5 Things Kids Really Need at the Play Area
When it comes to arranging a play area, it seems like there is no right answer to what a modern playground should look like and what kids really need to play. Some will advocate for innovative designs and unconventional ideas that would encourage imaginative play, while others will roll their eyes and say those modern kids are impossible to impress anyway and, therefore, a pair of “good old” swings and slides is more than enough.
Ironically, both will be right. Any expert will tell you that a good playground encourages healthy physical activity and socialization and sets the imagination free. But to be frank, didn’t we all get the same effect from playing at abandoned construction sites, junk yards, and forests?
Some of the greatest childhood memories and even lifetime friendships came from those places. And so did some nasty scars, of course.
So, the question remains open: what do kids really need in their play area? Keeping in mind that releasing them into the wild of junkyards is, at the very least dangerous and probably illegal, let’s see what can create the same atmosphere of adventure and excitement in the safety of a modern playground.
What is the purpose of a Playground?
The answer to this question will depend on who you ask. Most parents will tell you that a good playground is one that helps to scrape kids off TVs and gadgets and encourage them to play outdoors. An honest parent will probably also add that a perfect play area will ware kids off, making the bedtime routine much more merciful. And, yes, safety is always first!
At the same time, kids will probably pay more attention to details such as the overall theme, decorations, colors, access to sand or water (read “opportunity to get dirty,” which, in fact, is a crucial element of development), and, of course, secluded corners. It is because playtime is not just goofing around! It is an extremely complicated and important process that helps kids comprehend and process everyday life events and encourages socialization, troubleshooting, and creativity.
Physical activity is extremely important at any age. City dwellers have been working so hard for decades to be as little physically challenged as possible. And now we face issues like childhood obesity, lack of motivation, and the attention span of a goldfish.
Healthy physical activity encouragement is the key function of any playground. It comes in all shapes and sizes, from rope ladders and monkey walls that a kid needs to conquer to get to that thrilling slide to swings that will evoke several groups of muscles.
Creativity and Troubleshooting
It is easy just to go up a ladder to get to the next level. But what if you need to climb a monkey wall, carefully thinking about where to put your foot and which ledge to grab? And what if they are all different colors, and you are strictly forbidden to touch the yellow ones? And also, don’t forget that the floor is lava!
A good playground should provide this field for imagination that will encourage kids to create that such scenario and then overcome those challenges… heroically, of course. Except for developing creativity and imagination, such conditions help build confidence and self-esteem. This leads us to the next paragraph…
They say the older you get, the harder it is to make friends. It is not entirely true. Imagine trying to make friends when neither you nor the other person are familiar with the concepts of negotiation and compromise and have not developed the essential empathy or leadership skills.
In other words, kids have very little life experience and are mainly led by impulses, which perfectly explains why a lifetime friendship or deadly insult probably won’t last longer than 15 minutes.
A perfect play area encourages kids to interact and develop those essential social skills. Sharing small playhouses, waiting patiently in a line for a slide, letting another kid pass through on a narrow air bridge, or helping out a struggling friend – those are priceless lessons that should better be learned on a supervised playground than the street.
A Touch of Nature
If you live in a city or even suburbs, your kid’s hamster is probably the closest they get in touch with nature. At the same time, pediatrics and child psychologists claim that contact with nature and elements is crucial for cognitive function improvement, the development of compassion, social skills, causation, and much more.
When choosing a playground for kids, pay attention to those with water pumps and sandboxes, located next to trees or in parks with birds, squirrels, and other urban “wilderness.” Yes, kids will get incredibly dirty, but a massive laundry day is indeed a small price to pay for the benefits of such play.
Last but not least is, of course, safety. Modern playgrounds in San Jose have Rubber Surfacing that prevents trauma. All the elements are made out of non-toxic and heat-resistant materials. They are also designed, manufactured, and assembled by professionals according to the latest safety standards.
If you notice a loose bolt, crack, or any other sort of damage, you can easily find the service contacts and report the malfunction before it leads to trauma.
A playground can be a whole universe for your kids, a place to play, learn, bond with friends and siblings, and build lifetime memories. And while playgrounds vary from the most basic ones to sophisticated modern designs, it is essential to keep in mind that the key element for your kids’ happy play and healthy development is your care, attention, and involvement.
After all, who said that playgrounds could not be as exciting for grown-ups as well?