Do you remember how much fun it was to climb monkey bars or slide with your arms outstretched, feeling the wind blowing in your hair? These were perhaps some of the best moments from our childhood.

Outdoor play is an essential part of childhood. It’s a key that leads to a healthy and happy life. The physical, social and mental benefits of unstructured outdoor games provide children with ample opportunity to learn and develop skills in various fields. Given the importance of outdoor play in child development, the value of playgrounds in school communities cannot be undermined.

Why are playgrounds appealing to students? According to Wendy Titman in her research, The Hidden Curriculum of School Grounds, for Learning through Landscapes, there are four elements that students look for in school grounds:

  • A Place for Doing. This provides opportunities for physical activities where children can find challenges, take risks and develop their skills.
  • A Place for Thinking. This offers children a medium to explore, discover and learn more about themselves, their friends, their environment and the community they live in.
  • A Place for Feeling. This gives children a sense of pride, ownership and belongingness. A haven that they can care for and feel cared for in return.
  • A Place for Being. This gives children the freedom to be who they want to be. A dwelling that helps them recognise their individuality and their need for privacy.

These elements are integral and valuable in providing an effective learning environment in schools.

The Benefits of School Playgrounds

Unstructured games help improve students’ imagination, language and intelligence. It provides students with an avenue to experience various emotions and express their ideas and feelings. Through interaction with their peers and the environment, they become aware of social and cultural rules. These are some of the reasons why installing school playground equipment and letting students have time to play is crucial in the learning process. It also provides students with an outlet to learn and develop various skills, such as the following:

  • Social Skills

Through games, students will learn how to communicate, share and collaborate. This builds connection, helping them understand each other. When children conquer their fears or master activities like climbing walls or rope ladders, the sense of accomplishment they gain from it will help boost their self-confidence and self-esteem.

  • Cognitive Skills

Playgrounds provide a medium for students to enrich, build and develop their cognitive skills through various games. Navigating through enclosed spaces or obstacle courses will help students conquer their fears and take risks, giving them an area to experiment or learn about life possibilities. Interacting with other students, exploring the environment and engaging in imaginative activities will also help sharpen their mind.

  • Physical Skills

Bridges, ramps, swings, seesaws, monkey bars and slides are not only fun, these game equipment also give them a good dose of cardiovascular exercises to keep them healthy. Slides help exercise the legs; jungle gym and monkey bars strengthen the shoulders and arms; swings promote balance and coordination; and bridges and ramps support locomotor skills.

Bottom Line

The playground is a place where children can develop their skills freely and spontaneously. It is the place where they can connect with different people and learn from them. Thus, it is important that schools promote learning through unstructured games.

At EISAU, we have access to quality providers of playground equipment, which will stimulate children’s enthusiasm for physical engagement. These well-designed equipment are age appropriate, durable and caters to different levels of physical development.

EISAU can also connect you with other specialised businesses, from school uniform suppliers to providers of school management software solutions.

For enquires, call us at 0499 22 1 910 or send us an email through our Contact page. At EISAU, we can help you communicate with high quality school product suppliers and service providers in various parts of Australia.

About the Author

PhD in European Languages and Cultures (specialising in Literary Translation) Department of International Studies Macquarie University