The Benefits of Playgrounds for Young Children in Daycare
Adding either an indoor or outdoor playground at your daycare facility is a great way to continue to nurture the development of the young children you care for because it allows them to engage in free play.
The Benefits of Play in Daycare
Daycare can be a wonderful place for young children to get the chance to interact with other kids as well as be able to play, which is so important for a child’s overall development.
According to a report prepared for the Shasta Children and Families First Commission, due to the clear link between play and brain development, motor-skills development, and social development, play essentially fuels all learning.
So, what exactly is play? It’s quite simple really. Play is the act of having fun and engaging in activity. Play can be structured (organized sports and games) or unstructured (free play). Kids can engage in free play by running, jumping, dancing, playing pretend, building with blocks, singing, etc. As a daycare provider, you want to provide as many opportunities for free play as possible because it can help the kids in your care develop their:
- Cognitive abilities
- Problem-solving skills
- Motor skills
- Fine motor skills
- Reasoning skills
- Discovery skills
- Social skills
- Language skills
Free play is vital for children and necessary for them to develop the skills they need to help them reach important developmental milestones.
The Benefits of Playing on Playgrounds at Daycare
One way daycare providers can help their kids engage in free play is by installing either an indoor or outdoor playground onsite. According to the report developed for the Shasta Children and Families First Commission, playgrounds provide crucial and vital opportunities for children to engage in the act of free play.
Playing on playgrounds offers young children several benefits. Here are a few:
1. Physical Benefits
Having a playground at your daycare facility is actually a win-win because it will not only allow for your kids to engage in free play, but it will also provide an opportunity for kids to engage in physical play as well, which is really important for their health. Plus, it’s recommended that toddlers get at least 60 minutes of unstructured physical play each day. A playground allows for children to move around and get that recommended physical activity.
The physical benefits of playing on playgrounds include:
- Improved balance and flexibility
- Muscle development
- Practice of movement control
- Gross motor skills development, like hand-eye coordination and dexterity
- Improved physical health
2. Social Benefits
Playing on a playground also gives children at your daycare facility the chance to improve their social skills. They will get the chance to interact with their peers and practice important social skills, like taking turns on the slide.
3. Mental Benefits
Playgrounds also help young children in their mental development. Playgrounds offer children the chance to work on their gross motor skills as well as often provide a variety of sensory experiences. According to a physiologist by the name of Nakieta Lankster, “playgrounds give children what they need to maximize their brain development by allowing their brains to form more and stronger neural connections, promoting optimal mental development.”
Also, according to Little Tikes, when children get the opportunity to play on an actual playground, they are allowed to explore their own natural tendencies as well as awaken their creative instincts because they are allowed to choose how they want to play as well as the different playground equipment they want to play on.
4. Self-Esteem Benefits
Playgrounds also provide a setting in which children can enhance their self-esteem because it gives them the chance to try new things in a safe environment. A playground also allows your kiddos at daycare the opportunity to connect with other children and to form bonds. And, gaining the courage to go down the big slide can also boost a child’s self-confidence.
How Playgrounds Can Benefit Your Daycare Facility
Having either an indoor or outdoor playground at your daycare gives you a competitive edge over other daycares in your area. At the end of the day, parents are going to choose to send their kids to a daycare that provides opportunities for kiddos to learn and grow. Having a playground onsite shows parents that you truly care about their children and want to nurture their overall development.
Daycare Playground Trends
So, what makes a good daycare playground? Right now, there are three daycare playground trends to keep in mind when you consider installing a playground at your facility.
One big and important trend in playgrounds right now is designing them with accessibility in mind, so kids of all needs and abilities can play. A daycare playground should be inclusive and meet ADA standards.
2. Safe surfaces
When installing a playground at your daycare, you really want to consider installing a surface material that’s soft and thick enough to impact falls. Grass and concrete just aren’t safe. Consider using soft items, like:
- EWF (Engineering Wood-Fiber Mulch)
- Play safe rubber mulch
- Rubber tiles
- Pour in place surfacing
3. Multi-sensory equipment
Including equipment that will offer a variety of sensory experiences is a big daycare playground trend. Consider installing things like:
- Sensory play panels
- Outdoor musical instruments, like chimes and drums
- Sand boxes
Southeast Outdoor Solutions Can Customize Projects to Your Daycare’s Needs
We truly believe that there is nothing more important than providing the children in your care with a safe environment to play. We can install safe, fun, and engaging indoor or outdoor playground equipment for your daycare facility, and we have tons of interactive play components for kiddos as young as 6 months old. Whether you are looking to install a new playground, or add on to what you already have, we can help with the planning and designing based on your needs, space, and budget. Give us a call at (770) 709-5605 or click here to fill out our contact form.