Friday, August 7, 2015

Head to the Park for Gross Motor Fun

Playgrounds go with kids like roads go with cars — they were made for them! Just as with free play, playing on playgrounds is a lot more than rambunctious fun, though. Kids gain social skills through figuring out how to interact with and share space with other kids. They develop resilience through mastering new skills. Add a playground to kids’ play, and the benefits of play get even more physical. 
Just take a look around the typical playground for a fun way to help kids grow and develop through play:
  • Slide. Kids have to climb up to the slide, building coordination and developing strength in their arms and legs. Then they get increased vestibular involvement sliding down the slide.
  • Swings. Swinging enhances the vestibular system and builds core strength holding onto the swing. The swings help relax an overstimulated child since they have a calming effect.
  • Sand pit. Playing with sand helps with sensory integration and fine motor skills as kids dig and pile and grab the sand. It also improves balance when kids walk on the uneven terrain. Sand pits that have construction-style diggers help kids develop upper body strength and coordination while digging.
  • Monkey bars. Hanging from bars strengthens hands and fingers, which helps with handwriting skills. Any grasping activity is useful — from the pretend steering wheels atop some play structures to raising and lowering something on a rope.