A kids outdoor playground may seem fun for children, but it is more than that. A kids outdoor playground teaches children how to socialize and develop their creativity, critical thinking, problem-solving skills, reasoning, and more. It is essential for the physical as well as mental health of a child. A nicely equipped playground encourages kids to play while imparting important developmental skills. On the surface, playground activities like swinging, climbing, and sliding may seem “just fun,” but they start vital body systems to develop and work properly. Kids around playgrounds also enhances the vestibular system, the sensory system that governs balance and coordination.
How do different playground equipment aid in mental growth?
- Children can develop their senses by engaging in self-guided exploration on sensory play panels, which offer a variety of opportunities for children to develop their cognitive, tactile, sensory/motor, emotional/social, and language skills. They also encourage playtime with other kids and creative play.
- A child’s nervous system receives a wealth of visual, vestibular, and proprioceptive stimulation from swinging as they discover how their bodies move in space and how much effort it takes to speed up or slow down.
- Children’s brains receive valuable, intricate vestibular information from multidimensional movements like spinning and rotating. Children can maintain proper body posture and balance while playing thanks to the connection between head and body position in space.
- Multiple senses, including vestibular, tactile, and preconception, are integrated during sliding. Children can slide back and forth on all sides of their bodies while rolling horizontally, stimulating their proprioceptive and tactile systems, applying deep pressure, and testing their upper body strength.
How playground enriches the physical health of children
Playgrounds are essential to healthy development because they give kids a place to work out their entire body, including their arms, legs, torso, and other muscles. The circulatory and cardiovascular systems are both nourished and improved by vigorous play. Children are more likely to enjoy outdoor activities like biking and walking when they play outside. Children have room to walk, jump, swing, and throw when they are outside. Kids can strengthen their bodies and improve their movement confidence by being allowed to test and push their physical limits. Some of the physical benefits are:
- It improves balance and flexibility in children.
- It improves hand-eye coordination, talent, and general motor skills.
- It provides the children with opportunities to practice movement control.
- Playing on the playground with other children develops better instincts in children.
- Playing promotes heart- and lung-healthy function in children and more powerful muscles.
- It enhances immune response because the body creates antibodies for all types of foreign bacteria.
- It reduces the risk of diabetes and obesity in children, which is very common in children in the US.
A good playground transition from being a luxury to a necessity once you fully understand the numerous life-changing advantages that play can have on a growing child. The best available and most entertaining kids outdoor playgrounds are available at All-Play. We only use strong, long-lasting materials that will stand out in your school, park, daycare, or neighborhood. To encourage inclusive for everyone, we also offer a variety of accessible playground equipment. Contact us to know more.
The environment in which your child lives, plays, and learns, including the kids outdoor playground, is extremely important to their development. It’s normal to want the best for your children, but it’s not always easy to know what that looks like or how to get it. The right environment for kids can be defined by many things: healthy food, safe toys and activities, adequate sleep and exercise, positive role models, and much more. But how do you know what constitutes a good environment? The answer is more straightforward than it appears! All you need is a checklist.
We will walk you through some basic steps to help you identify if your kids outdoor playground environment is right for them or not.
Why is the environment a crucial model for the development of kids?
The kids outdoor playground environment significantly impacts how children develop. The physical, social and emotional environments all play a part in how children grow up, so it’s essential to consider how each factor can affect development.
Physical environment: What kind of home do you live in? Are there enough bedrooms for everyone? Is your neighborhood safe? Does it have good schools? All of these things matter when it comes to raising healthy kids.
Social environment: How much time do you spend with your family? Do they make time for each other every day? Can other adults help you be a good parent (like grandparents or babysitters)? The more people around you care about you and your family; the more your kids will be better off.
Emotional environment: This includes stress levels, moods, and attitudes toward parenting styles. Kids learn by example, so if you’re stressed out all the time or have a bad attitude toward parenting (or anything else), it’s going to rub off on them!
What are the steps to identify if your kid’s environment is good for them or not?
Identifying if your child’s outdoor playground equipment Houston environment is right for them or not is not an easy task. The first step is to determine what your child needs and wants and then consider whether the environment you’ve set up for them is in line with that.
Here are some questions to ask yourself:
Is my child’s room adequately equipped to meet their needs? Do they have enough space, and do they have a place to sleep? Does their room feel safe, private, and comfortable? Are there enough toys and books to keep them occupied while they’re home alone?
Do they have a place to play outside? Do they have friends around to help them stay occupied at work or out of town? Does the neighborhood feel safe to walk around in? Are parks nearby where they can play sports or hang out with other kids?
Does my child’s school offer enough relevant opportunities for their interests and skills? Do they get along well with their classmates, teachers, and administrators? Do they learn anything new every day?
Next, it’s crucial to determine what kind of kids outdoor playground environment would be best suited for your child. This means that you’ll need to research what kinds of environments have been shown to have positive outcomes for children with similar issues as yours. If there are no studies available, then it’s up to you!
Again, you can use your observations and knowledge of your child’s strengths and weaknesses to make inferences about what kind of stimuli might be helpful for them.
With the right kid’s outdoor playground environment, kids can be happier, healthier, and more successful. The best part is that you don’t have to spend a fortune on it—just a little time and effort.
If you’re interested in learning more about what makes a suitable environment for kids, check out All Play Inc. to understand better!
With Labor Day just a couple of weeks away, fall sports programs at your school or in your community will soon be ramping up again. While organized team sports offer valuable opportunities for kids to learn teamwork, responsibility, and sportsmanship, they can also carry the risk of serious injury: in the year 2013 alone, 1.24 million kids were treated in emergency rooms as the result of sports injuries.
Keeping kids safe on the field or the court is a group effort. Parents and the kids themselves bear part of the responsibility, as do coaches and team organizers. As you prepare to get your teams in gear, keep in mind these five safety pointers:
- Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. It’s still plenty hot here in southeast Texas, and even when the weather begins to cool off, adequate hydration is a must. Make sure plenty of fresh water is available before, during, and after all practices, and schedule water breaks for every 15-20 minutes. It’s also important that kids learn to recognize the early signs of dehydration, including headache, dry lips, dizziness, and cramps.
- Enforce a zero-tolerance policy on “dirty play.” When adrenaline is running high and the game is on the line, some kids may be tempted to bend the rules and take cheap shots to gain an advantage. Make sure all players on the team (and their parents) understand the importance of fair play and respect for others, and address infractions promptly and appropriately.
- Encourage kids to speak up about injuries. Sometimes kids will try to “tough it out” when they suspect something is wrong; some may even see it as a sign of weakness to admit being injured. Have your coaches emphasize to the kids that their health is more important than winning any game, and let them know it’s OK to speak up any time they suspect an injury.
- Train coaches in injury prevention and first aid. All coaches should receive basic training in the prevention, recognition, and initial treatment of sports-related injuries. Make sure that a complete first aid kit is readily available at all times, and that it contains supplies appropriate to the sport (remember to check expiration dates regularly).
- Check surfaces. Uneven surfaces, potholes, and obstructions pose unnecessary injury risks for the whole team. Before every practice, make sure someone walks the entire field or court to ensure that the playing surface is free of hazards.
For more information on preventing kids’ sports injuries, check out the Safe Kids Worldwide sports page at safekids.org/sports. By taking a few precautions and putting some sensible rules and policies in place, you can ensure that the fun continues all season long — and keep injuries at bay.
With summer nearly here, it won’t be long before kids and families begin flocking to your playground. While you get your equipment ready for the “summer rush,” you’ll also want to pay attention to the walkways and sidewalks around your play area. Poorly maintained walkways can detract from the eye appeal of your space and can even create safety hazards, and now is the time to make sure your paths are ready to do you proud all summer long.
For Safe, Beautiful Gravel Walkways …
- Weeds and other unwanted plant life can sprout up through the gravel and cause tripping hazards, making walkways unsafe for young visitors. Inspect your paths regularly and pull up any weeds as soon as you see them.
- If you’re creating a new gravel walkway, put down a layer of quality landscaping fabric first. This will prevent unwanted vegetation from sprouting up through the gravel.
- If you have an existing gravel walkway where weeds are a consistent problem, consider re-installing it with a layer of landscaping fabric underneath.
- Rake your walkway regularly to remove debris and ensure a smooth, level walking surface.
- Over time, gravel material can be kicked off the path and scattered onto the neighboring grass, causing your walkway to appear messy. You can prevent this by installing edging material to create a barrier and keep gravel in its place.
- If potholes appear, especially after a hard rain, fill the entire sunken area with fresh gravel (don’t just “borrow” material from another area of the walkway).
For Kid-Ready Concrete Walkways and Sidewalks
- Sweep concrete walkways regularly to keep your space looking clean and orderly.
- Repair any large cracks in concrete or pavement as soon as you notice them, as these can become serious tripping hazards.
- Power-wash your walkways on a regular basis; if stains appear, clean them up immediately.
- Applying a sealer isn’t strictly necessary, but it will help keep your sidewalks looking clean and beautiful.
- If weeds begin to spring up in cracks or gaps, pull them immediately. If weeds continue to be a problem, look for an environmentally friendly and kid-safe weed-control solution.
Remember, your walkways and sidewalks are an important part of your play space. By maintaining them well, you’ll create a safe, attractive area that keeps families coming back all summer long.
Our playgrounds offer kids and families a secure, engaging space where they can enjoy fresh air while reaping the benefits of physical activity. Unfortunately, with all that activity comes the inevitable risk of injury. To ensure an enjoyable visit to our playgrounds for every child, every time, we can offer parents clear, easy-to-follow guidelines on the safe, appropriate use of our grounds and our equipment.
The Legal Angle
No one likes to think about the possibility of a lawsuit resulting from a child being injured on your playground. But legal realities are a fact of life, and if a suit should arise, having posted the appropriate safety signage in full view of visitors can help your case by showing the court you‘ve taken steps to ensure a safe experience.
The Official Word
Both the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) and Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) have issued recommendations regarding playground safety signage. ASTM’s recommendations are located in the Standard Consumer Safety Performance Specification for Playground Equipment for Public Use, and you can find the CPSC’s guidelines in the Public Playground Safety Handbook.
Types of Playground Safety Signage
Supervision Advisory: A simple sign reading “Adult supervision is recommended” reminds visitors that your playground is not intended for unsupervised play.
Age Range of Equipment Users: For a safe and enjoyable playground experience, it’s important that children use only equipment that is age-appropriate for them. Labeling your equipment with age ranges gives the parent clear guidance on whether a particular activity is safe for his or her child.
Hot Surface Warning: During our sweltering Texas summers, it’s possible for playground equipment to become so hot that it creates a burn hazard. A hot surface warning label advises the parent or caregiver to test the surfaces of slides, swings, and other equipment before allowing the child to play on them.
Strangulation Warning: Loose clothing, drawstrings, necklaces, straps, and other elements can present a strangulation risk if they get caught on equipment during play. Strangulation warning labels advise parents and caregivers to remove any and all strangulation hazards before allowing the child to play on the equipment.
Surfacing Warnings: Any equipment installed on a hard surface should carry a surfacing warning alerting parents to the risk of injuries from falls.
Where Signage Should Be Placed
Place all safety signs in locations where they are readily visible and where they can alert the viewer in time to take action if needed. They can be affixed to the equipment or posted on free-standing posts within the playground but outside of use zones.
Also, remember to keep trees, bushes and other plants trimmed so as not to obscure the visibility of your safety signs.
Playground equipment safety is a team effort, and by presenting clear, easy-to-follow safety guidelines, we can help our communities enjoy a safe, engaging experience every time they visit.
With school out and summer now in full swing, kids will be heading to their local playgrounds for some fun in the outdoors. And while it’s wonderful to see children enjoy the carefree days of the summer season, we also have to remember to put safety first. Fortunately, taking a few simple steps can help ensure your playground offers a safe place to play all summer long.
Check Your Equipment
Your playground equipment will be under extra stress with the increased use that typically occurs during summer months. Give all surfaces and connections a thorough check to make sure they’re up to the task. Also, check your safety surfacing to make sure you offer adequate protection against injuries from falls.
Keep the H2O Flowing
It’s easy for kids to get dehydrated running around in the Texas heat, so make sure your water fountains are in good working condition.
Keep the Bugs at Bay
When temps go up, the bugs come out, placing kids at a higher risk for painful insect bites. Check the kids outdoor playground area regularly for fire ants and wasp nests, and deal with them promptly. Also, standing water can be a prime breeding ground for mosquitoes, so make sure the area has adequate drainage.
Offer Some Shade
Give parents and kids a shady place nearby where they get out of the sun and enjoy the breeze. If space is limited, consider a simple shade canopy.
Send a flyer to the parents in your community with some summer safety tips for families enjoying your playground. Remind them about the importance of things like sunscreen, appropriate footwear (i.e. no bare feet), hydration, and insect repellent.