Encourage Playground Physical Activity

Inspiring imagination, cooperation and physical activity, playgrounds are an essential tool in childhood development. Play is fundamental to healthy development, contributing to children's physical, social-cognitive, communicative and sensory learning while being fun and engaging.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that children ages 6 to 17 get at least 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity every day. However, the CDC also reports that 24% of children ages 6 to 17 in the U.S. achieve that level of activity. You can help by promoting physical activity on the playground.

Playing at the playground strengthens children's muscles, bones, hearts and lungs. It improves coordination, balance, posture and flexibility. And most importantly, physical activity helps reduce the risk of children getting sick with chronic ailments as they age.

You can help ensure kids get the physical activity they need by implementing playground designs that promote physical activity. Talk with your playground manufacturer about creating a play environment that employs evidence-based design, proven to help boost physical activity. There are six key elements of active play: balancing, brachiating/bilateral upper-body, climbing, swinging, sliding, and spinning. Be sure to incorporate all of these elements into your play space to encourage a wide range of activities.

Schools, day camps, childcare and others should consider adding programming to the playground that helps promote physical fitness and fun. Standards-based playground activities aligned to the 6 Key Elements of Play can promote overall development and help you maximize the value of your playground.

Be sure to consider the needs of all children as you develop your plan for boosting physical activity through play. Physical activity for children with physical, developmental and cognitive disabilities is just as important. Talk to your manufacturer about inclusive play designs that help children of all abilities get active.

While getting kids more physically active is a laudable goal, you can also expand your efforts to help teens and adults improve their activity levels.

Consider adding outdoor fitness equipment near your playground. It gives parents and caretakers a way to get moving while they keep an eye on their kids. Set a good example and encourage a lifetime of healthy movement and activity.



Play and Park Structures