- This post was sponsored by Landscape Structures as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central. All opinions expressed in my post are my own #ad #ShapedByPlay #IC
I have so many memories of playing outside as a kid. We went to the beach a lot and I spent hours in the sand, water and dirt…just making messes and getting dirty. Building structures with other kids that required us to work together. Do you remember building forts? It was the best! I always thought that when I came to the beach the next time that my driftwood structure would still be there. I had to navigate the loss every time we went back and my fort was destroyed. Guess what? It made me a better person! Walking through disappointment in a safe place as a kid helps us to deal with bigger disappointment as adults!
It is so important for kids to have outside free playtime. Every summer break I bring out the list of things my kids have to do before any electronic time and playing outdoors for 1 hr is one of them. I don’t care what they do. I just want them outside, getting vitamin d and using their brains and body.
Playing outdoors at parks and playgrounds introduces us to many different elements, like working with other kids, problem solving, waiting our turn, time management, team work, leadership and more!
According to research (Fjortoft 2004; Burdette and Whitaker 2005), kids who play outside on a regular basis:
- Are more physically fit
- Have better immune systems
- Have the creative parts of their minds growing
- Enjoy lower levels of stress
- Display more respect for other peers
On playgrounds we learn what it’s like when we try and fail. We also learn about trying and succeeding! When first trying the monkey bars, our kids might fall. After trying a few times, they might get a little farther and farther each time. This is a skill we need to be teaching our kiddos! Failing is ok! Get up and try again.
Some times as parents, we want to rush in and do everything for our kids (including playing!) but these are skills that will help to develop them into well-rounded, balanced adults! Learning to cope with the feeling of failure is a valuable skill. Taking a step back at the park and taking hands off approach might actually be what they need.
Why is it so important to let our kids fail on the playground?
Letting our kids fail or navigate negative feelings (anxiety, fear, disappointment) helps them to learn that they are going to be able to live with that feeling! Yes, I feel disappointed that I didn’t make it across the monkey bars, but I am going to try again. Or I raced my sister to the playground and she won, I feel like a loser! The playground is a perfect place to feel and own these feelings and figure out what they will do next. Will they try again and succeed? Will they win next time?
Have you ever met a millennial ( or anyone ) that never had to deal with failure as a kid? They can’t seem to navigate life after a girlfriend breaks up with them or they get fired from a job. They may have had parents that hovered and helicoptered to make sure they never felt one prick of failure. We want to prevent this sad outcome as young adults. And it starts as kids on the playground!
Landscape Structures has collaborated with the University of Minnesota to research how playing can develop all aspects of a child by offering opportunities of leadership, creativity, problem solving and persistence. These amazing playgrounds are beneficial for all types and ages of people!
We visited a local Landscape Structures park here in Richland, Washington and we had a blast! My kiddos loved it!
Visit their website to find a Landscape Structures playground in your own area! They have tons of new play structures like the Sway Fun!
Check out this video from Landscape Structures on how we can have a better tomorrow by playing today!
What are some things you love to see your kids doing on the play ground? Is it difficult for you to let your kids fail sometimes? How have you seen that letting your kids fail has helped them in their lives? I would love to hear in the comments!