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Characteristics of Early Childhood Playground Equipment

Learning through play is a vital part of early childhood development. Young children develop their motor skills, learn social skills, and process new sensory experiences during play activities. Playgrounds are a wonderful opportunity for young children to explore and stretch their imaginations. When building or updating an early childhood playground, look for playground equipment that facilitates physical and cognitive development while providing a safe play experience. Effective early childhood playground equipment fosters learning through active play, imaginative play, and sensory learning.

Types of Play

Physical games and active play equipment on early childhood playgrounds are geared toward helping young children develop their physical strength and motor skills. Slides, swings, and climbing structures all encourage kids to challenge the limits of their growing physical abilities. These structures also teach kids to enjoy exerting their bodies through exhilarating play. Other active play structures like see-saws and merry-go-rounds help young children develop their coordination and balance as they work together. Early childhood equipment like game stations and play structures, however, focus on exploration. These active play structures challenge young children to develop dexterity and spatial problem-solving as they learn to navigate the play equipment.

Pretend play is another cornerstone of early childhood development. Young children develop valuable skills though imaginative play. Inventing stories and creating imaginary scenarios promote different types of cognitive development, including observation, experimentation, and critical thinking. When choosing early childhood equipment for your playground, include pretend play equipment like playhouses and complex play structures. This type of equipment helps facilitate imaginative play, as kids can create multitude of imaginative stories and games. This type of imaginative play is often collaborative, as groups of children will often play house or mount an imaginary expedition across a play structure. These games teach kids valuable social skills as they learn to work together, building their story and coordinating their plans.

Sensory experiences are also a huge part of play time for young children. Many early childhood playgrounds include sensory learning activities like sand boxes, water play tables, and musical instruments. This category of early childhood play equipment teaches children about the physical world around them and how they can interact with it. These enjoyable independent play stations also promote an interest in learning that kids will take back into the classroom.

Safety on the Early Childhood Playground

Early childhood playgrounds and playground equipment typically have a strong emphasis on safe play. All equipment should be age-appropriate and meet current playground equipment safety regulations. Play equipment should be suited for young children's size, physical strength, and dexterity. Early childhood playground equipment should not have small pieces or dangerous joints and should be designed to minimize the potential for injury. Early childhood play equipment is typically made of eye-catching bright plastic or rustic wood. Although less durable than metal equipment, these materials are generally more forgiving if a child stumbles while playing. These materials also present less of a burn risk on hot days. Proper surfacing and other safety features can also help protect young children on playgrounds. Choosing shock-absorbent materials like rubber nuggets and mulch can help reduce the risk of injury on an early childhood playground.

AAA State of Play offers a fantastic selection of early childhood playground equipment for purchase. Browse our large online catalog of commercial play equipment for kids of all ages. You can buy structures, playhouses, swings, slides, and other equipment designed for young children. We also offer quality surfacing materials and other safety features for safeguarding an early childhood playground. When you shop with AAA State of Play, you can rest assured that you're receiving safe and reliable equipment at an affordable price.

Find more about the author: Kim Hart