In recent years, a growing trend in the lack of free-play has proven to be detrimental in the development of children. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, children between the ages of 8 and 18 are spending an average of 7.5 hours in front of a screen each day. What does this mean? This means that key aspects of childhood are being neglected, one being free-play.
Free-play is when a child leads the activities without too much interjection from adults. (Of course, some rules and regulations are still a good idea.) They can use their imaginations and get a better understanding of the world around them. One of the best places for a child to participate in free-play is on a playground or playset. Outdoor play has great potential in the development of a child.
On a playground or playset, children can run, climb, swing, and slide, giving them a way to not only release energy, but keep their bodies fit as well. The playground or playset is also a good place to develop motor skills, critical thinking, problem solving, and social skills. Children can experience a wide array of emotions and learning how to articulate their thoughts and listen to others may help guide them into healthy habits. Through play with others, they develop relationships as well as find ways to discover more about themselves. When playing alone, they learn independence. Getting to use their imagination can give them a feeling of confidence as well as improved cognitive skills.
With such an increase in the amount of time spent on electronic devices, children are setting themselves up to experience the health problems associated with neglecting play. Obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol, low self-esteem, anxiety, and stress have all become more common than they need to be. Free-play could greatly improve the outlook of a child’s health for the future and is even known to improve conditions such as ADHD.
It is recommended that children spend at least 60 minutes a day participating in physical activity. Currently, many parents are often committed to other necessary demands and have limited time and resources, resulting in children not having the same access to places of play. Children tend to follow the habits of their parents. If the parents spend time outside, the children will, too. And vice-versa. That is why it is important to implement ways for children to experience free-play.
Playsets are a great addition to a backyard because they are safe and supervised. Not only are they conveniently located near the home, they are made to meet National Safety Standards. Investing in a playset and encouraging children to use it frequently can greatly improve their lives in a multitude of ways. Visit Fifthroom.com for more information.