How Outdoor Playgrounds Affect Child Development

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Thu, 09/13/2018 - 2:39pm
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How Outdoor Playgrounds Affect Child Development

Look around. How do modern kids spend their free time? You usually won't see them in the streets playing in the summer sun, or running around with some toys and screams of joy and vitality. Most children these days seem to prefer staying in their houses, dedicating their time and energy to the wide variety of the digital devices. They prefer to explore the vast Internet space instead of their surrounding environment. Some people strongly oppose this tendency, deeming it harmful. Other people claim it to be a natural progression that goes along with the rapid technology development. Whatever your opinion, read on as we try to figure out what effects outdoor leisure has over children development and see why so many adults insist on keeping their kids playing outside games instead of the computer ones. 

How Outdoor Playgrounds Affect Child Development

Forming a closer bond with parents 

When children play outside with their parents, it actually improves their relationships tremendously. Trust forms during different games and fun activities. The mutual excitement kids and parents get while hanging out in nature can be very positive play in child development and in overall family dynamics. 

Improving social skills 

Encountering other children is essential for little kids. It is their first meeting of the “other”, their first step in the complex world of human interaction. Boundaries are learned and rules are set on the playground. Getting to know how to deal with other people starts with outdoor leisure. You cannot teach kids communication at home or in the presence of a computer game; the only way to do so is to interact with fellow youngsters. It is as simple as writing a good essay with AustralianWritings.com.au, for example. 

Getting in touch with the material world 

Children’s playgrounds are very tactile spaces. By exploring the area around them, kids increase their motor skills and the general sense of their own movements as well as the properties of the surrounding objects. Children learn about speed, direction, and coordination through engaging in such physical activities as swinging, running, playing in sandboxes, etc.  This is actually quite an important aspect that is often overlooked by parents. Children have to learn about the objective world around them, and virtual space is not a good place to do so. 

Develop flexible thinking 

The ability to adapt to a changing situation is one of the vital skills for any successful person. Being able to think outside the box, plan your next step according to the situation are learnable skills gained while children play outdoors. In order to adjust to our contemporary ever-changing reality, we have to be flexible and seek solutions without any complications. Playgrounds are a great help in the advancement of such skills. 

How Outdoor Playgrounds Affect Child Development

Team spirit

Spending time at the playground often means playing some ball games. In turn, that means trying to function in a group environment and be a part of the team. This is also a very important part of children’s mental development, as humans are social animals and our general well-being very much depends on our abilities to interact with one another. That’s precisely what we learn while playing active team games. Of course, you could argue that some video games teach similar values. However, nothing beats the actual physical experience of being in a group, helping your mates succeed, and facing (literal) conflicts. Outdoor playgrounds help kids evolve into curious and active social beings. 

Physical health 

It's never too early to promote a healthy lifestyle and active leisure. While so many people struggle with obesity these days, giving children an opportunity to take up active outdoor pastimes is essential. Being physically active while having a great time is a much better habit than spending a significant amount of time at home staring at the blue screens. Playgrounds are a great way to let your child learn how fun and interesting the world is, not just the virtual model of it, but the in-real-life world that surrounds us. Getting kids to be active these days is a challenging, yet necessary task.

Overall, the point is not to say that technology is bad for your child, but rather to emphasize that the social, physical, and mental development of a young generation cannot rely solely on virtual activities. It may seem like an easy way to make it through the tough workdays without having to spend too much time on your child's activities while he or she is in the safe environment of your home, exploring the world online. However, we do not function entirely in the virtual world, and some things can only be discovered by going outside and playing with other kids, building friendships, bonds, and some sand castles. 

Emily Watts is an enthusiastic teacher who started teaching in 2007, and for the past 10 years, she has used her resources in motivating young teachers and those who undertake teaching as their career....

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