How Daycare Playground Equipment Helps Develop Social Skills
My son stood straddled over the grasshopper, his face beet red, his arms held up straight on both sides of him like some anime character readying a power move. His feet were braced, his head down, his voice strained.
All around him were children pressing in to see the grasshopper that just so happened to flutter into the local school playground, alighting on the playground surface.
At first, this simple creature was ignored until my son, an avid lover of all things that creep and crawl, noticed and began to inspect it. A crowd of curious kids quickly swarmed around him when one large fellow, raising his foot, declared, “I am going to squish it!”
My son, generally a peaceful child who doesn’t start fights with other children, took those as fighting words and immediately moved to protect the grasshopper, placing himself over the creature. He would not let this other child, larger than himself, squish this bug.
Pause the scene for just a moment. How many different social skills were stretched or presented in this story?
- Conflict resolution
- Kindness towards animals
- Standing against the crowd
- Caring about the defenseless
- How to diffuse a tense situation
- Respect for each other
And all of this took place on a local commercial playground!
Developing Social Skills
As a daycare or preschool, you care about your children’s health and their budding social skills. While your lessons and activities throughout the day are critical, the natural, real-life problems a child faces on a commercial playground can help them hone or practice their skills in a way that lessons, books, or TV shows (looking at you, Daniel Tiger) can’t.
So, what are some common skills a child could develop on a playground?
Here are just a few examples:
- Collaborating and Cooperation
Let’s look at these individually and see how it could play out.
Learning by Playing
Collaboration and Cooperation
Watching children play imaginary games always amazes me. How do they work out whose imagination is right, whose imagination takes charge? Yes, it is a rocket ship to Billy, but Leroy suddenly adds an asteroid. How do these two boys mingle their imaginations?
One thing is for sure. If they don’t collaborate on their imaginative game, the game comes to an immediate end. Not only does it come to an end, but it can come to a unpleasant end with arguing, fighting, and time-outs.
A commercial plagyround provides a rich environment for imaginative play. How and what the playground transforms into in the children’s minds can vary between recess and, sometimes, minute by minute. But the ever-present need for collaboration and cooperation remains.
Children learn to be flexible with their ideas. They might want the playground to be a castle, but their friends wish a launching pad were attached. A decision is placed before the child; be flexible with what they want or risk having the play descend into fights. And let’s face it, a castle with a launching pad sounds even better than the original idea!
Playing on a commercial playground provides many opportunities for children to learn to collaborate and cooperate for the good of everyone. Now, if we could get the members of Congress and the Senate to play on a playground…
We adults could all use more patience. From waiting at a crowded fast food restaurant for our mobile order to how we respond when we get a notification that our Amazon package is running late, we all could mature in this.
Teaching kids patience at a young age is critical for their success as adults. A commercial playground is full of places to learn patience.
Is someone using your favorite swing? You need to wait patiently for them to get off. You quickly learn the consequences of not being patient if you scrap to get your swing immediately.
A little child is going up the climbing wall slowly? A child needs to exercise patience to wait until the little dude is safely up before taking the climb themselves.
I could continue with examples, but you are clever enough to think of them yourself. A commercial playground for your daycare or preschool will help you reinforce lessons on patience.
This ties in with the above social skills but is worth discussing. What should Sarah do if little Sarah is swinging away and Tommy wants a turn on the swing? Tommy might be sad if she keeps swinging, but she wants to keep going! However, Tommy is her friend, and she heard you talk about how sharing helps make people happy, so she sighs, slides off the swing, and lets Tommy take a turn.
Sharing is such an important life skill. It sets you up to be a kind, caring adult who people trust. Learning to share all the fun slides, swings, and toys on a commercial playground is a significant step.
Right after little Sarah jumped off her swing to let Tommy on, she ran towards the slide, tripped, and fell into the mulch. Thankfully, her fall was cushioned by the playground surfacing, but she still was a bit shaken, as some little ones are after a tumble.
Tommy, who finally got the swing he wanted, sees Sarah sniffling in the mulch. He jumps off his swing and runs over to help her up.
Little moments like this one stacked up over a childhood will develop Tommy into an empathic person. He can put aside his wants and desires because he cares and understands the feelings of others.
Of course, having or not having a commercial playground isn’t the main point. Tommy could be a jerk without ever stepping foot on a playground, or he could be a fantastic person. That being said, a commercial playground for your preschool or daycare will provide plenty of opportunities for your children to learn and practice empathy. At the same time, you, the teacher, will have real-life teaching moments to applaud or correct.
A commercial playground for your preschool or daycare, while not necessary for the development of social skills of the children who come under your care, can help present plenty of opportunities for practicing and sharpening these skills. It will provide the setting for you to teach cooperation, empathy, patience, and sharing.
King Swings Commercial can walk with you every step of the playground shopping journey. Yes, commercial playground shopping can sometimes seem confusing and even frustrating, but we have tried our best to make it as simple as possible.
If you have any questions, please reach out to us!
King Swings Commercial handcrafts vinyl commercial playgrounds in Pareksburg, PA. We are a manufacturer direct and have been making swing sets for 30+ years. Each playground is delivered and installed by our in-house crews.
Justin, the author, has been working in the playground industry for some time now, and his experience as a school teacher and father helps him guide others in their playground shopping journey.