All children learn at their own pace. But, during the early stages of their development, providing the right outdoor play equipment can be a huge boost. Outdoor play is a proven stimulant for social, emotional and physical growth, so knowing how to encourage it can make all the difference.
From children’s climbing frames to creative play equipment like mud kitchens and playhouses, outdoor playground equipment is specifically designed to help children learn. Here’s a short list of the best outdoor apparatus and how they can help your child grow up happy and healthy.
1 - Sensory Sand and Water Pits
Both sand and water are amazingly versatile materials. Through the use of sand and water pits, children can build castles, sail ships, and learn the differences between a wide variety of textures.
Not only is sand and water play a unique sensory experience; it also helps children learn many vital skills they will need later in life. For example, sand table activities can be used to introduce children to the concept of drawing letters and numbers, by tracing their fingers through the sand. Combining sand and water teaches children about different scientific properties in a tactile and exciting way.
2 - Messy Mud Kitchens
Getting a little muddy now and then is actually a good thing. Playing with mud helps children to de-stress, reducing anxiety. Mud kitchens offer children the chance to exercise their creativity and imagination at the same time.
When using a mud kitchen, children will begin to understand the concept of sharing, collaborating, and making group decisions. In much the same way as other outdoor playground equipment, it enables children to solve problems adults would usually have to solve on their behalf. Rolling, pressing and shaping mud are all great fun and allow children to gain a little independence.
3 - Outstanding Outdoor Climbing Frames
Sometimes, the simplest play equipment is the most effective. Outdoor climbing frames are perfect for developing motor skills both gross and fine. They encourage children to take educated risks, preparing them for more substantial decisions in later life. Not only this, but they are also incredibly open-ended, making them a key component of hundreds of outdoor games and activities.
When it comes to outdoor playground equipment, climbing frames and trim trails make it easy for children to stay fit and improve their sense of balance and judgement. Whilst they are letting off steam and generally running riot, they will be building the foundations of a healthy body and mind.
4 - Perfect Playhouses and Dens
Imaginative and creative play is the backbone of individuality. Children who are given the opportunity to explore and create together will be far more likely to grasp important subjects such as literacy, maths and science. Playhouses and den-making equipment both provide children with the inspiration they need to get those creative juices flowing.
In fact, den-making is considered such a crucial part of child development that there is even an entire day dedicated to it! The skills learnt from designing and creating dens and playhouses include decision-making, problem-solving and socialisation. Free play is vital for children’s independence and self-expression, so it should be encouraged at every opportunity.
5 - Marvellous Music Making Equipment
Another fantastic way to introduce imaginative and creative play to your children is through musical play. Making and interpreting different sounds can help children develop a passion for music and creativity as they grow into adulthood.
If your local play area has shaker panels or tuned playground chimes, then this can be a great place to start. Children are always curious about the way things work, so giving them the opportunity to use outdoor playground equipment in this way can lead to hours of fun and learning. Musical play helps a child’s body and mind work together, strengthening the relationship between the two.
So there you have it! Outdoor playground equipment can stimulate development in children of all ages and sizes, ensuring they grow up to be imaginative, chatty and, above all, happy.
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