“Mom, can we go to the park?”
Playground equipment may look simple, but it provides many sensory, gross motor, and even fine motor benefits. Here are 7 fun, simple ways you can use the playground together with your child!
Have you tried the monkey bars recently? They aren't as easy as they look!
Not only does the task require upper body strength, but it also involves timing, sequencing, and coordination.
Swinging is one of the most basic, yet beneficial activities.
It provides vestibular (movement) sensory input, which contributes to overall posture, core muscle strength, and balance skills.
It also involves coordination, as children learn how to pump their legs and swing higher.
Like any new task, this takes time to learn, but the practice is beneficial in developing your child’s frustration tolerance.
Climbing is another wonderful activity for children of all ages. It provides proprioceptive sensory input, which helps a child understand the position of his body, relative to the environment.
Climbing may even help your child with his or her handwriting, as it increases hand and upper body strength.
This increased strength and endurance can lead to improved fine motor skills.
If your child is hesitant to engage in playground equipment, try to engage him in a play task. Be creative and capitalize on your child’s interests!
For example, if they enjoy superheroes, you might pretend you are specific superheroes and must save the world by navigating various obstacles. If your child likes animals, you could pretend you are certain animals going on an adventure.
If your child is hesitant about trying a new piece of equipment, try it yourself!
When kids are able to watch first, this builds their confidence and helps with motor planning (the process of conceiving, organizing, and carrying out a new or novel task).
If they continue to have difficulty, try to break the activity down into individual steps for them.
Not only does the playground provide opportunities for sensory-motor development, but it also facilitates social interaction.
There are many natural opportunities to practice things like greeting others, taking turns, sharing equipment, and working together.
Playgrounds are also a great way for you to interact and play with your kids. When was the last time you sat on a swing beside your child, walked across the stepping stones behind them, or played tag?
Spending this time, engaging in play with your child, is perhaps the greatest benefit playground equipment can offer.
You will create lasting memories with your child, and you might even improve your own motor skills while you're at it!
Want to learn more? Our family-friendly clinic includes a fun fine motor and handwriting center, indoor sensory gym, kitchen, garden and outdoor therapy space; all equipped and designed to help children grow and develop.