Investing in playground design can be transformative for any school. There are many different ways to build a safe and stimulating playground space today, one where children can learn, play and thrive. Outdoor play has been found to have many benefits for children’s health, physically and emotionally, and the range of playground equipment available today contributes to the experience. But what are the main benefits of playground designs in schools?
Helping children to develop cognitive skills
Playground spaces that are designed to support cognitive skills provide children with the opportunity to develop problem-solving, critical thinking and creativity. These are spaces where there is the freedom for children to make up their own rules and delve deep into their own imaginations when it comes to playtime. Playground equipment can also have a key role to play here, as it provides a testing zone where children can start to learn more about cause and effect and how their bodies work, as well as what they’re physically capable of.
Nurturing social skills
Playground design also has a key role to play when it comes to social skills, as this is the space in which children are likely to interact most freely. Spending time with peers, playing together and working things out together can encourage important social skills like communication and cooperation. There may be lots of opportunities for conflict resolution and navigating difficult conversations, as children learn how to share spaces and communicate their ideas, wants and needs to others who aren’t their own family. There may be negotiations over who uses the equipment first and children may need to work together to make their games better – or to get the most out of the space. Playgrounds are often somewhere that children start to build social confidence and gain a sense of how to get on with others.
Staying physically healthy
Playgrounds are ultimately a physical space and this can have many benefits for schools. There are lots of opportunities in a well designed playground for kids to run around and let off some steam so that they return to the classroom much calmer and better prepared to concentrate. Physical health is also well supported by playground environments, as there are so many ways to get the heart rate up and burn off energy. This is a space where children can start to learn how their bodies work and what they are really capable of, as well as the sheer joy that can be the result of physical movement. Part of the physical element of playgrounds in schools is helping children to develop and refine motor skills. Everything, from balance to agility and coordination can be supported by the right playground design and equipment that helps children to become more physically fit and capable – and have fun while they are doing it.
Playground design gives schools the opportunity to enhance learning in the classroom and engage children in another type of development that is equally as key.