Play is an essential part of your child’s growth, and its benefits are innumerable. It’s through playing that your child learns and develops. Not only does playing help encourage exercise and promote health, but it also expands your child’s social skills. However, teaching your children how to play safely is vital. If your child knows the rules, they’re less likely to get hurt. A playground is a place of imagination, adventure, and joy. It’s where kids create memories.
Some of the most classic playground equipment has been around for decades—and for good reason. It’s hard to beat the classics that generations of children have grown up enjoying. Below we’ll look at some of the most iconic playground equipment that brings joy to children of all ages across the United States (and the world!).
When asked to picture a playground in your mind, a swing set is likely to appear in your visualization. Swings are some of the essential elements of a classic playground. Not only is swinging exhilarating, it can actually help your child with balance. The act of swinging stimulates different parts of your child’s brain, which can help with developing and improving muscle control. Additionally, in cases where children take turns pushing each other, children can experience interaction and improve their social skills.
Swinging is a fun activity, but it’s not without its dangers—so it’s important to teach your child some simple safety rules to follow to help avoid and prevent injury. When swinging ensure your child is seated, not kneeling or standing. Additionally, they should keep a safe distance when are swinging. Also be sure to teach your kids to never run too closely in front of or behind swings when they’re being used.
Slides are another staple in playgrounds across the country. Just like swings, slides stimulate your child’s balance and reflexes. In fact, as your child plays on slides, the learn to fear heights and improve their bravery. Due to the way slides are designed, they naturally encourage kids to learn how to share and have patience (waiting in line, allowing others to go before them, etc.). Sharing, tolerance, and patience are essential traits to have, so not only do slides provide hours of fun—they also help hone important life skills.
As with other playground equipment, safety is important. Slides vary in size, height, and design, so it’s crucial to teach kids to take their time climbing up slide ladders and easing down the slides until they get used to them. Remind your children to go up the steps one at a time, and discourage sliding headfirst down the slides for safety. Also teach your children that only one kid should be on the slide at a time, and it’s important to make sure the child before them is all the way off the slide and away from it before taking their turn.
Seesaws are another old-timey playground classic that never goes out of style. Not only are seesaws a great workout for your child’s legs, but they’re a great way for children to interact since they require two people to operate. Not only do children get to have fun, but seesawing also encourages coordination and teamwork.
Caution and safety should be a high priority for yourself and your children when they’re playing on a seesaw. They’re not recommended for pre-school-aged kids unless they have spring-centering devices under the seats to prevent the boards from hitting the ground too hard.
Additionally, it’s important that only children of similar weights and sizes partner up to play on a seesaw—and never allow multiple children to be on one side of a seesaw at any time. Each child should face inward (towards each other) and not face outward to reduce the risk of falling off.
Playgrounds are full of all kinds of fun equipment where kids can spend hours having a blast. Look for parks that offer high-quality, well-maintained playground equipment and teach your kids simple safety tips to help ensure they have as much fun as possible while avoiding injury.