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Playgrounds for a healthier generation 

Hand Made Places explain why playing outside is one of the most effective ways to tackle childhood obesity

Posted by Hannah Vickers | April 28, 2017 | Outdoors

As technology advances, more children tend to be staying indoors playing on mobiles and watching TV, which has contributed to increased childhood obesity. According to figures from the NHS, around 10% of children are obese in their first year of school. We need to encourage children get outdoors and exercise, and one of the best ways for them to exercise is through play. As well as promoting physical development, play is crucial to children’s healthy development and happiness. 

One of the best ways for children to stay both physically and mentally healthy is through access to a variety of unstructured play experiences and schools offer an ideal opportunity for children to play and interact with other children. Active play at lunchtime in the playground is important: it can have a big impact on health and it stimulates the mind.

Being active helps to strengthen bones, aid weight management and increase self-esteem

In order to provide a healthy school environment, it is important for schools to develop a strong play element and to teach children about the benefits of playing and exercising outdoors. Being active helps to strengthen bones, aid weight management and increase self-esteem, which has a positive impact on children within the classroom environment. Playground equipment provides a fun way for kids to stay active and helps to prevent obesity. It also encourages children to engage in physical activity without realising they are exercising.

A well-designed playground, consisting of a variety of playground equipment, can provide a fun and exciting way for children to get outdoors and take part in physical play, helping pupils to stay active and healthy. Free play provides an opportunity for those children not interested in exercise or joining a sports club, to take part in a form of regular exercise. Physical active play contributes to children’s exercise levels, which may be lacking within a home environment due to the increase in technological devices and the number of local playgrounds being closed. 

Playground equipment can be designed to encourage fitness and active play and to suit a range of ages and abilities. It also provides variation to play and physical activity children engage in. A playground which consists of a variety of activities encourages children to be active as they explore and try new challenges, such as climbing across a traverse wall, balancing on a rope bridge, or hopping across stepping stones. It helps with children to develop strength, fitness, agility, co-ordination and balance. 

Encouraging children to be active not only helps pupils to take part in exercise, which has a long term effect on their health, but also has a positive impact back in the classroom with academic achievement

Encouraging children to be active not only helps pupils to take part in exercise, which has a long term effect on their health, but also has a positive impact back in the classroom with academic achievement. Physical play increases self-esteem, reduces street and increases concentration and motivation levels. 

Providing a welcoming and well-designed playground can have positive impact for any education establishment. Timber playground equipment is well suited to schools and nurseries, as it is aesthetically pleasing. Timber playground equipment fits in with any surrounding environment and provide a natural and welcoming feel, encouraging children to use the equipment. 

A trim trail is perfect for any school wanting to encourage outdoor activity at schools. Trim trails are versatile and consist of a range of different challenges creating an exercise circuit. They can strengthen both the lower and upper body, whilst also developing co-ordination and balancing skills. The versatility means that they can be designed to fit into any space. Trim trails provide a challenging exercise circuit that offers physical activity for the whole school and can also be used by younger children to encourage imaginative and physical play. 

Play units are made up of many different elements, such as scramble nets, pull up ramps and steps, to name just a few. Low level play units are available for early year’s settings, whereas more challenging play units are available for more advanced ages and abilities. 

Encouraging outdoor play at school is important, as children may not get the opportunity when at home, due to the number of playgrounds being closed down. Outdoor play at school may serve as an important factor of helping to combat obesity in children. Being healthy, both physically and mentally from a young age can have a long term positive impact on an individual. Playground equipment, provides a fun and exciting way for children to engage in outdoor active play, without partaking in strenuous exercise. 

Investing in a well-designed, and welcoming playground now could be a cost effective means of combatting or preventing, childhood obesity. Good play experiences can also enhance children’s mental health.

By providing safe and supervised places and time to play, schools can play an integral role in increasing children’s time outdoors, and potentially in reducing children’s risk of obesity. 

For more information about Hand Made Placesvisit their website. 

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