8 Ways the School Playground boosts Wellbeing & Mental Health

Play and wellbeing go hand in hand for children. Here we look at 8 ways the school playground can give wellbeing and mental health a needed boost.

When most people think of outdoor play, many associate it with physical benefits. And yes, it does indeed encourage more activity and exercise. But it isn’t just the physical development that’s of value here, it’s the benefits to mental development too.

Play and wellbeing

Getting the physical exercise

Being physically active is an important part of our wellbeing and welfare. This is especially so given that childhood obesity is rising and the dangers of excessive screen-time are being highlighted. Playing provides the perfect occupation for children to keep their minds engaged and their bodies active.

Play reduces stress

We know that children are full of energy, and playgrounds are the perfect way to burn it. A well-designed playground allows children to relax and simply be themselves in a stress-free environment.

The development of social skills

Play areas are a fantastic place to meet new friends and form new bonds. Being socially secure is a great boost to our welling and mental health. Playing encourages children to speak in sentences and use new, task-related vocabulary. It also helps develop other important social skills, such as listening to another viewpoint, explaining your ideas to others and learning to wait ‘your turn’.

Helps sharpen the focus

After playtime, children return to the classroom ready to focus on their learning. Physical exertion releases chemicals, such as endorphins, that trigger positive feelings in the human body and make us more receptive to teaching. Without breaking off to play, a child’s attention would soon wane and not a lot of information would be absorbed.

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Teaches children to express themselves

Self-esteem is an important aspect of our wellbeing, and role play is great way to build it in children. It lets them express themselves and their feelings, and enables them to understand their own emotions and those of others.

Acting as individuals

Whilst group play is important, spending time playing alone also has some beneficial aspects. Independence, self-confidence, and decision-making skills are all improved. Learning to occupy themselves and stay focused on a task is also good for wellbeing and a quality that they’ll value later in life too.

Boosts imagination and creativity

Play gives children a chance to truly let their imaginations run wild and create worlds of their own. Worlds that they have control over and where they can’t make a mistake. Whether it’s a make-believe game or an arts & crafts activity, play provides children the freedom to explore new possibilities and think outside the box – to come up with unique ideas as well as creative solutions to challenges they face.

Helps develop strategic skills and problem solving

Play helps children form important problem-solving skills that will be an asset throughout life. To take a considered action involves complex thought processes, running something through in their minds and considering the potential outcomes of the action. Children then make a judgment whether they carry out that action.

Call in the play and wellbeing experts

At Playcubed, we are on hand to help create a bespoke outdoor learning space that encourages learning in the playground. We’d love to hear from you on 01322 279799 or you can contact us online here.

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