Inspire Adventure on the Playground
We all know the value of playgrounds for inspiring physical activity in children, but we also know that their benefits expand far beyond mere exercise of the body. Children experience sensory stimulation and develop motor skills. They develop socially and emotionally as they play with and alongside one another, learning to cooperate and communicate. They develop cognitive skills such as problem-solving and strategic thinking. They learn to take risks, as they climb and slide and stretch themselves further with each playground visit. And with each new play experience, they engage their creativity and imagination.
All are crucial pieces of child development, and when you provide adventure-inspired playground designs, you will hit all of these targets—first, with visual cues that invite kids to come play, and then through the experience and exploration of adventurous elements.
How do you get started? Look for playground designs that incorporate many activities to encourage the progression of the play experience as children grow up, from their earliest crawling explorations, through active climbing, social and imaginative play, through challenges that will inspire older children to challenge themselves.
The Sky's the Limit
Playgrounds that feature themes, whether obvious or more subtle and abstract, can be a fast track to imaginative play for children of all ages. Whether it's scaling a mountaintop, soaring through the clouds or exploring the forest canopy, these adventures will get children of all ages excited to move their bodies and exercise their minds.
No matter what the theme is, the best playground experience will offer far more than climbing up and sliding down. Look for play equipment that provides plenty of adventure along the way. There should be rewarding and interactive experiences for children at all levels of play. A mountain adventure offers far more than just reaching the peak when there are wild surprises to be discovered along the way. And while there's plenty of up-and-down excitement in traditional tree-climbing, a more diverse play experience will provide interconnected activities at multiple levels, encouraging hours of adventurous and energetic play.
That said, reaching the top and sliding back down is a part of the adventure too, and will be enhanced if you can provide more alternatives. Look for adventure-inspired playgrounds that provide more than one path to the top, and multiple exhilarating ways to get back to the ground.
Of course, a playground can offer plenty of adventure even without a themed concept. When you combine an engaging mix of components with an opportunity to climb up high, you'll inspire children to choose their own adventure as they scale new heights to reach the view from the top.
We All Play
It's important to remember to provide a play experience that will inspire adventure in people of all ages and abilities. Be sure your playground provides ways for children to transfer from mobility devices, and make sure the route to the top is accessible, so any children who want to can enjoy the view from the top.
It's also important to include places where children can pause and hang out, whether it's a part of their imaginative play or they simply need a break from the more vigorous climbing, bouncing and sliding.
The danger of exposure to the sun's UV rays is well known, so be sure to provide shade elements to protect kids at play. Some playgrounds even incorporate shade elements into the design.
If space is limited, look for playstructures featuring condensed footprints. Playground designers can come up with innovative ways to pack more play value into a smaller area, providing an adventurous experience without taking up too much space. What's more, a condensed footprint will also require less playground safety surfacing, helping your bottom line.
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