Five Skills Children Develop Through Play
Parents love seeing their children learn and master new skills. Some of these skills are developed around the home, like cleaning up, using utensils, and drawing. Other skills, such as physical skills, are developed outside of the home. This is where indoor playgrounds come in. Not only is an indoor playground a fun place for a child to blow off steam, but it can also help a child reach important developmental milestones by doing nothing more than playing. In fact, experts have found that play contributes to the physical development of the brain. Here are five examples of skills that can be developed through play:
An Indoor Playground Develops Physical Skills
Physical skills, such as being able to climb, ascend and descend stairs, manipulate objects, and catch and throw balls, can be learned through play. For example, an indoor playground with nets, ladders, and vertical tubes allows children to practice climbing. Children unknowingly practice ascending stairs every time they climb indoor playground equipment to go down a slide. An indoor playground with a ball pit helps children develop skills including picking up, throwing, and catching balls. In short, a custom indoor playground for kids can be designed with components selected to develop specific physical skills. Moreover, encouraging physical play can create a lifelong love of physical activity. Studies show that children and adolescents who are physically active are more likely to remain physically active throughout their lifetimes than those who are physically inactive.
An Indoor Playground Develops Cognitive Skills
A kids’ indoor play structure may be thought of like a giant, interactive puzzle. Children using the indoor playground must figure out a sequence of actions to achieve a particular goal. For example, to access a particular feature, such as a slide, the child may need to climb stairs, cross a bridge, and pass through a tube. While observing how the indoor playground equipment is set up and planning how to reach a destination may seem like a natural and logical process for an adult, young children are still figuring out how to figure things out. This cognitive development includes learning to imitate others, test solutions through trial and error, and recall successful solutions. Being in an interactive environment like an indoor playground encourages children to develop these skills.
An Indoor Playground Develops Social Skills
Play provides even more developmental opportunities when there are other children to play with. Social skills, such as sharing, cooperating, and taking turns, are learned by playing with other children. Interacting with other children also encourages empathy, the ability of the child to put themselves in another child’s shoes. Interacting with other children in an indoor playground also supports the development of communication skills, such as giving and listening to instructions and, for good or bad, tattling on other children when the rules are not being followed.
An Indoor Playground Develops Emotional Skills
A large environment allows children to develop a sense of independence. An indoor playground, for example, allows a child to play away from their parents while remaining in a contained space. Indoor playgrounds and other stimulating environments also allow children to practice regulating their emotions when facing stressful situations, such as not getting their way, without throwing a tantrum.
An Indoor Playground Develops Imagination
Studies show that children need to engage in pretend games and imaginative play to develop a “theory of the mind” in which the child understands that their thoughts are different from the thoughts of other children and that the child’s perspective is not the only perspective. Interestingly, when a child uses their imagination to create make-believe roles and situations, they simultaneously practice many other skills including empathy, emotional regulation, communication, problem-solving, independence, and cooperation.
Childhood development is an ongoing process that includes many interactions and learning opportunities. Play, such as on an indoor playground, creates opportunities for the development of physical, emotional, cognitive, problem-solving, and emotional skills.