Archive for July, 2011

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How I Found the Playground (and Why You Should Too)

I cried at my daughter’s dance recital, but not for the reason that you might think. Yes, she looked adorable, and yes, I realized that she was growing up so fast. But I cried because I realized that I had spent hundreds of dollars on classes that culminated in this moment—and I was having a better time than she was. She didn’t look unhappy, necessarily. She just looked bored. I had envisioned that dance class would build her confidence, develop her ability to interact with a group and maybe improve her impulse control. When it did not appear to be having a huge impact in any of those areas, I decided to simply hope that she would have a good time. But clearly, this was not her idea of a good time. Since that disastrous dance experience, I’ve done some research and learned a few things. Turns out, the experts advise something very different to build confidence, develop self control and enhance development in a host of other areas—and it doesn’t cost a thing.  They say that I should let her play. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, unstructured play is essential to child development. It’s how children learn to interact, solve ... Read more

Playgrounds Provide Myriad Developmental Benefits for Children

Although a school playground may just seem like fun, an array of benefits come from children spending time with other kids using playground equipment. The positive effects of a school or park playground go far beyond the obvious ones, like physical exercise. Playgrounds can actually provide essential experiences and development for children in areas as diverse as social skills, creativity, problem solving, reasoning and more. The benefits that a simple trip to the playground can provide are often more profound and far-reaching than those that even the most sophisticated modern teaching-based technologies can provide. Understanding What Play is In order to decipher what benefits playgrounds can provide for children, it’s helpful to first understand exactly what play is and how it helps children develop. Play allows kids to learn a range of skills, including: coordination and motor skills, cognitive skills, social acumen, language and more. Doctors, scientists from psychologists to biologists, and educators have all conducted research that proves this critical fact: Without being able to play, children may develop the aforementioned skills at a severely stunted rate. Just like eating and sleeping each day, play is completely necessary for a child to develop necessary skills at a healthy rate. Humans ... Read more

The Most Popular School Playground Games

There are so many games that children play on the school playground or at the Neighborhood park, many of which have been played for generations and some that are new for this generation of youngsters. Kids love playing, whether it’s at recess, afterschool, on the weekend or all summer long. There are games kids play on the playground equipment, whether it’s making believe they’re in a castle or mountain climbing. Kids have such active imaginations, though, that they can play games even when there’s nothing but asphalt blacktop or a sidewalk to play on. Games help kids stay in shape, develop their creative abilities and build social skills—what could be better? Top Kids Games in the United States It would be impossible to list all the different games that kids play on the school or park playground, especially when you consider all the children’s games from around the world. The following list, however, includes many of the most popular games that children currently play in the United States: Dodge Ball Double Dutch Heads Up Seven Up Hopscotch I Spy Jacks Jump Rope Kick Ball Tag Red Rover Mother, May I Red Light, Green Light The Benefits of Kids Games With the obesity problem in America, active games that utilize playground equipment, jump ropes and/or ... Read more