Playset vs. Gaming Console: Which Is the Better Investment?
As a child, there’s nothing more exciting than getting lost in the world of play. Not only is playtime fun, but it’s also one of the best ways for children to learn.
Therefore, how they choose to play can have a crucial impact on their development. If you’re looking to splurge on a new form of entertainment for your kids, we’re going to break down the advantages and disadvantages of playsets vs. gaming consoles to help you decide which is the better choice for your family.
Benefits of Gaming Consoles
Before we dive into the disadvantages of gaming consoles, it’s important to recognize that they have some perks.
1. Multiple Entertainment Options
For starters, a gaming console opens the door to an assortment of entertainment options. There are thousands of games available to buy and play on your console, so it’s not easy to get bored.
Plus, they are designed for a variety of different genres, so if their interests change, you can always buy new games to play.
2. Educational Value
Believe it or not, video games can provide some educational value, according to experts. A writer from Cambridge reports that video gaming can help teach autonomy, allowing kids to make their own decisions in the game. With that, they might also learn there is freedom to fail — something that can help build confidence to take future risks.
Additionally, exposure to video games can help improve technological literacy, which is something that has already started creeping into many schools’ curriculums.
3. High Likelihood of Resale Value
If your child grows bored of their gaming console, there’s always a market for selling pre-owned equipment. As long as it works, there are plenty of nostalgic gamers out there looking to buy a retro system.
Disadvantages of Gaming Consoles
Despite their advantages, there is a long list of items to be cautious of when it comes to video games.
1. Increased Health Problems
Carpel tunnel, eye strain, insomnia — these are just a few of the many health problems that can occur when your kids spend too much time planted in front of a screen. Plus, if they aren’t involved in sports or other extracurricular activities, it’s very likely they aren’t getting enough exercise or social interaction.
Eventually, these problems can take a toll on their overall well-being, developing into more severe psychological problems.
2. Weaker Social Skills
Every child is different, but generally speaking, playing too many video games can lead to weaker social skills. Kids learn how to act, react, and empathize with others through face-to-face interactions.
If they’re only socializing with others online, your kids might have a harder time learning social cues and making friends.
Something that’s not talked about enough is the dependency that many gamers develop to their gaming console. Video games — and screen time in general — can cause players to form an addiction to gaming because of the brain’s biological response.
As they play, the body can release the “feel-good” hormone, dopamine, which makes the brain form a connection between the pleasure they feel and the act of gaming. Children who have a hard time regulating their emotions may seek out playing video games more often to experience that dopamine rush, further forming the bond between the two.
4. Ongoing Costs
A gaming system is a hefty investment on its own, and unfortunately, it’s not a one-time purchase either, like some other forms of entertainment. Whether it’s buying new games, subscribing to software, or upgrading their equipment, the costs can begin to add up.
Weighing the benefits of playsets vs. gaming consoles in this context gives swing sets the upper hand because it’s a one-time investment. There are no required ongoing costs, especially if you’re buying a high-quality vinyl playset with a warranty of 20 years.
5. Desensitization to Violence
There is no scientific proof that video games lead to increased aggression or violence. In fact, the opposite is true; in over 20 years of research, studies have failed to find a causal link between exposure to violent video games and committing acts of violence.
However, watching the brutality of some of these games unfold on screen can lead to a desensitization to violence. When young kids start to lose emotional reactivity to violent acts, they start to lose empathy which can stunt their social development.
Benefits of Swing Sets
Now that we’ve covered the pros and cons of gaming consoles, it’s time to compare them to the qualities of swing sets.
1. Health Advantages
We’ve discussed the health and wellness benefits of playsets countless times in our blog, but that’s because they are the best developmental tool for children disguised in play! When you invest in a swing set, you’re also investing in your child’s health.
From building physical and social development to confidence and creativity, playsets help support a healthier lifestyle when compared to gaming consoles.
2. Social Development
Whether playing at the park or in the backyard with a friend, a playset creates a safe space for children to learn how to play together. There are limited play features on every structure, so kids must learn patience and the importance of sharing.
If they don’t, they’ll quickly find out that not sharing can cause conflict and put a strain on their friendships. Therefore, playsets help support social development by teaching kids how to work as a team.
One of the beautiful things about playtime is the way it can encourage kids to be creative. Why does creativity matter? Because it challenges children to think in new ways and allows them to express themselves freely!
Swing Kingdom’s playsets are designed for discovery. Our creative and functional accessories help your kids escape the stress of everyday life by challenging them to use their imagination as they play.
4. Long-Term Use
We mentioned earlier that playsets are a one-time purchase, but that’s only true if you’re investing in one that’s built to withstand some serious play. Aside from adventure, durability and longevity are two factors that drive our manufacturing process at Swing Kingdom.
With a promise of 20-years warranty, your kids can enjoy a full childhood of making memories on their playset. And when it’s no longer of use to them, you might even be able to sell your playset to another family to get some return on your initial investment.
Above all, the timelessness of playsets vs. gaming consoles is a tough advantage to beat. There’s always going to be a faster or newer version of technology you kids want to upgrade to, but playsets are a classic activity.
5. Outdoor Experiences
Playsets are one of the easiest ways to get your children outside to play, and there are so many advantages of outdoor activities! For starters, it helps build their immune system to prevent sickness.
In addition, playing outdoors can also help reduce stress and anxiety, leading to a better nights’ sleep and overall improvements in well-being. For a full list of benefits of outdoor experiences, check out our blog, “Benefits of Outdoor Play for Childrens’ Health.”
Disadvantages of Swing Sets
To be fair, swing sets can also have some potential disadvantages in addition to their numerous advantages.
1. Upfront Costs / Decisions
Much like gaming consoles, playsets can be pricey. Their prices will depend on the size and the type of materials they’re made from.
When deciding on the type of playset to purchase, consider what makes the most sense for your family. For instance, a playset with the lower price tag might save you more upfront, but there’s a greater chance you’ll have to spend more effort and money to maintain it over the years.
Do you mind paying for repairs or covering frequent upkeep, or would you rather invest in a playset that’s more expensive, but requires little to no maintenance?
2. Space Requirements
If you live in the city or an apartment complex without a backyard, finding the space for a playset can be difficult — and in some cases, even impossible. Therefore, the size and spacial requirements of swing sets can be a major disadvantage for some families.
3. Lack of Interest in Other Activities
Spending too much time out on the playset can start to form an obsession with playing outdoors. There’s nothing inherently wrong with this, but it may cause them to neglect other hobbies and interests like reading or crafting.
It’s important to keep in mind that, like most things in life, playtime is a balancing act. Using the pros and cons of playsets vs. gaming consoles outlined above, we hope you feel empowered to make the purchase decision that is best suited for your family.
If you’re looking to bring a playset home, Swing Kingdom designs, sells, and delivers high-quality, engaging playsets to your backyard.