Parks, from the border to border, are hugely important in the United States as well as far beyond it in many other developed countries as well. Parks often contain playgrounds in some area within their border, and these playgrounds are often essential to the healthy development of the brains of children. Some of these playgrounds are expansive and sprawling while other playgrounds will have a defined border. All are crucial, however, no matter the size or the number of pieces of equipment that they contain within border. After all, play is one of the best ways to promote healthy and full brain development in young children, as this is how young brains explore new things and actually learn the best.
Unfortunately, frequent active play is becoming less and less common, with more than half of all parents (two thirds, to be more exact) in the United States alone feeling some anxiety about how much time their children spend using electronic devices like tablets, phones, and televisions. They worry that their children are too attached to these devices and do not get enough physical play. And this worry is, unfortunately, well founded. It has been found that kids actually do spend less time on outdoor parents have by as much as half. While kids today will only play outside for around four hours each and every week, the parents of these kids played outside often more than eight hours during summer months and periods of warm weather when they were children. And while the vast majority of parents (just about eighty three percent, for those looking for more precise and exact data and numbers) also agree that it is crucial for their children to learn how to deal with and use technology in this, our technologically driven world, the vast majority (ninety percent, nine parents out of every ten that were surveyed) also think that their kids should be playing outside more than playing inside and on various electronic devices to entertain them instead.
And too many kids are not getting enough physical activity such as on a playground, of which typically contains equipment like a tube slide, swing mats, and playset border to keep kids as safe as possible so that they can explore without risk of serious injury past the skinned knee. Pour in place rubber can also help to keep kids safe as they play on equipment like the common plastic tire swing or even the commercial sandbox. In fact, only around one third of all children get the recommended amount of physical activity, meaning that an astonishing two thirds of all young children, a good deal more than half (or fifty percent, depending on how you think about it) are not getting the amount of play and physical activity that they should be. This can have a number of consequences on child development, from leading to increased levels of childhood obesity, which in and of itself will lead to a number of definable health problems in the future years of the child’s life, setting them out on an unhealthy course in life, but it can also even hamper important brain development, particularly when it comes to the development of gross motor skills. In fact, if physical play is not a regular part of a child’s life it is all too likely that this gross motor development won’t happen to the extent that it should. And if this does not happen before the child reaches the age of six, it is unlikely that it will ever fully happen at all, as the child’s brain begins to lose some of its early plasticity.
There is no doubt about it that play is important for children of all ages, particularly active play. And no matter whether that play happens on a playground with a defined border or in a more sprawling outdoor space, it’s just important that play, active play, gets to happen in the first place. This will not only help to promote a healthy physical lifestyle but will also be instrumental for promoting healthy brain development in children who are young.