Let’s start with the first thing: what are the play values? When children play, they not “only” have fun but also develop a series of skills related to their integral growth. These skills are called Play Values. Each playground equipment is associated with one or more play values, which determines the quality of play you obtain from it.
That’s the great thing about playgrounds! The highly varied range of benefits they offer children and that they put into practice all their areas of development. These play values fall within the three broad categories of child development: physical, cognitive, and social.
One of the most valuable (and most “visible”) elements that playgrounds have is physical activity. It is evident that while our children are having fun, they are also working out. Elements such as monkey bars, climbers, or other playground equipment offer this play value. Hanging on monkey bars helps develop your kid’s arms, abdominal muscles, and legs.
The act of swinging from one bar to the next while keeping their legs tucked up also allows kids to develop hand strength. And at the same time, practice other physical skills like agility, coordination, and balance. Not only will they be exercising and preventing possible diseases, but they will also be developing essential motor skills. These skills will serve them for optimal growth.
In the cognitive functioning area, we find the play value of imagination. Playground elements such as interactive panels come with specific activities that promote cognitive skills such as memory or problem-solving. However, standard equipment such as rollers or swings also can awaken children’s interest and encourage imagination.
When children foster creativity by having a safe play space for acting out real-life, they are learning how to respond to different settings (such as home, the school, etc.), promoting their ability to problem-solve and critical thinking.
The social aspect in childhood is a critical component for good integral development. Playgrounds facilitate that area because they are the first places we contact others in an unstructured and fun way. Playing is not commonly a solitary activity!
Play allows kids to learn how to give turns, get along with different children, set rules for games, accept the help of others, and even just how to make friends. When children meet and interact with other kids on the playground, they practice crucial social skills like communication, empathy, leadership, sharing, among others. A play space offers the opportunity for kids to boost their social skills and develop new ones.
In this way, we can argue that play brings enormous value to your child’s cognitive, physical, and social development. However, in the moment of playtime, we can’t “define” or differentiate these play values as they occur all at the same time in greater or lesser intensity.
What do you think about this topic? What other play values do you consider playground equipment gives your child?
If you want to add extra value to your child’s growth, contact us and ask for your own safe play space for your backyard.