There’s no greater health and wellness activity for kids than simply getting outside and being in nature. But in the digital age of iPads and smart TVs, getting your kids off the couch can be a challenge. What better way to get them outdoors than investing in a playset?
Aside from strengthening their physical abilities, playsets can promote social and emotional skills to boost your child’s health and wellness without them even realizing it.
Health Benefits of Outdoor Play
Play is an essential part of child development. Designating time for outdoor play is just as important, especially for young children. The benefits of outdoor play in the early years can promote your child’s physical, social, and emotional development in several ways.
Spending time outside increases your child’s physical activity. Aside from promoting healthy habits from an early age, why is physical activity important for kids? Encouraging your children to engage in physical activities helps build their bone and muscle strength.
The secret to strong bones is calcium, which your body forms with the help of Vitamin D. Though it can be attained through your diet or supplements, exposure to sunlight is the greatest source of Vitamin D. As your children spend time outdoors, their bodies will naturally absorb Vitamin D, boosting their overall bone strength.
Playing outdoors can also build muscle strength and fine motor skills. When they play outdoors, they run into fewer restrictions and have more open space to explore. With more space to run free, children can stay physically active in a way that can’t be achieved indoors.
On top of that, outdoor activities like running, jumping, climbing, throwing, etc. can help strengthen gross and fine motor skills. Pumping of the arms and legs will activate those larger muscles, whereas learning how to throw or catch a ball will exercise those smaller muscles.
In both cases, the repetitive motion of these muscles will increase their strength and muscle coordination.
Aside from physical, playing outdoors can serve as a social health and wellness activity for kids. As adults, we recognize the need for strong social skills, but children who have not yet learned how to get along with others need social interaction in order to understand why they’re important.
Playing outdoor games at school or at the park can give children an opportunity to interact with others their age. Through these interactions, they start to understand the qualities of good and bad communication and how that impacts their ability to make friends.
If they want to play with other children, they must learn how to communicate and communicate fairly. Taking turns, listening to the requests of others, and asking kindly for what they want are all social concepts that children can practice while playing outside.
Social and emotional development go hand-in-hand; as children develop socially, they also develop emotionally. Self-esteem is built through positive interactions with others. When they feel like they can successfully relate to or get along with other children, they feel more confident in themselves.
Also through communication, children can start to understand empathy. If they are on the receiving end of bad communication, your child might experience the frustration that comes with their requests not being met.
Experiencing that disappointment firsthand can be a great teaching moment; if they know how it feels to be left out or disappointed, they should make sure their behavior and actions don’t make other children feel that way either.
On the other hand, when they have a positive interaction with another child, they can experience the satisfaction that comes with lending a hand. Learning this emotion can pave the way for children to grow into helpful, empathetic adults.
Another emotional benefit of outdoor play is stress relief. Studies show that getting outside and being in nature reduces cortisol (the stress hormone) levels, relieving feelings of stress, depression, and anxiety — and yes, young children do experience those emotions.
In addition, spending time outdoors can produce feelings of “being away.” Following the logic in that theory, playing outdoors can actually be a mini vacation for your child’s mind!
5 Reasons why Playsets are the Perfect Health and Wellness Activity for Kids
There’s nothing greater than watching the joy that your children experience when playing on a swing set. That coupled with their health and wellness benefits makes playsets a valuable investment for your family.
1. Strengthens Muscles & Fine Motor Skills
Muscle strength is developed through the repetitive pumping of the arms and legs. Playset features like swings or monkey bars can stimulate those muscles giving your children an efficient workout disguised in play.
Other playset features like rock walls, cargo nets, or trapeze bars can help improve their fine motor skills. In order to use these features without falling, they’ll have to learn how to activate the smaller muscles in their hands to grip the rope or bars with their fingers.
2. Improves Sleep
The physical exertion of playing on their playset can help your child sleep better at night. Playing on a swing set is an energizing activity. When that physical exertion is followed by a relaxing activity like taking a shower or reading a book, the body releases some of that energy giving them a better night’s sleep.
Additionally, the act of swinging is proven to increase the quality of sleep. The back-and-forth motion of swinging is therapeutic — it’s why parents rock their babies in rocking chairs or adults like to sway on a hammock.
The Brain Balance Achievement Centers explains that our vestibular system is activated as we swing back and forth. When this system is active, it improves balance and the ability to react to unexpected stimuli. When it’s not, we can become disoriented, making it harder to relax.
Encouraging your child to get outside and swing on the playset in the evenings can help minimize sensory distractions, helping them fall asleep easier and stay asleep longer.
3. Builds Relationships
In a shared space like a school or park commercial playground, children are forced to interact with each other. If more than one child wants to use a play feature that is only made for one, they must learn how to take turns.
During that interaction, they practice communicating respectfully and fairly with each other, which sets them up for positive relationship-building in the future.
4. Relieves Stress
In general, getting outside to run off some energy is a great way to relieve stress. A playset is the easiest way to get them out of the house to play. If you invest in a custom playset designed uniquely for their interests, your children will want to spend hours playing.
Over time, your children can build a resistance to stress by making playing on their swing set a daily activity.
5. Inspires Independence & Creativity
As your children learn how to move around on their playset without your help, they start to develop a sense of independence. For impressionable minds, this realization is huge. When they learn they have the ability to navigate the world on their own, their confidence will develop.
At the same time, playing on their playset gives them the opportunity to be creative. Whether they’re playing by themselves, with other children, or with you, a playset gives them the chance to imagine themselves in a different world.
Maybe they’re a pirate navigating the seas at the ship’s wheel, or they’re an astronomer reading the constellations through their telescope. These are just a few of the scenarios your children can play out when you accessorize your Swing Kingdom playset.
Creating positive physical, social, and emotional experiences through health and wellness activities for kids will help promote healthy habits as they grow into adulthood. When you consider the many benefits of playing on swing sets, you’ll discover how they assist in your child’s development in a way that they actually enjoy.