A custom playground – and playgrounds in general – are hugely important for children namely in that it is crucial for children to have the access and the ability to play. Play is instrumental in a number of things for young children, such as the development of both fine and gross motor skills. In fact, without play and the adequate physical activity, it has been found that these skills will still be lacking as the child grows up, and if they weren’t established by the young age of six, it is unlikely if they ever fully will be. This is why the first few years of a child’s life are so important. It’s all about brain plasticity, and play – on a custom playground or elsewhere – helps to form the brain pathways and connections that children need to make.
Access to a custom playground and playground equipment such as playground climbing walls can also be hugely beneficial for keeping children at a healthy weight. In a time when access to unhealthy foods is more convenient than ever, unhealthy eating patterns are developing even in the youngest of children. Thus, along with the fact that less than half of all American children between the ages of six and eleven get the recommended amount of physical activity (just sixty minutes per day of moderate exercise), it is no wonder that obesity rates even in young children are astronomically high. A custom playground could be the answer, as the activities that children naturally pursue when left to their own devices on a playground more often than not meet the daily requirements for moderate exercise. Access to a playground during the school day or day care day is even better, as it means that often overworked parents do not have to fit a playground trip or another form of exercise into their already busy day every single day. Though many parents very much enjoy taking their child (or children) to the nearest custom playground on the weekends, very few have enough energy for it at the end of a long work day (for those parents who are an active part of the workforce).
Recess – the brief intermission in the school day where children are allowed to play to their hearts’ content, typically around thirty minutes long – has long been a cornerstone of play. If you stop by any typical custom playground during the school day, you’d see children playing tag, children playing hide and go seek, children getting competitive over who can swing the highest. Playgrounds, particularly recently renovated and rebuilt playgrounds (on these newer playgrounds, children are as much as two thirds as likely to engage in active play), promote independence, physical activity (and thus physical health), and the development of creativity. The fact that all children who attend a school are given access to a safe and stimulating place to play is a wonderful thing. Unfortunately, less and less public (and private) schools are offering recess, with only just over seventy percent of schools in the United States incorporating recess into the schedules of their students.
For the good news – more and more playgrounds are being built around the United States, playgrounds ranging from playgrounds that are accessible to handicapped children to themed playgrounds in Texas. The city of Chicago alone has at least three hundred significant playgrounds, as well as a number of smaller local playgrounds. The suburbs of Chicago are likewise filled with places for children to play and get active.
There’s no doubt about it that regular play is important for children of all ages, sizes, and backgrounds. Regularly playing not only promotes physical health and reduces the risk of obesity and all its accompanied health problems, but also is necessary for the healthy brain development of any child. Thus, the building of a custom playground is more than just providing children with a place to play – it’s providing them with a place to grow.