Playgrounds are places that encourage children to socialise, play, reach NHS exercise targets, and spend time in nature away from screens. What you may not know, is that playgrounds are also phenomenal places to encourage children to learn. With the right design, playgrounds can cleverly integrate fun and learning with the aesthetic, layout, accessories and main outdoor play equipment chosen.
“Their minds were not built to sit and be taught. They were built to explore, play and learn.” – Layla Gordon Lu
If you’re in a position to improve a playground space that is on public land, in a school or nursery, it’s really important to keep learning in mind as you choose the various elements of the space. Below, we have some handy tips to get you started, so that you have some really helpful ideas as to how you can create the perfect playground for children to let loose, have fun and learn:
Fun & Learning From The Ground Up
One of the easiest ways to enhance the learning opportunities of a playground is to think carefully about the floor. It sounds strange, but actually, there is so much you can do to the ground of a play area that enhances learning opportunities, before equipment is even considered.
Bright colours, for example, with Vivid Grass Safer Surfacing, is highly appealing to children and encourages them to play and to differentiate between different parts of the playground. Colour is one of the earliest ways kids learn to sort things, and the natural way their vision develops means they are more likely to find brighter colours appealing, compared to muted colours and toned down shades.
Playground markings are another great way to encourage kids to learn in their outdoor space. You can have all kinds of games laid with thermoplastic markings, like hopscotch and snakes and ladders. Alphabets, imaginative pictures, mazes and even court markings can be laid, all encouraging kids to engage, play the games they see, and to make up their own games too.
Choosing Equipment For Learning & Fun
All well-made playground equipment is fun for kids to some degree. It all helps them develop gross and fine motor skills as they jump, climb, grip, swing, run, balance and crouch. As long as you source it from a trusted and experienced playground equipment company, you’ll find that the majority of equipment is helping children build social skills, physical strength, stamina, coordination and more everytime they use it.
What many schools and groups like to do is ensure there is a good mixture of equipment so that there is a wide range of benefits within the playground space. A swing set, climbing frame, a bridge, a slide – a good combination of different equipment so that the majority of different skills and learning opportunities are covered.
Centering The Sensory
For younger children in particular, sensory equipment is an excellent addition to a playground for learning. Mark making and artistic pieces like white boards, chalkboards, building blocks, picture makers and clear drawing panels, can allow children to express themselves as they learn to cope with emotions and develop communication skills.
Sensory equipment like mud kitchens and sand pits can be another great way to encourage sensory learning. They encourage imaginative play, which is known to lower anxiety, improve academic skills, increase emotional competence and improve concentration and focus.
Musical play equipment designed for the outdoors can also be a huge learning opportunity for kids. They can learn numeracy, literacy, and learn to express themselves with musical equipment, as well as enjoying socialising with other children whilst using the instruments, and learning communication and teamwork skills as they play together too.
Nurturing nature in the playground is a wonderful way to encourage kids to learn about the world, and to help them learn about concepts like science. Planters, wormeries, bug hotels and sunflower measuring panels can all engage children with nature and give them an insight into all kinds of different natural processes to the benefit of their emotional wellbeing, awareness of the world, and academic subject learning.
“Play is the foundation of learning, creativity, self-expression, and constructive problem-solving. It’s how children wrestle with life to make it meaningful.” – Susan Linn
If you would love a professional insight as to how you can create more learning opportunities in your playground, why not speak to experts. They can help you design a beautiful, safe, durable playground that is designed with learning in mind. With the right components, and the help of a trusted playground equipment company, the children in your care can enjoy a wide range of learning opportunities as they have fun and play in the fresh air everyday.
Thank you for writing such a nice blog with useful information. I hope you will share some more info.