5 Pieces of Playground Equipment Every Toddler Should Try

Toddler playground equipment is designed specifically with little ones in mind, crafted to deliver real developmental benefits. From traditional swings, slides and jungle gyms, to slides, climbing nets and more, here are 5 pieces of playground equipment every toddler should try.

Playtime is an important aspect of every toddler’s life. It helps develop social and motor skills, which are foundational to a child’s development. Playtime also helps children become more creative and imaginative in their everyday lives. There are many different types of playground equipment that offer toddlers the chance to try new things while playing.

So, what are the five playground equipment that every toddler must try? While toddlers can try many playground structures, the top five we recommend are low slides, swings with safety belts, tunnels, monkey bars, and simple climbing bars. All of these structures are designed with safety in mind to ensure your little one is at no risk of getting injured.

Read on to learn more about these playground structures and how they can benefit your little one.

The Importance of Playtime for Toddlers

Before we highlight the top five playground equipment that every toddler must try, let’s discuss why playtime is important for toddlers.

The first benefit of playtime for toddlers is that it improves their fine motor skills. As children grow, they develop better muscle control and coordination, leading to improved physical abilities like walking, running, throwing, kicking, jumping, etc.

A boy on a red shirt smiling.
Playtime is an essential part of a toddler’s life as it promotes the development of motor, cognitive, and social skills.

Playtime helps improve their cognitive development as well by teaching them about cause and effect — i.e., how actions affect the outcome. It also helps children build confidence in themselves through exercising their physical abilities and gaining a sense of independence at an early age.

Quality playtime helps toddlers to develop their social skills and learn how to interact with other children. It leads to increased empathy and understanding of others’ emotions and improved communication skills, which is especially important for their future success in school and at work.

Furthermore, it also improves their ability to self-regulate themselves. Self-regulation is the process of controlling one’s emotions and behavior to meet goals, adapt to changing circumstances, follow the rules etc.

This is critical because as children grow older, it will be important for them to learn how to control their impulses so that they can work towards achieving long-term goals instead of giving in to temptations.

Lastly, playtime is an excellent way for toddlers to explore the world around them by experimenting with new ideas and learning about cause and effect through their interactions with other children. It also helps improve creativity which will come in handy when problem-solving later on in life.

Top Five Playground Structures for Toddlers

Now that we know why playing is so important for toddlers, let’s look at the top five playground equipment that every toddler should try.

1. Low slides

Slides are one of the most popular pieces of equipment on any playground because kids love going down fast! But they come in many different shapes and sizes – some have bumps or curves while others are short and fast.

A simple slide with a smooth surface is the best option for young children because it ensures they won’t get hurt if they fall while going down.

Slides typically have stairs that lead to an opening, which creates an enclosed area where kids can sit or stand safely before climbing up the slide again.

Some slides are built on hills so kids can use their feet to push off and gain some speed. A low slide is the safest option because it means children won’t have far to fall if they slip while going down.

A slide outdoors.
Simple low slides are totally safe for toddlers and they can have fun without getting hurt.

There are lots of things that toddlers benefit from when they play on low slides. They are great for developing gross motor skills because they require kids to use their legs and arms to climb up, sit down, go fast or slow, steer themselves around curves and much more.

One thing you need to do before allowing your toddler on low slides is to make sure that the opening or stairs are not too wide.

Since toddlers have a short standing reach, slides with very long openings can be dangerous because they force children to stand at an awkward angle while positioned over their legs, making it easy for them to lose balance and fall off.

2. Swings with Safety Belts

Swings with safety belts are specifically designed for younger kids who haven’t mastered the art of swinging on their own. The safety belt can easily be adjusted to fit your child’s size.

It only comes with the swing, and it is important that you don’t attach anything from another toy or piece of equipment onto the belt because this could compromise its strength over time. It’s also smart to conduct regular inspections of swings for loose bolts or screws.

A toddler on a bucket swing.
Swings with safety belts promote the development of balance and coordination in toddlers.

Toddlers can benefit in several ways when they play on swings with safety belts, including improved gross motor skills because it helps toddlers develop balance and coordination.

It also leads to enhanced cognitive development since kids have to use their memory to figure out how the swing works, so they don’t get hurt while playing on it.

3. Climbing Bars

The best playgrounds for toddlers usually have various pieces of play structures to encourage kids to move around while they play.

Climbing bars are one piece that can really add some excitement because it challenges kids by giving them something new and exciting to conquer every day! They love being able to climb up, balance themselves at the top and then jump down to the platform below.

Climbing bars are typically found on playgrounds that have slides or other pieces of equipment because it gives kids something else to do when they get tired of using the slide over and over again.

Climbing is also a great way for toddlers to improve their gross motor skills because they have to use their hands, arms and legs to climb up.

A good climbing bar designed for toddlers should have a wide and round base that is sturdy enough to support the toddler’s weight. It should also have curves or bumps on it so kids can use their feet when climbing up.

It means that they won’t have to rely solely on using their arms, which provides a great way for them to build upper body strength as well.

4. Tunnels

Tunnels can be found at the end of most slides, and they provide a great way for kids to explore their surroundings. They’re also fun because they give toddlers something else to do when they get tired of playing with other equipment on the playground.

A boy climbing up the tunnel.
Kids can crawl through the tunnel to explore what’s underneath it.

The best tunnels are made out of mesh fabric, typically attached to metal bars or wooden beams. It’s important to ensure there are no sharp edges on the bars or fabric so that kids don’t cut themselves while playing with it.

Tunnels usually have something underneath them, which means they’re at a good height for toddlers who aren’t quite able to climb up onto the monkey bars just yet. Kids can crawl through the tunnel to explore what’s underneath it, which is usually something like a large sandbox.

Because tunnels are low profile and easy for kids to climb through, they’re also great at developing gross motor skills because toddlers have to use their arms and legs to maneuver around tight spaces.

They can even improve cognitive development by crawling out of the tunnel and then crawling back in to explore different parts of it.

5. Monkey Bars

The final piece of playground equipment that every toddler should experience at least once is the monkey bar! This structure typically has a low profile, which means kids can easily climb up and down without needing assistance from adults.

It also gives them something active to do while playing because monkey bars are a great way for toddlers to build upper body strength.

A girl crossing the monkey bar.
Monkey bars help toddlers strengthen their upper bodies.

The best monkey bars have two different widths so that kids can use them when their arms get tired from playing on them.

It’s also important to make sure there is something underneath the structure, which means you should avoid putting these on top of concrete because it can be unsafe for kids if they fall on the hard surface.

When you’re looking at monkey bars, make sure that the width of each bar is between eight and ten inches wide so that toddlers have enough room to balance themselves while playing on it. The best playgrounds will also give them something underneath to land on in case they fall through.

Summary

As we’ve seen, there are many different playground structures for toddlers that can help them learn and grow. You may be able to find one or two pieces of these equipment in your neighborhood park, but if not, then it’s worth considering investing in some quality backyard playground.

The most important thing you need to keep in mind is that if you’re raising a toddler, the playground is your best friend because it allows your kids to take active risks to grow mentally and physically.

We hope this list has been helpful and given you ideas on how to get the most out of your toddler’s playtime.

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