Ask any kid what their favorite subject is and most will declare, “Recess!” Today’s schools don’t just teach the ABCs and 123s. They also prepare students for a successful adult life. This requires schools to provide the best possible learning experiences both inside and outside the classroom.
When kids head out to play on the playground at recess, they’re doing more than just burning off energy. They’re also building important life skills that will help them become critical thinkers and leaders. While some schools feel pressured to have high performing students, we can’t overlook the importance of physical activity and unstructured play for kids.
Let’s explore some of the reasons why school playgrounds are essential to student growth and development.
Encourage Physical Activity
Not all students are given time to play outdoors and exercise during the day. Sadly, many kids sit at desks all day and then return home to sit on their tablets, watch TV or play video games. A sedentary lifestyle carries many risks, including obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. And doctors are seeing these problems in kids earlier and earlier.
Teachers, parents and kids agree that more time should be spent getting up and being active - even at school! Playgrounds and exercise go hand in hand. Kids love breaking up their day and working on their muscle strength, agility, balance, coordination and motor skills. What a great way to instill healthy habits!
Develop Social and Emotional Skills
The physical activity that kids get on the playground is essential. But there are other skills they learn as well. For example, kids learn how to take turns, cooperate with others and be good team players.
Sometimes kids may engage in group activities like playing tag or hide and seek. Others talk quietly and swing side by side. And others create stories to act out. During this free time, kids are learning, growing and developing friendships. This maturity will be seen in the classroom when assigning group projects.
Improve Academic Performance
Playing outside is not a waste of time in terms of learning. In fact, studies show physical activity has a wide range of benefits for a child’s brain. By playing outside, kids increase the flow of oxygen to the brain and boost feel-good neurotransmitters that help them learn and remember information.
The CDC also reports that physical activity improves cognitive skills like concentration and attention. For schools that are concerned with academic performance, spending more time outdoors may be just the thing students need to boost their test scores.
Design Your School Playground Today
The above points only scratch the surface of what a school playground can offer your students. The fresh air, sunny skies and physical activity are enough to change moods and support healthy, high performing students. To start designing a new school playground, contact Cunningham Recreation today.