Bring Adventure Back to Communities
Playgrounds, outdoor fitness spaces and recreation areas are places where communities go to play, socialize and develop important skills that transcend the space. To get everyone outdoors, it's vital we design spaces that are appealing, accessible, fun and tap into our inherent need for movement and adventure. We're competing with so many distractions—screens being the top one—that to get people outdoors, we need to make sure they can create an experience better and more compelling than a screen can offer.
Imagine yourself at the top of a tower looking down at the world from an entirely new perspective. You've climbed up and you're about to crawl through a rope tunnel high in the air to a nearby tower. It's a perceived risk and you're willing to take it. Over and over again, kids will do this. Each time, it's an adventurous thrill that helps them build resilience, decision-making skills and confidence. Add climbing adventures to your playspace with towers, rope climbers, tunnels and rock climbers that challenge children to climb higher, harder and allow them to create different routes every time they play. If you have an existing space that needs an adventure boost, add in freestanding rock or rope climbers—or even an entire climbing system—to bring that added engagement to your space.
Once kids reach the top, they can climb down, which is an adventure in and of itself, but there's also a thrill in sliding down. Tall slides with lots of twists and turns are irresistible to adventure-seeking kids and help them build core strength, balance and proprioception while learning cooperation and turn-taking.
Maybe fitness sounds like a chore and not an adventure. Obstacle courses can change that perception and are a great way to bring adventure to community spaces while engaging people of all ages and fitness levels to exercise in the same area. Children ages 5 to 12 and 13-plus (read: adults too!) will enhance all types of fitness on an obstacle course while building community relationships and improving both mental and physical health.
Obstacle course fitness is exploding in popularity and helps facilitate intergenerational play while providing equitable access to fitness areas. Most children and adults don't meet the movement recommendations set forth by the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP) and public access to fun and adventurous exercise options can help bring everyone together for fitness and fun.
There are so many ways to bring adventure back to your community and get people of all ages outside moving together. The more people are outdoors, the healthier the community, and adventure play is one way to encourage everyone to be outdoors!
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