There are so many programmes and methods to develop young children’s gross and motor skills and this is a subject that can be unravelled in-depth. With this article, we delve deeper into the importance of outdoor play system, in a child’s development. During a child’s development years, which can start as early as 2 months of age and extend to the age of 15, gross and fine motor skills development is crucial to a child’s growth and finding their place amongst their peers.
As a parent, you might have heard the topic of gross and fine motor skills, especially in our previous blog. Gross motor skills include the use of the large muscles in the body for movement of the arms, legs, and torso. Whereas fine motor skills involve the use of the small muscles in your hands and wrists that we use for anything from holding onto something to drawing or stringing beads.
Adults use their muscles with relative ease, but for a child, these skills need to be developed, honing coordination between the muscles and the neurological system. Play is a great way to train these skills, and there are few better places for motor developmental play than playgrounds and jungle gyms.
A second look into outdoor playground system and development
Our previous blog outlined how swings, climbing equipment, and monkey bars assist in muscle development, and we’re going to continue that train of thought with a look into other equipment and forms of play.
Tunnels – Leopard crawling through a tunnel uses so many of our gross muscles! Wiggling to and fro, pulling and pushing with arms and legs, lifting your belly off the tunnel floor. Or even just crawling if the tunnel is spacious enough. It’s not only fun, but it’s also a workout. Tunnels also provide an imaginative space for adventure or hiding spots during games.
Obstacle courses – Kids love running around and burning up energy, and what’s more fun and exerting than clambering your way through an obstacle course? Running an obstacle course requires memorizing the route and techniques for traversing them, and kids use their entire bodies to get over, under, and around them!
By repeating the obstacle course they also repeat actions and maneuvers that improve muscle memory. An obstacle course can also consist of many different parts that require unique techniques and movements, from rope climbing walls to tyre tunnels, tight ropes to balancing beams, stepping logs to throw ropes.
Seesaws – The seesaw requires two children to work, so children are required to coordinate their movements and cooperate with one another to have fun! They learn the value of teamwork, all the while they train their sense of balance and strengthen their gross motor skills. For younger children and toddlers it also helps to strengthen the knees and legs as they learn to push themselves up off the floor from a seated position.
Indoor Motor Skills training for rainy and sunny days
Rainy or scorching hot days don’t have to mean whipping out the iPad or turning on the Xbox. The kids can practice gross and fine motor skills indoors when they aren’t running around outside, and there are plenty of fun activities to refine their fine motor skills that don’t involve writing. It’s a great way to escape the crazy summer heat or those scattered showers.
Indoor play parks – There are many family-friendly restaurants that feature indoor play areas and even whole indoor jungle gyms. Outdoor playground equipment from our range such as slides, ship, and car-themed equipment, and wooden sandpits reconstituted as crystal scratch patches, foam pits or ball pits. It’s great for the older kids to clamber around inside, but for younger kids, it’s best to always be present, the same as you would be at an outdoor playground.
Play Jeeps – This is a popular type of jungle gym that can also function as indoor play equipment thanks to its size and practicality. There’s plenty of space for all the kids to climb aboard and practice their imagination, pretending to be on a jeep safari, or on an epic car chase. The famous KidBuddie dashboard enhances the make-believe, so children can interact and play with one another as they join in on the fantasy adventure. The play jeep is also great for climbing and clambering.
Themed Pits – While no one wants to have to clean up sand inside, playground sandpits can easily be used indoors as another type of pit. Ball pits, foam pits, and scratch patches are hugely popular amongst children, as they can play and roll around in them, using their gross muscles to wade through the pit.
Magical scratch patches, on the other hand, encourages children to search for their favourite crystals, using fine muscles in their hands to dig through the rocks to find glittering gems. The stones are tumbled till smooth, making it perfectly safe. There should always be someone on duty and parental supervision for toddlers in a scratch patch.
School bodies, parks, restaurants or parents should look at playground options, jungle gyms and crafts for children to continuously provide them with mental stimulation as well as physical activities to keep them learning while growing.
A child that lacks motor skills can feel frustrated as they fall behind the development of their peers, standing the risk of having trouble joining in with other kids in playing sports, and games, joining in playground fun, problem-solving or even simply writing or drawing. This in itself leads to all manner of social developmental problems.
Kids spend too much time in front of the TV and not enough time playing and using their hands or clambering around outside. Playground equipment is ultimately the best way to get them playing in a safe, exciting environment with plenty of opportunities to fine-tune their imagination while keeping physically active.