Modern schools are not only tasked with preparing kids for their future careers but also teaching them a wide range of life skills, attitudes, and habits that will help them navigate their adulthood. To do this, schools need to engage students in creative and fun ways. One of the best ways to do this is by teaching outside with playground equipment.
So, what are the benefits of teaching outside with play equipment? Generally, playground equipment provides an enriched environment for learning new skills, physical activities, and socialization among peers. Playing outdoors encourages children to explore their surroundings, gain experiential knowledge, develop creativity, and become physically active. It also helps them develop a deep appreciation for the environment and nature. Furthermore, teaching outside with playground equipment can help create an atmosphere of positive emotions, foster team building and collaboration among students, and help build self-confidence. With teacher guidance, students can learn to trust each other while interacting on the playing field.
This blog post discusses the various benefits of teaching outside with playground equipment. Read on to find out everything you need to know.
Why Should You Even Care About School Playgrounds?
Before we dive deep into the benefits of teaching outside with playground equipment, it’s essential to understand why schools should even care about this topic.
Generally, playtime is an essential part of every child’s development. It provides physical exercise as well as cognitive and social growth.
Playground activities help children develop motor skills, problem-solving abilities, spatial awareness, and creativity.
Moreover, playgrounds are a great way to encourage students to take ownership of their learning, helping them build confidence as they learn new skills in a fun and safe environment.
Playground activities can also spark curiosity and help kids form meaningful connections with other peers.
Unfortunately, playgrounds have been disappearing from schools over the past few decades, leaving many children with limited opportunities for play and physical activity.
They are no longer seen as an essential part of the learning process, with kids spending more time playing video games.
For these reasons, schools should invest in playground equipment and ensure they are part of the teaching and learning process.
The Benefits of Teaching Outside with Playground Equipment
There are numerous benefits associated with teaching outside with playground equipment. Here are some of the most important ones:
1. Playground Equipment Help Kids Develop Gross Motor Skills
Major muscle groups in the legs, arms, and torso typically demonstrate gross motor skills. These skills include kicking, jumping, throwing, lifting, and walking.
Gross motor skills development is critical because it usually forms the basis for fine motor skills development. These skills will help your baby learn to roll over, sit up, and eventually walk and run.
Gross motor skills also help children become aware of their body and how it reacts to different situations, balances, and moves. They are critical in improving muscle strength, coordination, and balance.
The body’s vestibular system manages the awareness of your child’s body spatial orientation.
The vestibular system is fully responsible for the movement and physical responses the child’s body generates as it shifts and changes direction.
Have you ever spun in a circle on a swing set and felt dizzy afterward? That is a response from your body generated by the vestibular system.
Children learn to identify and handle such sensations better when on the playground. Play areas provide your little ones with safe spaces to develop these skills in different ways.
For instance, climbing a wall helps kids develop upper body strength while playing on the swings helps them learn how to move and control their bodies in different directions.
Playground equipment also allows children to practice these skills while playing. This helps them develop coordination, motor control, balance, and strength.
As kids age, playground equipment can help them build endurance and agility through running and jumping activities.
2. Playground Equipment Encourages Socialization Among Peers
Socialization is how children learn to interact with their peers and adults. It’s a complex process that involves understanding the feelings of others, communication, and cooperation.
Kids who spend time on the playground are more likely to develop social skills as they learn to play together, cooperate in teams, respect each other’s boundaries, and form friendships.
Playground equipment can also help children develop problem-solving skills as they navigate different obstacles and puzzles.
This will give them the confidence to approach complex tasks with optimism rather than fear.
3. Playground Equipment Helps Kids Develop Cognitive Skills
Cognitive skills encompass a person’s ability to think, learn and process information. Children play with playground equipment indirectly in activities that help develop problem-solving abilities, memory skills, critical thinking, creativity and attention span.
For instance, many playgrounds offer puzzles and games that require kids to think strategically to solve them.
Activities like rock climbing help children build problem-solving skills as they figure out the best way to reach the top.
4. Promotes Empathy
Outdoor play equipment promotes inclusion and provides a relatively safe and secure environment for children to learn empathy. Children who play together are much more likely to be better friends and understand each other’s feelings.
When your child plays outdoors, they will often encounter other kids from different backgrounds with different stories and experiences.
This helps them develop the social skills necessary to empathize with those who may not be like them and to understand their perspectives.
5. Grow Young Minds and Boost Self-confidence
School playgrounds play a critical role in providing kids with a safe environment for unstructured play.
This allows them to use their creativity and imagination, which flows on to help with the overall development of their social, emotional, and creative thinking skills, which are also critical to their class performance.
Encouraging children to use their imagination without fear helps build their self-confidence, an essential life skill that may be hard to impart in a classroom setting.
With free play, children encounter many obstacles that may scare them initially but seeing their peers overcome them gives them the courage and confidence to take on challenges.
Although classrooms are great, they may create a significant mental barrier for some kids.
Play equipment serves as the perfect middle-ground for children to experiment and learn all sorts of things, reducing the pressure they may feel in the more formal classroom setting.
The key is to allow them to experience success on their terms, helping build up their self-esteem while encouraging them never to quit and face every challenge that comes their way.
6. Improves Long-term Memory
According to research, school-going children who receive plenty of outdoor classes tend to have improved long-term memory compared to their counterparts who spend most of their time indoors.
This could be attributed to children using both sides of their brains when engaging with playground equipment and physical activities.
The dual-thinking process improves brain communication which aids in better storage and retrieval of information.
Furthermore, when children engage in outdoor play, they typically explore a particular area more. This gives the brain enough time to remember it better, thus helping them learn and recall information more easily.
7. Encourages Outdoor Play
The benefits of outdoor play are immeasurable. It encourages physical activity, which helps battle the effects of childhood obesity, promotes better sleep, and boosts overall health and well-being.
Playground equipment provides various outdoor activities that allow kids to run, jump and crawl safely while having fun.
This type of movement is vital for children as it helps them develop motor skills, coordination, and balance.
Furthermore, playing outdoors gives children a chance to explore nature which can stimulate their curiosity and appreciation for the environment.
8. Promotes Talent
Lastly, outdoor play equipment plays a critical role in helping children discover their strengths and weaknesses.
For example, a playground slide may be easy for some kids but challenging for others due to physical limitations or fear.
In such cases, they can give the slide another go with the help of their peers and gain confidence along the way. This fosters collaboration, cooperation, and teamwork, which are essential life skills.
Playgrounds also provide a safe place for children to explore new talents and hone existing ones, such as sports or art.
This can be done in the presence of friends who may encourage each other to try different activities, thus boosting their overall sense of accomplishment.
Unsurprisingly, play equipment is an excellent resource for kids and teachers, providing a safe and fun environment for children to grow, explore, and learn.
With many activities available, playgrounds allow children to develop physical strength and agility while building problem-solving skills and creative thinking.
Playground equipment is about helping children develop essential life skills while having fun.
As they grow, they’ll take these skills with them and use them to navigate the world around them, turning into well-rounded adults who are ready to face any challenge that comes their way.
This is why playground equipment is vital to every school’s environment.
Last update on 2023-06-02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API