Factors in Choosing Playgrounds for Preschoolers
Play Is Good, Even For The Soul
Churches play a big role in a kids’ spiritual life and personal development. Aside from their kids ministries’ events, they also provide additional activities through their church playgrounds that enhance children’s social skills as well as improve their motor skills through physical play. These playgrounds also serve as the safe zone for kids in which parents can be assured of their child’s protection, and at the same time, providing a fun and enjoyable playtime for them. While attending church services and activities, parents need not worry if their children is loitering around in another location, or worse, leaving the entire church premises without you noticing them.
5 Important Factors in Choosing Preschool Playgrounds
Ever heard of Terrible 2s, Treacherous 3’s and Frantic 4’s? Most parents talk, and complain, a lot about these childhood phases. Little do they know how equally stressful it is for these children as they undergo major changes inside their small bodies. The book Childhood Stress edited by L. Eugene Arnold details this and mentioned that, “Preschool-aged children seem particularly vulnerable to certain kinds of stressful events, primarily because of the cognitive and emotional tasks of the preschool period.” We, at Playground Equipment, acknowledges these pain points that’s why we want to help you spend less time looking for the best age appropriate playground equipment and focus on the more important stuff, your preschooler needs.
Whether your child actually goes to a 'pre-school' or not, the ages of 2 to 5 are commonly known as the preschool stage. When a child reaches this stage, they become more independent. They want to touch, taste, smell, hear and test things for themselves. They are much more coordinated that running and climbing comes naturally, and some of them may have even progressed to tricycle riding. Their social needs have changed and increased as well.
Play has a crucial role on preschooler development. As they say, Play is the work of children. According to Laurel Bongiorno, PhD, “Children practice and reinforce their learning in multiple areas during play. It gives them a place and a time for learning that cannot be achieved through completing a worksheet.” Other benefits of play include:
- learning about themselves, their environment, people and the world around them.
- learning to solve problems
- enhancing their creativity
- developing leadership skills
- developing skills needed to learn to read and write. (Play in early childhood is the best foundation for success in school.)
- making them grow strong and healthy
- helping these children grow emotionally. (It is joyful and provides an outlet for anxiety and stress.)
Finding the age-appropriate play equipment though is never an easy task, especially if it’s without proper guidance and assistance from subject-matter experts. For starter, playground equipment should be designed for three different age groups namely; infants and toddlers under 2, preschoolers (2 to 5), and school-age kids (5 to 12). This is because children in each age bracket requires specific types of playground equipment suited to their level of physical, emotional and social maturity. SMEs emphasized that an effective play systems for ages 2 - 5.
Hones Gross Motor Skills
Though each child develops at his own pace, preschoolers generally start mastering large motor skills by learning to use the large muscles in their legs, arms, and trunk to run, jump, throw, climb, catch, and kick! Thus, their play environment should provide them lots of time, space, and opportunities to use these muscles since only by plenty of active play will further enhance the development of large motor skills.
Activities like walking on uneven surfaces, swinging on a swing set and climbing on playground equipment are just few of the things that help strengthen many muscles at once. Preschool playground from Playground Equipment are designed to require children to engage both their sense of depth perception and spatial awareness.
Fosters Collaborative Play Among Kids of All Ages
Every child’s world begins to open up as he develops into preschool age. He begins to realize that there are adults and children outside of the family that he needs to socialize with. The following may start to manifest as well:
- showing independence (though they easily get frustrated when tired, angry or embarrassed)
- showing confidence because of increased skill and speed in physical abilities
- having extended conversations thanks to wider vocabulary
Play is often social. It helps children understand both their individuality and how they fit into the world. Social play, or doing activities with other children, emphasizes on setting boundaries, taking turns, teamwork, and competition. Children also learn to negotiate with different personalities and gets a first hand experience on winning and losing thus putting into practice the words that their parents teach them such as share, wait, be a sport and be patient.
Promotes Pretend play
One of the activities that preschool children loves to participate in involve make-believe. Preschoolers love pretending to be something or somebody. This special type of play, known as pretend play, is proven not only fun for kids but also important for their young mind's development. Based on the American Journal of Play by Sandra W. Russ and Claire E. Wallace, “Some play therapists have observed and written about how pretend play also provides space for emotional expression and learning to modulate emotion (Freud 1965).” As children's thinking skills improve during the preschool years, they can remember and tell stories that follow a sequence of events and make sense to others. Pretend play is a great way for children to learn and develop skills such as planning, problem-solving, managing emotions, creativity and memory skills.
One good example is PlaygroundEquipment.com’s Tot Town Fire Adventure. It is a modular playground that reinforces pretend play. Its fire engine design has connection bridge, steering wheel, and activities that create an environment where kids can imagine how fun it is to be fire fighters.
Built for Safety
A clinical report on the subject for the American Association of Pediatrics states that, “play is essential to development . . . so important . . . that it has been recognized by the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights as a right of every child.” Equally important, standards have been set to ensure that this right is properly monitored for child safety.
The EN 1176 safety standard identifies numerous different factors that need to be taken into account in ensuring playground safety;
One of these is entrapment. Children’s curiosity leads them to squeeze themselves, or some of their body parts, to gaps or corners between structural components. So these elements need to be designed so as to prevent children’s fingers, heads or bodies from getting trapped.
Preschool-aged children, should also have a separate play area from kids aged 5 and up. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission Public Playground Safety Handbook notes that young preschool kids can have a difficult time using certain climbers since they have not yet fully developed their upper body coordination needed for that level of difficulty. Another thing, some types of moving equipment like merry go rounds, should be avoided entirely for this age group.
Comes with Worry-free Warranty
The joys definitely out-numbers the pains there is in being a parent. Hearing their kids say, “This is the best day of my life,” just because they were allowed to play to their heart’s content or just by beaming that smile on their lips makes these parents forget their child’s misdemeanors.
Still, unloading these parents of maintenance concerns would add more hours to them attending to their children. That is why worry and hassle-free after sales are important in choosing a Play System suited to every child’s need.
Life is never easy for preschoolers as we always think it is. So the least thing adults can do is to make sure that “fun” is integrated in every aspect of their everyday life.