Playing is essential to children’s development and the growth of a child’s mind. Here are all the benefits of play – and how to turn your garden into the perfect playground this summer.
Playing is essential to development; while toys and the games have shifted and changed over the years, the practice of playing has always been vital to the growth of a child’s mind – and, with screens more prevalent in our childrens’ minds than ever before, focussing on playing, particularly outside, is more important than ever.
5 Benefits of Playing for Children’s Mental & Physical Health
In recent years the science behind play shows a range of benefits as we discover the extent toys and games can influence a child’s early development. Here are five of the benefits of playing to boost children’s mental and physical health.
Playing Encourages Children to Learn About the World
Playing helps a child to explore their surroundings and satisfy their curiosity. In these early stages of life, children are discovering the world around them, and constantly testing boundaries.
Play allows children to discover and explore the world safely. Through games and open-ended play, they get to familiarise themselves with social rules, and situations, without being exposed to any real-life threats.
It Develops & Strengthens Relationships
The ability to learn to entertain themselves is a crucial step in a child’s journey, by playing with parents, siblings, or other children, they learn crucial survival and behavioural skills, such as:
Cooperation and compromise – playing with others allow children to learn about fairness, balance, and compromise. This makes a game that is enjoyable for both parties. It teaches essential communication skills and tells other people they play with playing know how to handle them what they need, and what they like.
Healthy emotional attachment – playing is the main way through which a child will develop relationships with their peers outside of their immediate family circle. In time, childhood playmates grow into an emotional safety net that will provide the child with reassurance and support. Life is about making new relationships and learning how to communicate with new people.
Navigating conflict – as any parent knows, no children’s game will be without its share of little arguments or tantrums, and while some parents may wish to shield their little ones, this is a huge benefit for the child’s development. Conflict during a play session prepares the child for later in life, when he will come across social problems and will need to handle them, to maintain relationships.
Children Discover New Areas of Interest
It’s important to also recognise that playing allows children to explore new subjects, and areas of interest, these makeup passions and may even pave the way to a future career.
STEM-based toys aims to expose the developing mind to a range of science, technology, engineering, and math skills that will help a child learn like Geomag’s hands-on toys that provide the child with a first dive into the fascinating world of science and technology and activate certain parts of the brain including problem-solving, logic, and critical thinking.
These kinds of toys also stimulate a child’s imagination and creativity. Invisible structures, which are quite popular in STEM-based toy lines, ask a child to see more where there isn’t, and to mentally fill in the blanks left by the toys themselves.
Play Offers Positive Reinforcement & Boosts Confidence
When a child doesn’t know how to handle a situation, they will retreat inward, and won’t be able to assert their needs or interact with others. Playing teaches a child resilience, and confidence because during any play session, a child will come across various micro-situations that will activate their problem-solving skills and assertiveness.
Play Releases Energy
Play and games allow children to expend energy and improve their motor skills. Naturally, this also leads to a better, more satisfying sleep schedule, maintaining a healthy weight, and strong, well-developed bones and muscles.
A child with pent-up energy risks becoming anxious and restless. In turn, this can show up as aggressiveness or social anxiety, which can be detrimental in the long run. For small children, play is as much a physical need, as it is an emotional and mental one. Children who have limited playtimes may experience development problems, including physical and mental health issues. By enjoying playtime, the positive rewards both mentally and physically can have long-lasting effects.
For more information on the benefits of play visit geomagworld.com.
The Best Garden Games to Play This Summer
As the days get longer and the sun heats up, why not make your garden the perfect playground for your kids to socialise and safely play? Turning the garden into a dream playground will not only get the kids outside and moving but it will keep them entertained whilst in the safety of your own home space. Get creative, have fun and, of course, set up a little space for the adults to enjoy as well!
Here are five top tips to turn your garden into a playground and keep your little ones entertained for hours with a host of fun garden activities.
Jump for Joy on a Trampoline
What better way to have fun and keep the children active than on a trampoline? Sunken trampolines are all the rage and come in many different sizes, so even if you don’t have a huge garden that’s no problem.
Built in the ground, these trampolines are much safer than a free standing one, so you can worry less while you’re sitting on Zoom meetings!
Bring the Beach Home
Why not bring the beach home by building a sand pit for kids of all ages to enjoy? It can be as simple as sourcing some wooden sleepers to form the pit; using some poles and a sheet to supply some shade; and decorating with bunting or flags.
You could bury some pirate treasure for the kids to find or have a sandcastle building competition – there are hours of fun to be had. When you want to enjoy the garden for yourself or guests and not have a sandpit on show, get a custom built cover and turn it into a table or a sunbathing deck!
Climb Everest in Your Garden
Many of us have tried our hand at some form of DIY during the pandemic and pallet furniture was a popular choice. There are many uses for pallets which can be sourced cheaply (if not for free) and a climbing wall could be one of them! You will need some climbing wall holds and to ensure the pallets are sanded well to avoid any splinters and tears.
Add logs in varying heights as stepping stones up to the wall for an added challenge and let the little ones pretend that they are climbing mountains!
Make Your Garden a Fun Hub of Creativity
If you’re lacking in space and don’t want to clutter the garden, make use of your garden walls by installing a chalk board for the children to get creative with – a simple garden addition which could also be fun for any family games or when having guests round.
If you have younger children, you could also build a ‘water wall’ using colourful tubes and bottles for them to pour water through and watch it fall into buckets at the bottom. You’ll be surprised at how long this will keep the children entertained for!
Set up a Jungle Fun Run
No playground is complete without a swing or a slide! If you’re lucky enough to have a big garden, create a grass covered mound with an inbuilt slide as a feature, and while you’re at it why not add a tunnel for extra fun (and hiding places!)?
If you can, try turning your swings into a jungle gym by hanging different length ropes so the kids can swing and slide their way through the garden.