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How Does Creative Playground Equipment Benefit Children’s Development?

January 4, 2019

Creative play comes naturally to children, who love the chance to engage their imaginations through make believe. Creative playground equipment is designed to encourage this type of play, which is essential to kids’ development in a number of ways.

In addition to engaging children’s imaginations, park playground equipment also offers numerous other advantages, helping kids’ development in a variety of ways.

Physical benefits

As many parents will attest to, outdoor play allows kids to burn through their excess energy, and as well as helping tired parents, this type of physical play is also highly beneficial for children too.

Activities that include physical movement help children to develop their various motor skills, with creative playground equipment asking kids to move in different ways. This allows for the development of gross motor skills, which require whole body movement, such as muscle strength, endurance, balance, coordination and postural control.

Park playground equipment also helps with the development of fine motor skills – the coordination of small muscles that allows us to complete such dexterous tasks with our hands and fingers, while also increasing hand-eye coordination.

These various motor skills are all essential parts of a child’s development, and creative outdoor play allows kids to experiment with, and learn the capabilities of their bodies.

Outdoor play also encourages a healthy lifestyle through regular, fun exercise. Making sure kids experience plenty of physical activity not only helps them to stay fit and healthy when they are young, but can also promote a fit and active lifestyle when they are older too.

Mental development

In addition to the various physical benefits associated with outdoor play, creative playground equipment can also help to stimulate mental development in a number of ways too.

First and foremost, when children step out of the confines of their home environments, they are able to open up their imagination and creativity. Park playground equipment offers varied settings for make believe and role play, with kids able to explore and develop their creativity, which in turns helps them learn to express themselves.

Similarly, by providing a playground with various types of outdoor playground equipment, textures and experiences, it also encourages creative problem solving. Children quickly learn and discover how best to interact with different types of equipment, and learn adaptability and how to solve problems they face.

All types of outdoor spaces provide children with a wide range of learning opportunities, thanks to the different experiences kids encounter within natural environments. Outdoor environments are far more varied than any indoor space, and playgrounds allow children to increase their experience of the world around them in a safe way.

Studies have also shown that creative play can help to develop memory function, and help to ease feelings like anxiety and frustration in children. Through these various mental developments, children also gain increased self-confidence and self-esteem as they learn to interact in different ways with creative playground equipment.

Sensory development

Modern playgrounds that are equipped with a range of equipment often look to combine different textures, materials, shapes, colours (and often sounds) to help stimulate children’s various senses.

Numerous research projects have suggested that young children in particular enjoy sensory experiences, allowing them to discover the world around them through touch, sight, hearing, and smell.

Utilising a range of different textures and materials can help to engage children’s senses, which aids them in their development. Through these different experiences, children can learn vitally important sensory attributes such as hot and cold, dry and wet, and so on.

As well as engaging kids in their environment and encourage development, sensory play also helps to build nerve connections within the developing brain. This in turn increases a child’s ability to take on more complex learning tasks, and increases their cognitive development.

Social skills

Finally, creative playground equipment also offers children a wide range of social skills that are essential in preparing them for interacting with others throughout their lives. Critically, by engaging with other children in a playground environment, kids quickly learn how to cooperate and get along with people from different backgrounds.

In busy community playgrounds that attract a lot of families (such as in large public parks), playgrounds are a great way to introduce children to people of different races, religions, and cultural backgrounds. This helps children to understand and embrace difference in people, and help them make new friends too.

Playgrounds of all types are also a great way for children to mix with kids of differing abilities, which can help kids to learn tolerance, understanding and empathy. Creative playgrounds in particular can also improve the self-esteem of children with disabilities, while offering a place to meet other kids, make friends and enjoy the various sensory challenges available.

Creative playground equipment also presents different sets of problems for children to try, meaning that not only do children have to communicate with each other, but they also have to learn to solve problems with the help of others. As such, creative playgrounds can be highly beneficial in stimulating language development in children, as they learn to work with others in new and challenging environments.

Most importantly, however, playgrounds are a great way to make friends, and a fun and varied place for kids to learn and play with each other.

While all playgrounds have a host of benefits for kids, parents, and communities, creative playground equipment is essential to children’s development on a range of fronts. By encouraging mental, emotional, physical and sensory development, creative playground equipment plays a vital role for children as they discover the world, as well as their own capabilities.


Written by: Andy Prentice
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