The word "Zen" is fascinating and it is also unable to be completely explained in words. It is generally associated with the idea of meditation and relaxation, but it can also mean balanced and open-minded. And it is important to keep this in mind when considering which elements to add to a playground.
Whether we realize it or not, kids interact at all levels with the apparatus and toys they play on, and this is one of the many reasons to consider if the choices they have are "Zen" or not.
In other words, are at least some of the things in their playground relaxing and places where the kids can just "be"? What about parents?
There is a simple way to always answer "yes" to such questions. You can choose bench swings for the playground. Similar to the classic porch swing, a bench swing is safe to use alone or with a companion. They are dissimilar to standard playground swings because they do not encourage the user to fly as high as possible and soar alone into the clouds.
Instead, the design of any bench swing is far more likely to promote a sense of calm and even relaxation. They do even more. In fact, there are ten different ways that a bench swing can benefit those using them (no matter how young or old) and each of them stands alone as a valid reason for making sure they appear in a playground.
Ten Good Ways to Bring Zen to the Playground With a Bench Swing
According to some, a bench swing can bring health benefits:
1. It relieves stress - The gentle swaying of the swing automatically relaxes those using it, just like classic rocking chairs. Some studies have even show that using a bench swing can reduce heart rate and create deep relaxation.
2. Boosts circulation - People who do not or cannot use their lower bodies to a great extent will have to pump their legs to move the swing, and this improves circulation. Additionally, the movement of the swing may require the movement of the trunk as well, and this too enhances circulatory function.
3. Improves concentration - Movement always stimulates the area of the brain known as the cerebral cortex, and this is the region responsible for focus and concentration. This means that using the swings encourages the brain to strengthen.
4. It brings someone outdoors - It cannot be overlooked that there are profound benefits for being outdoors - even if it is in a playground.
5. It serves as a calm place for parents - Parents don't have to always stand around, sit on park benches, or chase after kids on playgrounds. Instead, a bench swing encourages them to take a well-deserved time out for themselves, and as a place to socialize.
6. It encourages sharing - Children and adults alike will have to share the space of a bench swing, and this is always a healthy lesson for someone of any age.
7. It develops teamwork and cooperation skills - Two people hoping to make a bench swing move fluidly will have to cooperate. This can often serve as an icebreaker for adults and as a first lesson in teamwork for a child.
8. It allows the individual to be in closer touch with their environment - Whether the playground is in an urban area or a rural one, the bench swing allows them to be in nature but not out and exposed to it. A lot of people prefer this and will gladly spend time on a bench swing rather than sitting on a bench outdoors. Of course, time on a bench swing allows you to relax and just visually explore the surroundings too, and this may be a rare opportunity for someone to just stop and enjoy the moment outdoors.
9. It ensures plenty of fresh air and sunlight - When you have a chance to use a bench swing in a playground it allows you time in the sun. This is vital to vitamin D production and it also encourages you to take deep and cleansing breaths of fresh air.
10. It stimulates the imagination - Being an adult on a bench swing can allow you to "zone out" and go somewhere else in your thoughts. This is a crucial experience for a healthy brain. For kids, a bench swing can become a pirate ship, an island, and a long list of other imaginative spaces. Apart from the other apparatus, the bench swing offers something entirely unique and can really inspire creative thinking.
You may have never thought of bench swings as providing so much to a playground, but you miss them when they are absent. If you are involved in planning or even simply using a playground, make sure that there is at least one bench swing for everyone to enjoy. It brings a lot of benefits and will be a source of pleasure for many years.
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Find more about the author: Kristen Breedlove