Three things all preschool playgrounds should have:
Beyond factoring in smaller playground equipment, school administrators and public park officials may also want to provide age-appropriate features that stimulate creativity, friendship and educational growth. How can you do this with a couple of slides, a swing set and a few other playground staples? Here are three things that all preschool playgrounds should have.
1. Sandbox: If there’s one thing that little children go wild for, it’s playing in the sand. Supplied with a shovel, buckets and an array of different toys, preschoolers can feel like masters of the universe in a playground sandbox. Not only is this great for letting kids have fun with their friends, but it encourages children to think creatively and build skyscrapers or castles made from packed sand. Whether you just want to have a tiny sandbox in the corner of the play area or cover a larger portion of the playground with sand – also a nice safety feature – this is a must for preschoolers.
2. Forts: While tire swings and seesaws may spring to mind when you picture a school playground, one feature that all play areas should offer are a variety of forts, playhouses or similar four-walled structures. These features are important because they can be used in a variety of ways that are entirely up to children’s imaginations. For instance, a simple wooden structure with a roof can easily be transformed into a medieval castle, doctor’s office or spooky cave during dramatic play.
3. Swing Set: Strengthening friendships and social skills is a major function of preschool playgrounds, which is why swing sets are so important. More than just a way for kids to feel like they’re flying, the act of pushing another child on a swing helps encourage teamwork and coordination. Preschoolers can also learn to trust and rely on their friends to look out for them by swinging with a partner. The same can be said of other playground equipment, such as seesaws or tire swings, which achieve the same benefits of play.
Fun, simple games for preschoolers to enjoy on the playground:
So what can you do to encourage fun but safe play among preschoolers on school playgrounds? You might want to think about organizing a few of these enjoyable, simple games for the students.
Freeze Tag: Tag is a classic game that children young and old can enjoy, and freeze tag takes this classic concept and throws in a slight twist. One child starts as the seeker or “it” and must tag as many of the other children as possible to bring new members to his or her team. However, the difference with freeze tag is how children actually get caught. Instead of automatically being out once they have been tagged, children must freeze in place and count to 10 out loud. The other untagged children then have the chance to un-freeze these players by tagging them back.
I Spy: This simple game is a great way to teach children how to be observant of their surroundings. One player starts by picking an object within sight as the secret item. Once this has been chosen, the player recites, “I spy with my little eye something… ” and then inserts a color or vague description of the hidden object. The other children can then go around in a circle and take turns guessing what the item might be. You can also set a limit about how many incorrect guesses the other players can make before the first player wins.
Telephone: For an easy game that is sure to generate a lot of laughs among preschoolers playing on the playground, consider a good old-fashioned game of telephone. Have the children start by arranging themselves in a line or horseshoe shape in the play area. The first child in sequence then comes up with a short phrase and whispers it once into the ear of the player next to him or her. Each child then whispers it once into the ear of the next person until it makes its way down the line. The last player then says the phrase out loud while the first player compares it to the original. Often, the end result is a hilarious transformation of what began as a simple sentence.
Three tips for developing a safe playground for preschoolers:
If you would like to create playgrounds for toddlers and preschoolers at your facility, safety is going to need to be a priority. Little ones are prone to slips and falls, meaning supervision and durable playground equipment are necessary. However, this might be a change of pace for you if you’re used to supervising older kids who need less attention. Here are some tips for playgrounds designed for preschoolers, as well as how to increase safety.
1. Be Mindful of Tripping Hazards: Stumps or rocks can be problematic around your playground if you have young children in the area, according to Parenting Starts Here, ideally, you should take the time to identify these hazards and remove them before allowing kids to come play. Keep in mind that the potential for tripping may arise over time depending on your environment. For example, severe weather may blow branches onto your playground.
2. Prepare For An Emergency: GreatSchools stated that everyone who supervises on your playground should know where emergency equipment is located. In the event of an accident, adults should know where to turn if they need first aid supplies to treat a wound. Training people ahead of time can dramatically reduce the chances of a severe accident.
3. Teach Kids How to Use the Equipment: Children should be instructed how to use the playground equipment while they’re visiting. Additionally, the items should be examined and deemed safe before letting little ones roam free. When designing your playground, keep your visitors in mind to ensure that your venue is safe for them – abide by height requirements and other restrictions that increase the protection for preschool-aged kids who might come to play.