The more I learn about the importance of play and its many benefits, the more I wonder why it is relatively scarce in everyday life. Even as a staunch advocate for play, in my life it accounts for only a few minutes out of each day. It’s easy to see the same paucity of play in friends, schools, and workplaces. If you agree with my observation that the presence of play in our lives seems to be inversely related to its value, then this is something we need to explore further.
Different play structures on the playground engage children in different ways, whether it engages their imagination or their intellect. Well-arranged play environments should enhance children’s development by integrating learning and play in a way that’s fun but also boosts development. Here is a rundown of a few types of play and play structures and how they contribute to different experiences for children.
Last week, I went on a road trip with my daughter through the Midwest visiting college campuses. Along the way we also visited different playgrounds in Wisconsin, Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, Missouri, and Indiana. We were busy. When we got to Michigan, I realized that I had not been there for 10 years. The last time I was in Michigan, I was working on the Able to Play project (ATP). ATP was a project of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation in honor of their 75th anniversary. They contracted with Boundless Playgrounds (BP) to create approximately 23 inclusive play spaces. Boundless Playgrounds sub-contracted the creation of indoor play spaces to the Center for Creative Play of which I was at the time the Executive Director.
Recently, The National Institute for Play, with support from the International Play Equipment Manufacturers Association (IPEMA) published the first round of academic research surrounding the benefits...