Ready Set Go to Kindergarten

Playground Activities That Help Your Childs Development

Nicolle Bellmore Pierse - Wednesday, March 13, 2019
Playgrounds are more than just fun places where your child can spend free time. They can help all kids—especially those with learning and attention issues—develop important skills. Here’s how:

Swinging: Swinging is a basic playground activity that can aid your child’s development in many areas. It helps with balance and teaches him to know where their body is in space. And it also gives him practice with fine motor skills (gripping the chain), gross motor skills (pumping his legs to swing higher) and coordination (putting it all together). What’s more, swinging helps the brain learn to make sense of speed and direction, which may be beneficial for kids with visual perception issues.

Climbing: Climbing playground equipment can help your child’s development. The same is true for climbing trees. Here’s why: In order to climb, your child needs to build an awareness of where their body parts are and what they can do with them. Climbing helps make them aware of directions (like up, down, left and right). Climbing also encourages problem solving and predicting what’s going to happen. For example, your child may wonder, “Where should my right foot go next? How will I get down from the top?” This kind of flexible thinking can help on the playground and in the classroom.

Playing on Overhead Equipment: Playing on overhead equipment, like monkey bars, helps your child develop both fine and gross motor skills. They're practicing little movements (gripping the bar) as well as big movements (swinging from one bar to the next). Equipment like this is great for kids who have trouble with motor planning. Learning to move one hand at a time from bar to bar can help your child practice coordination and balance. They will also learn how to judge where the next bar is in relation to their body.

Having Free Play: Free play can mean anything from organized games to just running around with other kids. But it’s not just goofing around. Free play helps your child learn to communicate with other kids and practice conversation and vocabulary. Playgrounds can help him learn how to follow and change rules, share, and take turns as he makes up games with the other kids. These kinds of social interactions can also help your child practice picking up on social cues like body language and tone of voice.

Playing Ball Games: Games like kickball, tetherball, Whiffle ball and four square all help with kids’ development. As your child figures out how to hold on to, manipulate and throw or kick a ball, they're practicing motor coordination skills. And as they develop strategies about where they should throw the ball or whether it’s time to run to the next base, they're working on critical thinking and problem solving.
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