preschool age are overwhelmed with activities and hobbies that, while enjoyable, do not afford them the time and freedom of simple outdoor play in a playground.

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It’s also worth noting that most simply aren’t aware of the critical importance of ‘playground time’ for children as they grow and develop. Playgrounds aren’t just places for children to play and explore, they’re also crucial in teaching young minds during some of the most important developmental years. In fact, time spent in playgrounds during early years can have huge benefits. Here are just a few benefits you can expect to see.

Learn through playgrounds

Experts within varying fields, from psychology to biology and education have conducted study upon study on the concept of childhood play. All of these studies point to the very same fact, that play is crucial when it comes to early years learning. When little ones play, they not only have fun but learn essential skills such as coordination, cognitive abilities as well as social awareness and motor skills. As children grow, their play becomes far more complex and without it, their ability to grow and learn can become stunted to an extent. Allowing children to enjoy free play in this manner gives them the ability to learn without even realising it, simply by awakening their creative side. There is no-one else that provides an opportunity for play than early years playground equipment, easily accessible, and fun because you have all your friends with you too. What’s not to like?

Develop physically

The physical benefits of playing in a playground for little ones is simply fantastic. The CDC recommends at least one hour of exercise for every child, every day and giving your little one the chance to burn off some steam in a playground is nothing short of ideal. It’s a great way to instil the habit of exercise into your little ones, as it allows them to associate exercise with pleasurable experiences. It can help with everything from flexibility to balance and much more.

Enjoy socialisation

Generally speaking, playgrounds aren’t a lonesome area. There’s usually another child or two in there, giving children the chance to socialise which even when it’s at a socially distanced space, can still be beneficial. Meeting other children at such a young age teaches little ones to cooperate, compromise, share, overcome shyness and even develop friendships outside of their family unit. It also introduces them to diversity as they meet and explore different cultures, ages and backgrounds.

Develop emotions

While the physical and social benefits of play may be a little obvious, the emotional benefits may not be but don’t let that fool you into thinking there aren’t any. Playing in a playground, for a child of early years is a great way to develop their emotional abilities. By playing with other children and scaling climbing frames, they can see a huge boost in their confidence. It also teaches them how to deal with challenges which can in turn, drift over into other areas of their lives. It can also help lower the tendency to misbehave as their energy is diverted into more positive experiences.

if you are looking for other articles on KiddyCharts around outdoor play, then do check out these too.

Outdoors ideas for kids

Here are a few more ideas to get you out and about with the kids...!

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