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The Benefits of Bringing Your Child To An Indoor Playground
If you have small children, you already know how wonderful playgrounds can be for kids. Playgrounds offer children their own personal world of adventure, where they can socialize and interact with other children as they run around and explore their fun surroundings. As fall quickly approaches us in Washington, your child’s outdoor time will start to lessen as the temperature begins to drop. This is where indoor playgrounds can provide your child with the stimulation they need in a safe and comfortable indoor play place. In this blog, we’ll discuss the many benefits of bringing your child to an indoor playground.
If you live near Bellevue or Lynnwood and you’re looking for a fun activity for your little ones during the week or on the weekend, be sure to stop by Funtastic Playtorium. Our indoor playground is the perfect space for your child to play and socialize with other kids his or her age. As one of the largest indoor playgrounds in Washington, we’re proud to be a local favorite for parents and kids alike. Check out our gallery online or contact us today to learn more!
The Benefits Of An Indoor Playground For Your Child
Many children love indoor playgrounds because they provide a safe and secure place to learn and explore. From big slides to ball pits and jungle gyms, indoor playgrounds offer a plethora of fun and educational activities to keep your child entertained and happy. Let’s take a look at some of the biggest benefits of bringing your child to an indoor playground below.
Physical Strength And Health
As you may already know, childhood obesity is quickly becoming a global health problem across children of all ages. Since most kids these days are glued to electronics and unhealthy processed foods, it’s easy to see how these sedentary lifestyles offer little to no physical benefits. When you take your child’s iPad away and bring them to a kids indoor playground, they will immediately feel the urge to run, jump, climb, swing, and explore.
Socialization And Communication Skills
If your little one is too young for school, you may be wondering how to socialize them during the cold winter months. One of the main benefits of an indoor playground are the social benefits your child will receive. When you bring your little one to Funtastic Playtorium, they’ll have the opportunity to meet our children, where they can work on their social skills and start to build confidence.
Coordination And Balance
Indoor playgrounds offer a variety of obstacles and puzzles for your child. From climbing up slides to balancing on soft cushions, your child will be exposed to several different heart-healthy and muscle-building exercises. Indoor play places allow your child to work on their strength, flexibility, and gross motor skills, helping them develop into strong and healthy toddlers.
Creativity And Imagination
When you take your child to an indoor playground, they will be able to let their imagination run wild in a safe and secure space. While characters and plots may seem silly to adults, children love to pretend that they are in imaginative scenarios when they visit an indoor play place. Whether they’re running from the bad guys or trying to save a damsel in distress, your child’s creativity and imagination will benefit from bringing them to an indoor playground.
As you can see, there are many benefits to bringing your child to an indoor play place. If you live in Washington and you’re looking for an indoor playground to bring your child to, be sure to visit Funtastic Playtorium. We offer two convenient locations in Bellevue and Lynnwood, and we would love to meet your little one!
Playgrounds are places where children’s play can take off and flourish. Good outdoor playground is large enough and designed in such a way that children’s play can come to full expression, where children can make a mess, run, jump and hide, where they can shout, whistle and explore the natural world. A variety of factors determine the quality of a playground for young children from infants to eight-year-olds. These include design of the play area, safety issues, play equipment, accessibility, and adult supervision. Particular emphasis should be placed on how playgrounds must encourage all forms of play. There is a critical need to develop a disposition for outdoor physical activities in our young children. Outdoor play should not become too academic and too teacher controlled.
Purpose of Outdoor Play
There are two fundamental reasons why outdoor play is critical for young children in our early childhood programs and schools. First, many of the developmental tasks that children must achieve—exploring, risk-taking, fine and gross motor development and the absorption of vast amounts of basic knowledge—can be most effectively learned through outdoor play. Second, our culture is taking outdoor play away from young children through excessive TV and computer use, unsafe neighborhoods, busy and tired parents, educational accountability, elimination of school recess, and academic standards that push more and more developmentally inappropriate academics into our early childhood programs, thus taking time away from play. The following sections (based on Wardle, 1996-2003) describe the main reasons why outdoor play is critical for the healthy development of young children.
Children need to develop large motor and small motor skills and cardiovascular endurance. Gallahue (1993) provides a comprehensive discussion of the motor development and movement skill acquisition of young children, which must be encouraged in outdoor playground. Extensive physical activity is also needed to address a growing problem of obesity in American children.
Enjoyment of the Outdoors
Outdoor play is one of the things that characterize childhood. And as Lord Nuffield once said, the best preparation for adulthood is to have a full and enjoyable childhood. Thus childhood must include outdoor play. Children need opportunities to explore, experiment, manipulate, reconfigure, expand, influence, change, marvel, discover, practice, dam up, push their limits, yell, sing, and create. Some of our favorite childhood memories are outdoor activities. This is no accident.
Learning about the World
Outdoor play enables young children to learn lots and lots and lots of things about the world. How does ice feel and sound? Can sticks stand up in sand? How do plants grow? How does mud feel? Why do we slide down instead of up? How do I make my tricycle go faster? How does the overhang of the building create cool shade from the sun? What does a tomato smell and taste like? What does a chrysalis change into? Do butterflies have to learn to fly? Much of what a child learns outside can be learned in a variety of other ways, but learning it outside is particularly effective—and certainly more fun! In the outside playground children can learn math, science, ecology, gardening, ornithology, construction, farming, vocabulary, the seasons, the various times of the day, and all about the local weather. Not only do children learn lots of basic and fundamental information about how the world works in a very effective manner, they are more likely to remember what they learned because it was concrete and personally meaningful (Ormrod, 1997).
Learning about Self and the Environment
To learn about their own physical and emotional capabilities, children must push their limits. How high can I swing? Do I dare go down the slide? How high can I climb? Can I go down the slide headfirst? To learn about the physical world, the child must experiment with the physical world. Can I slide on the sand? Can I roll on grass? What happens when I throw a piece of wood into the pond? Is cement hard or soft to fall on? An essential task of development is appreciating how we fit into the natural order of things—animals, plants, the weather, and so on. To what extent does nature care for us by providing water, shade, soft surfaces, and sweet-smelling flowers? And to what extent does it present problems, such as hard surfaces, the hot sun, and thorns on bushes? We can discover this relationship with the natural world only by experiencing it as we grow up, develop, and interact with the natural environment.
The Surplus-Energy Theory
The surplus-energy theory of play hypothesizes that play allows people to release pent-up energy that has collected over time. Many teachers and administrators believe that after intense (and often inactive) academic classroom pursuits, children need to “let off steam.” To some extent, educators also believe that outdoor play enables children to “recharge their batteries,” to reinvigorate themselves by engaging in a very different activity from their classroom experience. This recreation theory of play enables children to get ready to return to the important work of academic learning. These theories view outdoor play as an essential component to academic learning, not as an important activity in its own right.
Everyone who works with young children in early childhood programs and schools knows how quickly bacteria and viruses spread in these environments. One way to reduce the spread of infection is through lots and lots of fresh air. Outdoor play enables the infectious agents to spread out and be dissipated; it also enables children to get fresh air and exercise and be less constrained than they are in the classroom (Aronson, 2002).
Outdoor play also enables children to enjoy the natural environment and learn to seek out exercise, fresh air, and activity. There is something fundamentally healthy about using the outdoors. Thus outdoor play develops disposition for the outdoors, for physical activity, and for care of the environment. Children who engage in lots of physical activities at school tend to engage in more energetic activities at home, while children who have childcare and school experiences that lack active physical activity, engage in more sedentary behaviors at home, such as watching TV and computer use (Dale, Corbin, & Dale, 2000). Children who learn to enjoy the outdoors have a much higher likelihood of becoming adults who enjoy hiking, gardening, jogging, bicycling, mountain climbing, or other outdoor endeavors. This is critical as obesity becomes an ever-greater national concern and as we must all learn to care for and protect the environment.
Allowing Children to Be Children
Using open space to fulfill basic childhood needs—jumping, running, climbing, swinging, racing, yelling, rolling, hiding, and making a big mess—is what childhood is all about! For a variety of obvious reasons many of these things cannot occur indoors. Yet children must have these important experiences. Today children’s lives are more and more contained and controlled by small apartments; high-stakes academic instruction; schedules; tense, tired, and overworked parents; and by fewer opportunities to be children. Outdoor environments fulfill children’s basic needs for freedom, adventure, experimentation, risk-taking, and just being children (Greenman, 1993).
Children need the opportunity to explore the unknown, the unpredictable, and the adventurous. They also need to be able to wonder at nature, from the worm gliding through the newly turned dirt in the garden to the monarch butterfly emerging out of the chrysalis and gracefully fluttering away in the summer breeze.