7 Ways a Playground is Great for Parent-child BondingHave more fun with your little one as you slide and swing at the playground!CREATED WITH
While you and your child can have fun moments together while shopping or dining out, a better option for bonding may be the playground.
The American Academy of Pediatrics’ Committee on Environmental Health (AAP CEH), in its policy statement The Built Environment: Designing Communities to Promote Physical Activity in Children, notes that parks and green spaces are especially important for providing opportunities for physical activity.
Parks and playgrounds encourage active play and physical activity, which are good for your kid’s health and are essential to the development of motor, social, emotional, and other skills. Here’s why they are optimal places for bonding with your child:
1. Physical Exercise
The AAP policy notes that the highest levels of preschool-aged children’s physical activity happen outdoors. That is why playgrounds are great for preschoolers. A playground has swings, slides, monkey bars, obstacle courses, and equipment to climb over, crawl under, and run around. These days, playgrounds can be found both indoors and outdoors.
2. Imaginative Play
In Best-Practice Guidelines for Physical Activity at Child Care, Dr. Christina McWilliams et al share that a mix of fixed and portable equipment, such as climbing structures and balls, hoops, and ropes, is recommended by the Nutrition and Physical Activity Self-assessment for Child Care (NAPSACC) best-practice guidelines. This range of basic playground equipment encourages creativity, as a child is free to use them any which way and cast himself as the star in a story of his own making. Let him give you a role in his fantasy or show you which slide is a mountain to climb. Play along and let your kid’s imagination take you on a new adventure!
3. Curious Exploration
According to McWilliams et al, research shows that when children have a large and open play space, they enjoy more physical activity. Playgrounds offer challenging elements to your child’s physicality. You can let your child explore on his own and still be able to safely observe his progress from the sidelines. Letting him set out and discover new things in the playground will help develop his sense of curiosity and wonder.
4. Exuberant Interaction
McWilliams et al note that large spaces encourage kids to engage in games like tag or those that require running and chasing. Shouts of joy, squeals of excitement, and lots of laughter are common sounds in a playground. A safe area for children lets you run around and be boisterous and loud, which will energize you both as you play.
5. Fresh Air
Playgrounds let you enjoy the great outdoors with your kid. Fresh air is good for his lungs and for the soul. A little sun (don’t forget the sunscreen!), a lot of wind, and a healthy amount of dirt builds resistance and teaches him to love nature. The CEH policy encourages addressing the negative effects of traffic and air pollution in places where outdoor play takes place. As long as it isn’t too hot, and you’re in green environment with fresh air, a little sweat should be good for you.
6. Guided Play
The National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) physical activity guidelines for pre-school children includes at least 60 minutes of structured or adult-led activities daily. Playgrounds are designed to let parents and other adults supervise and participate in active play without getting in the way. You can push your child on the swing, catch him at the bottom of the slide, or carefully balance against him on the see-saw. Enjoying these activities together strengthens your bond and creates cherished memories.
7. Building Independence
As you guide your child in play, he’ll start to build confidence and want to do more things on his own. The other half of the NAPSE guidelines includes at least 60 minutes of unstructured or free play. During that time, your child can play at his own pace and choose his own activities. A playground is a perfect place to nurture this, as its size is suited to your little one’s world. In a playground, your child’s independence develops gradually in an unthreatening environment.
Unleash the playtime possibilities, Moms! Bring your little one to places that will ignite his extraordinary imagination and allow you to engage him in active play. Just take a look at this dynamic mother-and-son duo in this video.
Make playtime even more fun with a pack of Nestlé CHUCKIE! For more exciting ideas, check out the CHUCKIE Facebook page.
1. “The Built Environment: Designing Communities to Promote Physical Activity in Children,” American Academy of Pediatrics’ Committee on Environmental Health. http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/123/6/1591.full.pdf+html?sid=b66ab4ca-b609-4c71-a319-8817f8ef43aa
2. “Best-Practice Guidelines for Physical Activity at Child Care,” Christina McWilliams, MPH, Sarah C. Ball, MPH, RD, Sara E. Benjamin, PhD, MPH, RD, Derek Hales, PhD, Amber Vaughn, MPH, RD, and Dianne S. Ward, EdDc. http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/124/6/1650.full.pdf+html?sid=b66ab4ca-b609-4c71-a319-8817f8ef43aa