This post was sponsored by Landscape Structures as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central. All opinions expressed in my post are my own
Does playing have any benefit on kids? If you think not, you are in for a big surprise. According to Playworks, children learn many valuable life lessons that serve them well into adulthood while playing. Leadership and conflict resolution are just but a few and below is a brief look at some life lessons children learn on the playground:
My family loves the playground! Up until last August we were only able to enjoy it a few months out of the year, but now that we’ve moved to Florida we visit and explore new playgrounds at least once a week. I am a big believer that there are limitless playground benefits for children.
As a young mom, I started taking Anthony to the playground most afternoons as a way for him to get energy out and to enjoy the fresh air. After the twins came, the playground was a place for me to just let go of the day’s stresses and play with all three kids. I made the walk or drive every day without realizing all the amazing life skills my children were learning as they ran, hung, and climbed through the playground.
Life Lessons Children Learn on the Playground
Clearing conflicts is a gift most people lack. However, parents can instill this behavior in their kids and enable them to resolve conflicts without having to involve an adult. The playground is a great place to start by teaching children conflict resolving games like Rock, Paper, Scissors. This is a trait parents should mold into the child’s character. Another excellent game to try out is the Ro Sham Bo, which ensures conflicts won’t linger on after the play is over.
In this polarized world, everyone is bias and self-centered, especially to new faces. So, it is good to try out games that ensure all children on the playground participate. Try playing games that don’t leave anyone out like Foursquare. In the case where there is a language barrier, consider games like penalty soccer. Other games you can try include Watch Your Back Tag and Dodgeball Crossover that does not require verbal communication.
When we encourage others, we develop a positive environment. Words like “good work”, “nice try” and other encouraging remarks give children the confidence to try out different things. On the playground, such positive remarks develop the same character in your kids. As such, parents should strive to instill such behavior in their kids through games like Traffic Jam, where the player needs to accomplish a specific goal. When you hear your children encouraging others during the game, it’s evident that the lesson was taken home.
Honesty and accountability
Sometimes winning might cause children to lie while playing games like Dodgeball or tag. This is because they want to collect points by lying the Dodgeball missed or that the tag wasn’t true. It’s essential to play games like Museum Night Janitor, where the child can’t deny moving when the janitor caught them doing so. This won’t make winning such a priority. In turn, children will learn to make decisions at the moment and understand that lying isn’t worth a few points.
Children get to learn essential aspects of leadership as they play different games. As an adult, teach the kids rules to a new game and let one lead the others by teaching the rules. Red light, Greenlight, or Up Down Go games are great options to start with. You can also make the older kids involve the younger ones, which builds a sense of inclusion.
There are many life lessons kids learn while playing different playground games. And with the parent’s help, playing can help shape a child into a responsible and accountable adult. The list of games to play is dynamic and each targets a particular area of development. These games help develop a child’s emotional and social skills.
Playgrounds are a place for play and learning, where children develop in the areas of leadership, teamwork, perseverance, and where they build valuable social relationships. As our children play they are building life skills that they will need to create an amazing future. For a better tomorrow, we play today!