Many pieces of playground equipment combine to make up a good playground, and monkey bars are one of them. In fact, most of us have fond memories of climbing these structures and competing with our friends all day.
A monkey bar is relatively challenging playground equipment that requires effort, coordination, and confidence to traverse. That is why you will find them on obstacle courses and adult fitness courses as often as you will see them on the playground.
Also known as climbing frames, monkey bars consist of evenly placed bars and steel rungs that kids swing from.
When playing, kids are forced to swing from one bar to the next; the same way monkeys swing from one branch to the next, hence the name monkey bar.
Monkey bars usually play a critical role in a child’s overall development and are a perfect piece of equipment for both fun and fitness.
Keep reading to learn more about the benefits of playing on monkey bars.
1. Help Develop Your Kids’ Muscles and Strength
To play on a monkey bar, your child must be able to sustain his/her entire weight by holding firmly onto the bars. This allows them to develop hand strength which is critical in facilitating specific motor activities such as writing with a pen and holding other stuff.
Thanks to the constant swinging activity they offer, monkey bars also allow children to exercise their arm muscles building both strength and tone. You don’t need to be an expert to understand how this happens.
Furthermore, the act of keeping their legs tucked up while swinging from one monkey bar to the next helps to strengthen their abdominal muscles and protects their spinal cord.
Keep in mind that children practice basic movements until the age of seven. After their seventh birthday, they begin to develop the athletic movements learned from various sports.
Therefore, for kids up to the age of seven, monkey bars provide an incredible platform to master basic arm movements before they move to the next level of learning athletic movements. These structures will still be helpful even when they are learning athletic movements.
2. Monkey Bars Provide Full-Body Workout
As mentioned in the introduction, monkey bars are high effort equipment. It takes a lot of effort to swing from one monkey bar to the next or hang off the rung. When your kid is doing all these things and enjoying themselves, they are also using up a significant amount of energy.
The frequent movement and hanging help tone and develop a wide range of muscles, including the muscles in their legs, chest, arms, abdomen, and back.
Although it can be relatively complex for your little one to learn the skill of swinging from one bar to the next, increased practice can help them a great deal.
Once they are comfortable with swinging, you have to encourage them to use monkey bars often because it will increase their fitness levels and play a critical role in their development.
The high level of exertion is also an excellent way to release energy making the play sessions more tiring. This will help them focus better in the classroom environment and sleep better at night.
3. Mental Benefits
Monkey bars also offer a wide range of mental benefits for kids. Typically, each monkey bar provides a unique challenge for the kid.
With a relatively higher difficulty level than other play equipment, climbing frames create a lot of fun and challenging milestones for kids of all ages.
Learning how to swing from one bar to the next can be challenging and frustrating to accomplish. The learning process teaches kids perseverance and creates a high sense of accomplishment when they finally make it from one end of the monkey bar to the next.
The feeling of accomplishment created plays a critical role in boosting your child’s confidence and emotional development. During the process, they learn that one has to be patient and continuously work hard to succeed.
These are valuable lessons that your children will carry through to adulthood.
Furthermore, as they watch other kids accomplish milestones through perseverance and hard work, they become motivated to do the same thing. No other playground equipment will teach your little ones such valuable lessons.
4. Boosts Confidence and Self-Esteem
Mastering the art of playing on monkey bars is a special milestone in your child’s development journey, and it will play a critical role in boosting their self-confidence and esteem.
Learning to swing on monkey bars is a tough skill that kids must learn. They must overcome all setbacks they encounter and be courageous to push on until they master the skill.
The learning process may take some time, but with dedication and patience, they will get there.
With the ability to maintain a positive attitude and overcome challenges, their self-confidence, and esteem soar.
They also learn critical problem-solving skills because they must find ways to overcome the obstacles.
By overcoming obstacles, learning how to solve problems, and being creative, kids develop a positive mental attitude towards other challenges they may encounter in their everyday life.
They will know that they can find crafty ways to overcome every challenge that life throws at them.
5. Monkey Bars Provide Kids with an Incredible Opportunity to Socialize
First things first. Unless we are talking about relatively long monkey bar models, these play structures are specifically designed to accommodate one child at a time. Allowing more than one child on a monkey bar can increase the risk of kids hitting each other when swinging.
But that doesn’t mean monkey bars don’t foster socialization. In fact, these play structures offer your little ones a fantastic opportunity to play together by taking turns.
They also help children to come up with creative scenarios to enhance socialization and team spirit.
For instance, they can agree not to touch the floor with their feet while playing and create an imaginary river full of dangerous crocodiles beneath the monkey bar. Anyone who touches the ground with their feet will be deemed to be dead.
Whether you are using monkey bars at home or in a playground, when your kids’ friends are around, the equipment will always inspire them to create a wide range of new games and play together for longer without getting bored.
Kids can also help each other when they struggle to master the art of swinging and find creative ways of tackling problems and challenges together as a team. This fosters cooperation and teaches your little ones about the importance of teamwork.
After all, teamwork makes the impossible possible.
6. Improve Both Fine and Gross Motor Skills
While children play and use their muscles, they are also improving their fine and gross motor skills. Monkey bars assist with the development of both.
As their hands grip and hold firmly onto the rungs, they are honing the fine muscles in their arms and improving their grip.
Swinging their entire bodies while playing on the equipment helps to improve their gross motor skills and body coordination.
Anyone who has ever used a monkey bar knows that it requires a fair amount of body coordination to hold on to the rung with one hand while reaching out with the other.
Furthermore, such an intense workout helps improve upper body strength, which is crucial for fitness and many sports activities they will participate in now and into the future.
Increased upper body strength improves the child’s posture and the overall alignment of their back.
Given that most adults spend a lot of time sitting in front of the television, computer screens, and browsing on mobile devices, developing good posture in the early years will do them great favors when they are older.
7. Playing on Monkey Bars Relieves Stress and Anxiety
Believe it or not, most of us, including children, have stress in life. We also get anxious quite easily due to problems relating to our workplace, studies, family, and so on. The good news is that a monkey bar can serve as a great stress reliever, especially for kids.
One of the unique features of monkey bars is that they usually combine playtime and easy exercise in a supernatural way.
Although kids will primarily focus on the fun part, the exercise part happens without them knowing. The combination of play with exercise plays a critical role in relieving both body tension and mental stress.
While playing on a monkey bar, kids will generally focus on their posture and grip. The focus and vigorous activity will somehow help them get respite from stress and anxiety.
Installing monkey bars in your backyard is one of the ways you can get your little ones exposed to the numerous benefits they offer. The good thing is that the play structure is truly amazing for both kids and adults.
Anybody with a holistic approach to playtime can incorporate a monkey bar into their routine and enjoy the incredible benefits it offers.
Now that you know the benefits that monkey bars offer, there is no reason not to get one for your kids.