Parents often take their kids to the playground to get fresh air and exercise. What many don’t realize is that they’re benefitting their kids in another way - by socializing them! Unstructured play is incredibly important for a child’s development. Not only do they get to have fun and burn off calories, but also they can develop healthy social skills.
The next time you drive past a park, take note of the children and how they are increasing their physical, mental and social development. Below you’ll find some of the ways that playgrounds can boost a young child’s social skills.
Establish New Friendships
The first step in interacting with someone is greeting them. A playground provides the perfect opportunity for kids to practice this introduction. Parents can guide their children on ways to say hello and introduce themselves. Nonverbal communication can be practiced in these instances as well - a simple nod or smile is enough to start a friendship!
Support Inclusive Play
More and more playgrounds are being redesigned for inclusive play, a place where children of all ages and abilities can interact together. Inclusive playgrounds teach kids at an early age to accept one another and embrace all styles of learning. Plus, these interactions allow for easier transitions at the start of school because kids in the community will already know each other!
Encourage Positive Communication
When kids are running around and playing, you’ll notice that they’re usually engaging in some type of creative play. As they interact with each other, they must communicate what role they’re playing, the rules of the game, etc. Even parents have plenty of opportunities to point out how well their children are listening, taking turns and helping others. This collaboration improves self-esteem and self-awareness.
Teach Conflict Resolution
Conflicts can arise on the playground, particularly because there are few rules in place. However, these conflicts present teachable moments. Kids can work together to determine who goes first down the slide, who’s turn it is on the swings, etc. If they can’t decide, they can use conflict resolution techniques like Rocks, Paper, Scissors. Handling these types of situations prepares kids for the classroom and beyond.
Create Your Custom Playground Design Today
It’s obvious that the playground is where many things happen - social interaction, taking turns, listening to others, following directions and more. If you are interested in building a new playground for your community, contact Cunningham Recreation. We have a full selection of inclusive playground equipment that all children can enjoy together!