Play prepares for life - how to offer optimal educational experiences for children
We at Lappset understand the importance of creating experiences that last a lifetime. That's why our playgrounds and outdoor sports are designed to be more than just equipment; they're also meant to provide educational opportunities in schoolyard playgrounds and daycare outdoor areas. We all have an obligation to ensure children acquire the skills needed for life – it starts with providing them access at early ages through quality facilities.
What educational experiences are you able to achieve on a school playground?
Playing is so much more than just an enjoyable activity for children - it can also help develop physical, social, emotional, and cognitive skills. Physical motor skills are strengthened when you climb, run, swing, and slide, while interactions between peers in a playground teach the basics of communication and social integration.
Emotional growth comes from feeling part of a group and developing such key cognitive abilities such as memory recall (short-term or long-term), principles of logic to make decisions and solve problems effectively, creative idea generation through visual thinking processes plus concentrated focus on tasks at hand.
How to offer these educational experiences on a school playground?
1. Optimal learning environment
- Safety: Make sure the area is physically safe for children and it follows proper safety standards.
- Accessibility: Make sure that the area is easily accessible for all learners, so it supports equality and inclusion and also strengthens the feeling of being part of the group.
- Adaptability: Make sure the outdoor space can be used flexibly and adapted to different educational activities, like playful learning.
- Interesting natural elements: Include interesting elements such as a garden, natural playground equipment like large stones or other fun features to foster the imagination.
- Comfort: Provide chairs, tables, swing seats and other spots to relax in shade so pupils can feel comfortable when the learning process requires concentration.
2. Learning surroundings with playground equipment
Lappset has ready concepts for outdoor classrooms and they can also be tailored to specific needs. Learning surroundings are also easy to adjust with standard playground equipment and outdoor furniture. Play Planetarium offers a safe and calm place to concentrate, settle down and get the class to study and solve problems together.
We can also fine-tune standard Lappset playground equipment to support teaching and curriculum. For example, our offering of play panels are an easy addition to the existing equipment. They can be used to support basic school subjects like maths and physics, but they create also great venues for role playing, like shopping, steering, finding treasures, controlling, counting, and more. Themed playground equipment strongly supports imaginary play, creative idea generation and visual thinking processes.
Communication spot can be used in a schoolyard to encourage interaction with the teacher and the students. It is an easy communication method: you can share your ideas via words, images and drawings with others. Outside of the lessons, the spot with the chalkboards allows the children to embrace their creativity. It is also important to provide everyday support for a child who does not speak or has difficulty producing or understanding speech. Children who have been given an equal opportunity to communicate are also calmer and less frustrated. Supporting communication in a schoolyard strengthens social integration and the feeling of belonging, fostering emotional growth.
Even if it was just a play panel added to a basic climbing frame or it was a big, themed play ship or a castle on a school playground, all these facilities offer children educational experiences to be utilized in the curriculum.
3. Motoric tracks on school playgrounds for developing physical motor skills
Motoric tracks provide endless play (=exercise!) as it encourages going round and round. The skill to cross the assumed centre line of the body is a prerequisite for the child to learn to read and write. This allows the child to create handedness and ability to do daily activities such as cutting with scissors for example. That's why climbing is the most effective activity during breaks at schools.
The look of motoric tracks is not childish, making it street credible enough also for the teenagers. To test abilities and skills on a climbing frame, prepares the user to face a chance. Therefore, it provides a natural way to learn to avoid possible danger.
- Balancing in many ways is important as many parts of the nervous and muscular systems are involved in maintaining it, once it has been developed at the age of 5 - 7
- When climbing children have to use all the limbs - this helps to master the coordination and eye focusing
- Monkey bars are adjusted so, that the body swings from side to side stimulating the vestibular system located in the inner ear developing motor skills
How does playful learning benefit children?
Playful learning, also known as play-based learning, can be based on exercise and movement. It`s been scientifically proven, that physically active children have more active brain cells. This helps to absorb the information better. With Lappset playground equipment, you`ll get the children to be more active with the help of physical games and problems, or children can decide their own how they are moving during lessons.
Suppose the educational experience in question requires more cognitive skills, like imaginary play or roles. In that case, Lappset`s outdoor classrooms and playground equipment structures with the surrounding nature offer children a great way to experience learning and get some fresh air instead of classrooms inside.
Playful learning has a number of benefits for children and young learners. Some of these benefits include:
- Improved social skills: Playful learning environments provide children with opportunities to practice and develop social skills such as communication, cooperation, and problem-solving.
- Increased creativity and imagination: Playful learning encourages children to use their imagination and be creative, which can lead to improved problem-solving skills and more flexible thinking.
- Better emotional regulation: Playful learning helps children to understand their emotions better and provides them with tools to regulate their emotions better.
- Improved physical development: Playful learning activities, such as movement games, can help children develop fine and gross motor skills.
- Increased motivation and engagement: Playful learning activities are often more engaging and motivating for children, which can lead to improved attention, focus, and overall learning outcomes.
- Better preparation for academic learning: Playful learning activities can help children develop the fundamental skills and knowledge needed for later academic success, such as pre-literacy and numeracy skills.
- Provide authentic context to the learning: Playful activities are often situated in the child's world and provide them with opportunities to apply the knowledge in real-life context, which support children to retain the information for a longer time.