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How-To Learn Through Play

Educational and Learning Related Playground Equipment and Uses

Playing is an important part of young children's cognitive development as they learn new skills through curious exploration and imaginative exercise. Children learn valuable new motor skills, social skills, and develop their problem solving abilities while playing. This is an important consideration when choosing equipment for your playground as educational playground equipment can make the most of children's natural ability to learn through play. There are many different types of playground equipment that foster learning. Playground equipment can directly and indirectly provide educational benefits as playground education occurs through both physical and mental engagement.

Interactive Learning

Game-based playground equipment and creative learning stations are a fun way to increase learning on the playground. This type of educational playground equipment typically features an interactive activity that encourages creative engagement. Games like tic-tac-toe and puzzles focus on problem solving, while oversized blocks and ring toss games develop motor skills. Other educational play stations focus on artistic expression though drawing and music. This includes musical instrument play stations, over-sized easels, and more. This type of equipment allows children to explore art in self-guided settings and encourages their creative growth. Natural and scientific stations provide another interactive educational opportunity. Children are insatiably curious about the natural world and its processes. Nature-themed playground equipment like water play stations, interactive excavation sites, and other materials based play stations will capture their attention with the opportunity for hands on discovery and learning. Similarly, playground equipment like sundials, bird feeders, and flowering stations encourage learning through observation as children get an up close look at how nature works. Nature-themed playground equipment can foster a life-long interest in nature and science.

Imaginative Play - Learning Through Pretending

Pretend play, or make-believe play, allows children to let their imagination take flight. This type of play is vital to cognitive growth and social development. While all playground equipment ultimately lends itself to imaginative play, themed equipment gives children a visual basis for their games that can further stimulate imaginations. Children can apply real-life knowledge and scenarios while playing with familiar designs like cars and playhouses, or create adventure fantasies with nature-themed equipment like climbing boulders and animal-themed equipment. All of these experiences help children learn more about the world around them and their role into it. Pretend play often occurs in groups and this has the additional benefit of socialization as children learn to navigate group dynamics and joint decision-making.

Physical Play- Learning New Skills

Playground equipment built primarily for physical play can also provide a learning experience for children. Free play on these types of structures gives children a safe opportunity to learn about the excitement of tackling new challenges and exploring new ground. Navigating play structures like climbers, balancers, and slides helps young children develop their coordination and refine their motor skills. The skills they learn through physical play are also valuable to their social development as physically-oriented playground equipment encourages socialization and empathy. As children play together on structures like see-saws and merry-go-rounds, they must learn how to share equipment and cooperate in order to succeed together. Like pretend play, this helps children develop their problem solving skills as they must learn how to work together.

Shop AAA State of Play's online store for a wide range of educational playground equipment. We offer quality playground education-focused equipment from interactive game stations that encourage creative thinking, to nature-themed play structures perfect for imaginative learning. Playground equipment purchase decisions can be complex, so don't hesitate to contact with us with any questions you may have about equipment you'd like to buy for your playground. Our knowledgeable staff is happy to answer any specific questions you may have and provide you with additional information.

Find more about the author: Kim Hart