6 Elements of Play that Should be Included On All Playgrounds

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Do you remember being a kid and how fun it was to tackle the "big" slide at the park or crush the monkey bars with your upper arm strength? What you may not have known was that you were building lifelong skills in the process.

Playgrounds remain a vital part of our communities. This is where kids learn not only to climb, slide, balance, but also to set goals, build confidence and build friendships. Below are six elements of play that should be included on all commercial play structures.

child climbing on park playground equipment

1. Climbing

Climbing is something that comes naturally to kids. This is why you'll see toddlers trying to climb furniture as soon as they can crawl or walk. As kids get older, climbing turns into a more risky and fun activity that helps kids overcome their fears. Be sure to include plenty of sturdy climbing structures on your playground, along with appropriate playground surfacing.

2. Spinning

How many times have you heard a little one say, "Spin me again!" Children love to spin, but it's definitely not an adult's favorite hobby. Thankfully, kids can head off to a playground where there's equipment that goes around and around. Not only is spinning equipment fun, but also it helps kids develop better balance, spatial awareness and depth perception.

commercial playground swings

3. Swinging

Swings are one of the most popular activities at a playground. Kids can use them independently or next to a friend. Swinging improves coordination, strengthens the muscles and eliminates stress. And thanks to inclusive swings, kids of all ages and abilities can practice this skill alongside one another.

4. Balancing

Many pieces of equipment teach kids how to balance, including balance beams, balance ropes and stepping platforms. Be sure to incorporate these into your playground! As we know, balancing is important for child development. This skill is needed to perform a wide range of physical tasks and it can help prevent slips, falls and other injuries.

5. Sliding

Sliding offers a sense of rush for kids. They work hard to make it to the top of their favorite slide and then get the reward of sliding down - perhaps with twists and turns along the way. Kids can also develop spatial awareness, strengthen their sense of balance and learn to take turns with their friends. Better yet, you can have a number of slides for your preschool playground to accommodate kids of all ages!

child brachiating on park playground monkey bars

6. Brachiating

Brachiating on playground equipment such as overhead ladders provides numerous health benefits including muscular strength, endurance, rhythmic body movement and hand-eye coordination. Learning to brachiate helps children develop fine motor skills, kinesthetic awareness and depth perception. While suspended monkey bars are less commonly seen in playgrounds today than in the past, modern playground designs offer safer equipment that allow the child to be closer to the ground when brachiating.

Kids are wired to run, jump and play, and playgrounds provide safe spaces to do this. Parents can also take a break and enjoy watching their kids engage in healthy, outdoor fun. To start designing a playground with these six elements to incorporate something for every child, contact Park and Rec Pros today.