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Guide to Gaining the Maximum Social Benefits of Public Playgrounds

The Social Benefits of City and Community Playgrounds

Professionals in the medical field have understood the benefits of physical activity for years. Children who engage in outdoor play benefit from several physical and social aspects of community playgrounds. In addition, city playgrounds and parks contribute significantly to a sense of community. They also contribute to a reduction in community crime. Statistics pulled from multiple sources show that community playgrounds deliver a wide range of communal benefits. AAA State of Play offers commercial grade play structures that our customers can purchase online.

Battling Obesity: The Role of Community Playgrounds

Children who experience obesity undergo a range of social pressures and rejection. The National Center for Biotechnology Information revealed in a 2012 study that children experiencing obesity face lower academic achievement and suffer from poor social adjustment. Furthermore, the CDC reports that 13% of children and pre-teens experience serious problems with weight. Access to city playgrounds and parks provides children and adults the opportunity to engage in exercise. The CDC revealed that a 25.6% increase in physical activity occurred when individuals gained access to a play area.

Children experiencing weight problems who have access to a playground benefit in two ways: they gain the opportunity to exercise regularly and engage in social activities. The physical benefits associated with playgrounds are clear. Non-obese children get to socialize with children facing weight problems. Consequently, with the proper guidance non-obese children can learn empathy and compassion by participating in social play.

Creating a Strong Sense of Community

The National Association of Home Builders reports that community playgrounds are one of the top five important amenities for homeowners. In addition, small business owners considering relocation also ranked parks high. Residents who lived in areas close to parks engaged more often in social activities. This increased their sense of community and belonging. Inner-city neighborhoods undergo a significant decrease in crime rates and the lives of at-risk youth are improved. For example, the Fort Myers Police Department noted a 28% drop in crimes involving juveniles. This decrease in crime occurred only after the city of Fort Myers installed a recreation center in the middle of a low-income neighborhood.

The Social and Developmental Benefits for Children

Studies show that play assists children with adapting to the society in which they live, and the world around them. The benefits of playgrounds for children extend well beyond any physical gains. Developing strong play and social skills early in life contribute to a child's ability to develop socially, cognitively and academically. Children also gain sound problem solving skills and strong self-esteem.

Playgrounds place children in a position to exercise and participate in creative activities. Developmentally appropriate community playground equipment enhances the skills children gain in social settings. In addition, when parents participate and encourage social interactions during trips to playgrounds, children benefit from positive adult guidance in social situations. Several types of playgrounds exist, each of which serve a different purpose.

Installing Appropriate Community Playground Equipment

In the past, two major playground types dominated the market and formed the basis for several sub-types. In the United States, the most widely recognized playground configuration is the traditional playground. The second major playground form is the adventure playground. Sub-types included educational, designer, creative and preschool. The traditional playground offers swings, merry-go-rounds and jungle gyms, to name a few.

Today, the flexibility offered by technology and materials provides the foundation for more community playground equipment options. For example, play areas are structured to meet the needs of children in different age groups. In addition, companies interested in environmental conservation can select recycled plastic equipment. Finally, playgrounds based on themes deliver a rich learning experience. AAA State of Play's online playground equipment shop allows you to buy a structure that meets your organization's needs.

Find more about the author: Kim Hart