The Link Between Play and Cognitive Development for Children
Between school, homework, and sports activities, finding time for lighthearted play can be challenging for kids, who enjoy more weekly obligations now than any other generation in history. But while some say the curriculum and team events better prepare children for adulthood, many researchers are validating the need for free play time.
Is there real measurable value in play time for children? According to a report prepared by the University of North Dakota “What Young Children Learn Through Play” there are a number of valuable skills development opportunities that emerge with free recreational play that support cognitive and relational skills that children need to be successful later in life. And depriving children of that ‘meaningless’ play time can have negative physical or social consequences.
At APCPLAY, we understand exactly how much learning can happen on the playground, which is why we provide a collection of independent play items, educational components, and engaging playground structures to activate young imaginations, and stimulate learning outdoors.
How to Incorporate Learning Through Outdoor Play
Designing a quality playground begins with isolating different learning outcomes and opportunities that can be provided to children through recreation, and incorporating them into a design that allows for group and independent learning.
- Independent play structures allow children to explore their own capabilities and learn on their own. Both introverted and extroverted children enjoy the opportunity to explore away from the crowd.
- Problem solving skills can be enhanced when commercial playground equipment utilize learning panels for exploration. Children can learn about the natural world (Moon Phase Panel), engineering and natural mechanics (Gear Panel), and even languages and mathematics (Sign Language Panel, etc.).
- Creating opportunities for individual or group imaginative play is important. When children pretend or ‘make believe’, it allows them to evaluate and interpret their experience and apply it creatively in scenarios that help them hone social, problem solving and other important critical reasoning skills.A Store Panel provides an opportunity for children to play “shopkeeper” and mimic commercial or employment settings. A Rain Wheel allows children to imagine opening a deluge of water or other fantastical result. It broadens their scope of what is possible through cause and effect for logical skills training.
- Playground structures that offer climbing, arm and leg endurance activities, exhilarating slides and exploration support healthy physical development, hand and eye coordination and balance for children aged 2-12 years.
APCPLAY's experience in designing commercial playgrounds for schools, church organizations, HOAs and municipalities can help you take education outside for quality outdoor learning. Call a playground specialist at 1-888-401-6446 to ask about how to fully customize your playground with the most engaging of activities.