AT1 Action Shots (5)As the nights draw in and the days get shorter, it’s difficult to envisage yourself sitting in the park on a cold Wednesday afternoon. Children will be wanting to get back and watch their favourite cartoon, or play their latest video game but it’s a key part of early-stage development for children to be out exercising and the local park is a perfect place for it. Here are just some of the reasons why playing in the park is not only good for children’s physical health but also their mental well-being and development: Getting rid of school frustration Behaving at school for the day is a tough ask for most children and you can find them becoming hard to deal with in the evenings if they don’t have the opportunity to channel their built-up energy. The playground is a great way to get children active, using their energy in the right way and letting them relax in an environment away from the classroom. Good for the mind In early-stage development, interaction with other children and the equipment has a lot of benefits for the mind. Even as children move into the ages of 8-12, encouraging them to go to the park instead of being on the Xbox will provide them the foundation of better social interaction and you will see the benefits as they move into their teens. Here are some of the additional mental benefits of playground interaction: • Improve self-confidence • Provide inspiration and imagination • Helps social development • Creates a sense of freedom Imagination and freedom In the world of smart phones, tablets and video games, there are so many temptations for children to be indoors and lose themselves in the digital world. With the brightness of the screens, prolonged use of these devices can lead to long term sight damage, but it can also restrict their imagination of being outside and creating their own stories. The playground is an environment that breeds imagination, and some of the best days that children will remember will be spent in the park. Health and well-being Exercise and playing in the playground has been shown to directly impact a child’s self-esteem. Interacting with other children, while also learning to use playground equipment independently but in a safe environment helps to build confidence in children. As well as this, being outdoors during the winter months allows children to benefit from the small amount of sunshine we get at this time of year. Additionally, most playground equipment gets children active and ensures that they get the physical exercise they need to stay fit and healthy. Safe playing environment One of the reasons the local park has remained a popular destination for parents to take their children to play is that it offers a safe playing environment. From safety surfacing under equipment that children can jump off to safety fencing, playgrounds are designed and built with children’s safety in mind. As well as this park playground equipment is well maintained and repaired, so that you don’t have to worry about your child playing on dangerous equipment. This means that you can give your child the freedom of playing on the equipment independently while you can find a bench and sit back with a warm cup of tea or coffee and watch as your child has fun exploring the play area.