For some families, summer vacation has started, for others it’s coming soon but for everyone there is fun, learning, and kindergarten readiness in the playground. It’s so much fun to climb, slide, swing, stretch, jump, run, push, pull, twist, turn, hang, balance, reach, bend, hop, and move in other ways. Plus, much learning is based on movement. Both bodies and brains get lots of exercise.
In the playground, children practice making their muscles do what they want. This requires a tremendous amount of brain activity and trial and error. Watch children learning to balance along a board. First, they practice just standing and trying to stay on before they begin to move. From just a few steps they soon can move their bodies and stay on until the end. Kids also learn to judge distances. We can see them looking at the space between rungs on the ladder before climbing. When to hang on and when to let go is another skill that kids need to learn. Have you ever seen a little one moving a hand back and forth several times before venturing to move a foot? Kids also have to learn how much energy is just right to pump the dinosaur, or duck, or horse rocker. Too much and they tip off. Kids solve problems and think in countless other ways as they play in the playground. From the outside, we only see kids moving and having fun, but their bodies and their brains are both getting exercise.
Playgrounds are often favorite places to go because there are so many things to learn and do. There’s a variety of challenges and kids will find that they have figured out how to do something that they couldn’t do before. Because they are growing quite quickly, they will be surprised to find they can reach a piece of equipment that was just too big only a few weeks earlier. Is there time in your day for some fun and learning on the playground?