Updated: Nov 30, 2021
When people reflect on their childhood, they often think of things like playing on the playground or running around at the park. Play equipment like monkey bars, slides, and swing sets provide hours of fun for children at schools and parks today just like these structures did in decades past. Playing on the playground teaches social skills and stimulates both the brain and body. Even adults can benefit from a trip to the playground: At a minimum, it provides a chance to socialize with other parents, but at some playgrounds, there's equipment suitable for adults, too, so parents can also get a workout and improve their health while the kids play.
However, these days, it seems like the power of play to help both bodies and minds grow is increasingly being ignored. Schools sometimes cut back on recess or eliminate it entirely in an effort to increase instructional time, despite the fact that recess provides a necessary break that can actually help kids focus better on their studies in the classroom. And safety concerns can sometimes prompt parents to keep their kids indoors, even though today's commercial play equipment is very safe and the play opportunities that these structures provide are crucial to a child's health and development.
If you need help ensuring that your children and the kids in your community have access to safe play spaces, check out the resources below. You'll find information on groups that promote the power of play, ways to prevent playground injuries, grant opportunities for playground construction, and lots of other great resources about the power of play.
Playground and Outdoor Play Safety
Keeping Children Safe on Playgrounds
Are We Losing Ground?