Take a moment to recollect going to the playground as a child. Remember seeing the slide and hearing the laughter of happy children playing on the slide. Remember the anticipation you felt climbing up the slide and the wonder of making it up to the top. Reminisce in the thrill of accelerating down the slide only to reach the bottom and want to do it all over again. While it may have been a while since you’ve enjoyed a slide, these playground structures are still immensely popular today. Slides have stood the test of time due to the many benefits they offer to developing children.
Developmental Benefits of Playground Slides
As an adult, you remember the exhilaration of playground slides. Did you know that there are many benefits to slides ranging from physiological to sociological? These benefits span throughout the developmental process of a child from sensory experiences in babies to developing social skills in young children.
Learning Spatial Awareness and Coordination
The kinematics of using a slide takes shape in many areas. Climbing the ladder to the top promotes balance, coordination, and spatial awareness. Children must be able to judge the distance between the steps of the ladder and be aware of their bodies’ movement and use balance when changing positions at the top of the slide. They must also be able to think ahead and decide when to put their feet down at the bottom of the slide. All of these movements help strengthen the area of the brain that is used in math processes, learning directions, and letter order in writing.
Many specialists will point out that it is important to foster an intrinsic, or internal, motivation for doing something. Using a slide is an example of a child being intrinsically motivated to exercise. The child does not view the act of sliding as an exercise, but as an act of play. They are motivated by the joy of using the slide due to the adrenaline rushes from their vesicular system being stimulated. Physical benefits include increased strength, a healthy cardiovascular system, and the development of lean muscle.
Developing Social Skills
When multiple children are using a slide, there are many areas of development in positive social skills. Children must learn to play together, share, and take turns. Children must also learn to recognize the different developmental abilities of others and this helps establish patience and tolerance. Children are also given the opportunity to develop friendships and increase communication skills.
Next time you see a child using a slide, think about all of the unperceived elements that are contributing to the growth of the child. Using a slide is a fun and memorable experience, but it is also a helping hand in the physical and sociological development of the child.
For more information about playground equipment, contact T. F. Harper & Associates LP, located in Austin, TX.