Playgrounds and Parks Benefit Children and the Community
The benefits of playgrounds and parks are enjoyed by children and adults alike. Not only do they create a sense of community, but they also serve a key role in child development. Playgrounds and parks are unique areas in that they are not restricted by size or use. A great example is pocket parks, where small public spaces are repurposed. A vacant lot or irregular piece of land is transformed into something beautiful with benches and other park equipment for people to sit and appreciate.
Parks of all sizes usually are equipped with playgrounds for children to enjoy. Free-standing activity panels encourage preschoolers to match colors, pretend to fly or make music with chimes. Child-size playsets can be installed complete with a slide and place to climb. Or animal spring riders can adorn the space for kids to rock. In addition to play areas, playgrounds and parks also have seating, receptacles for trash, message centers and bike racks. Even in parks without play equipment, like the smallest pocket park, benches and trash cans are standard. Park benches and picnic tables give visitors an enjoyable place to sit and enjoy the surrounding green space or watch their children play. They also instill a sense of community as central gathering spaces, whether in a major metropolis, college campus or sprawling neighborhood.
For children, playground equipment complements park benches and picnic tables, plus is a natural extension of the space. The inherent benefits of parks and playgrounds to a child’s development range from sensory and social skills to physical activity and creative play. Younger children tend to explore while at play with various playground equipment. This exploration serves to develop a child’s fine motor skills, strength, cognitive abilities and sensory competence. Play also teaches cooperation, sharing and communication, all skills that will serve them well throughout life. The physical nature of outdoor play helps release energy, feed the brain and burn calories. Finally, the spontaneity of creative play instills a sense of adventure and pushes them outside their comfort zone to meet new friends.
Larger parks and playgrounds can have sections for swing sets, basketball and tennis courts, plus elaborate play structures that include water and sand elements. There can also be walking trails, dog parks and shelters with charcoal grills. However, one of the most important features is its inclusive amenities. Whether it’s wheelchair accessible picnic tables, benches, ADA swing seats or playground equipment, furnishing this vital space with items everyone can enjoy is what community is all about.