Do you take your child to the park or playground? I’ve often wondered if they have become obsolete and replaced by video games. I can count on one hand the number of times that I’ve taken the children to park and there has been other children there. Do parents know the importance of a playground and its benefit to our children.
Children are encouraged to engage in free play on playgrounds. Free play is simply children playing, running, climbing and using their imagination. We may not think of early childhood development while we’re at the playground, but developing our children must be considered in just about everything that we do as parents. Although we have a swing set in the backyard for Xavier and Zarriah, we do take them to the park for exercise and interaction with other children.
- Physical benefit – All children need to exercise for good health and to fight obesity.
- Helps develop children emotionally – Children can learn to understand and control their emotions on the playground. They may fall and cry, they may find something funny or get angry. This is a perfect opportunity to teach them about being happy, sad or whatever they’re feeling.
- Helps develop social skills – Children must learn to socialize to be successful as an adult. Playing on a playground allows children to join in with others, share, and learn how to be a good sport. They may be teased, have another child cut in front of them etc., but it’s a perfect opportunity to teach them how to resolve problems they may encounter.
- Helps develop large motor skills – Children develop and strengthen motor skills from birth to 6 years. This includes rolling over, walking, learning to hold a pencil or crayons, using scissors, these are fine motor skills. Large motor skills are developed by using muscles in the arms, legs etc. Climbing, jumping, using the monkey bars etc. will help with these skills. It will also assist children with learning to keep their balance and playing in organized sports.
- Helps develop cognitive skills – Children need to develop their brain so they will learn how to remember, solve problems, work on perception and it assists them with their attention span.
Research by The Shasta Children and Families First Commission (SCFFC) has shown that brain development is crucial in a child’s earliest years. It’s imperative that children develop interaction through free play in the first six years of their life, and playgrounds are an appropriate area to develop these skills. Research also reveals that children who have poorly developed motor-skills by age five will most likely never have efficient motor-skills.
The paternal grandparents purchased a play ground set similar to the one at the park for the backyard when time isn’t on our side. Xavier is getting older now, so he’s more into organized activities like football, basketball and swimming. We’ll be using the set for Zarriah, she’s 2 now. I believe my grandson is advanced in many areas, and I believe a big reason he is advanced is because we focused on all of his developmental skills. We will be using the same plan for Zarriah. Utilizing the playground to develop skills is not a new concept. I used it for my daughter, who is shown in the pictures. She was and still is a social butterfly, she excelled in dance and cheerleading (organized activity) and higher academics.
Early childhood development is essential for all children. If you can’t afford a backyard set, know that it is imperative that you set time aside during the upcoming spring and summer days to work on your child’s developmental needs. The physical, emotional, cognitive, motor and social skills in your child’s early years will affect everything they do later in their life. Do you spend time at the park with your children?