How Playgrounds Can Help Develop Sensory Skills

By August 10, 2018Playgrounds
Children learning balance on a playground

One of the ways children learn about the world is by using their senses to explore their environment. Playgrounds provide a great place for children to exercise and to use their imaginations. Playgrounds can also be an excellent opportunity for kids to develop their senses. Different textures, colors, sounds, and more can all contribute to a child’s sensory experience.

Sandboxes

Sandboxes have been a popular piece of playground equipment for years. They are popular for a variety of reasons. The sand reminds people of the beach, for one. Not everyone in the Austin, TX area has the opportunity to visit a beach every summer, but sandboxes give kids the opportunity to still make some summer sandcastles. In addition to this, sandboxes also help children learn through touch. Learning to gently make a sandcastle without crushing it can help kids learn to control their touch as well.

Water

Playgrounds with water attractions also offer opportunities for kids to use their senses. Besides being a great way to stay cool during the hot Texas summer, water play also lets kids use their senses. Playing in the water can improve children’s physical dexterity, hand-eye coordination, and more. In addition, kids can learn simple science skills through interaction with water, such as which materials float and which do not. There are a variety of ways to include water attractions in playgrounds, from adding a place to swim to simple fountains.

Sound

Sound is something children can experience in many different ways on the playground. From squeaking swings to echoing tunnel slides, there is usually plenty of noise to go with playground equipment. Aside from the normal sounds of a park, some playground equipment is made with sound in mind. Talk tubes let children speak to one another across the playground and learn about how sound travels. Activity panels with a variety of different functions can also be added to playgrounds. These can have clickers, activity pads, and other sound-based activities for kids. This type of play will both entertain playground visitors and teach them about making and recognizing common sounds.

Balance

An important sensory skill for children to develop is balance. Learning balance can help improve coordination and spatial awareness. Many pieces of playground equipment can help improve this skill in children. From slides and seesaws to jungle gyms, equipment that requires coordination and climbing can help improve balance. Navigating these playground pieces requires children to control their movements, be aware of their surroundings, and learn to balance.

Proprioception

Proprioception is a sensory skill that isn’t commonly discussed among the major senses, but is just as important. Proprioception is the awareness of where are bodies are in relation to other things. Without this sensory skill, coordination and movement would be difficult. Playground equipment such as swings, monkey bars, and more help improve this skill in children. Improved proprioception helps children interact with their environment and learn to control their movements.

Need more information about promoting sensory learning on a playground? Contact T. F. Harper & Associates LP, a construction company in Austin, TX, for more information.