The importance of physical play for children is better understood than ever before. You may be surprised to find out that a simple visit to a park offers the perfect opportunity for physical play and athletic development. A trip to the park is more than a chance for them to let off steam or give parents a break: it can be a hugely vital part of a child’s physical development.
Park play and kid’s fun activities can actually help as the first stepping stones in developing the skills needed for a range of athletic activities.
Low Ropes, Bridges, Planks, and Stepping Stones
Many parks feature courses consisting of low ropes, stepping stones, bridges, and/or planks. These play structures are ideal for developing core strength and balance. It’s important to remember that balance is not entirely a built-in human trait – to a certain extent. We must learn how to balance.
These kinds of structures at a play park or adventure park can be used in a number of ways and therefore allow for creative and imaginative play too, but central to any activity on these types of facilities is the fact that children are improving their ability to balance whilst also developing their core strength.
Balance and core strength are essential aspects of athletic ability, and a child who has well-developed skills in these areas will find it easier when they start to approach extracurricular activities such as dance, karate, football, and running.
Developing skills through climbing is a fantastic way to hone athletic abilities in young children, as it requires the use of all the major muscle groups whilst also developing coordination and balance.
Climbing is also about physical problem solving: it requires children to plan a route, assesses the options, make changes, and most importantly learn to assess their own physical risk.
When it comes to developing upper-body strength, this is an area where many children need assistance. Whilst leg strength is naturally built every day through general activities, the muscles in the arms, shoulders, back, and chest requires a bit more dedicated activity, and the monkey bars are perfect for this.
Make sure you encourage children to use monkey bars safely. Young children shouldn’t attempt monkey bars that are specifically aimed at older children. It’s also wise to teach your children how to land safely with ‘soft knees’ if they do let go and fall.
As your children get older they may become interested in racket sports such as tennis or badminton or perhaps cricket, rugby, karate, or hockey. All of these interests require a good level of upper-body strength.
One of the beauties of an adventure park is that play is not structured, which means children are developing these athletic skills without necessarily being instructed. This freedom in kid’s fun activities is also vital for children’s social, mental, and emotional development.
Ideas for Kids Fun Activities at the Park
Sometimes it’s all right to add a little structure to play, so why not create an obstacle or assault course for your child using the facilities that exist at the park? Choose a starting point and an endpoint with challenges along the way. You could even time them for an added challenge.
There’s no reason why you can’t incorporate further activities too, such as running on the spot, star jumps, and push-ups. In fact, why not use the park to create a super-fun fitness trail that develops all the large and some of the smaller muscle groups too? It’s a great way for children to start or end the day.
As you can see, a play in an adventure park is the perfect setting for children to develop athletic skills away from the confines of a sports club or structured activity center. The free-flow concept of a park allows children to explore and develop all kinds of important skills, whilst the playing equipment helps to develop essential athletic abilities, and best of all is the fact that kids are usually having so much fun that they are rarely aware that all this play is actually developing essential physical skills.