Play and healthy lifestyle choices are not very often seen in the same sentence. However when it comes to Hand Made Places we believe that play ‘plays’ a huge part in the overall health of our children.
From a young age ‘play’ is seen as a way to encourage development. The EYFS community encourage play in ‘pre-school’ age children in order to enhance social skills as well as developing key life skills.
You can read more about EYFS, and how play can be used to encourage development in our blog, by following this link.
As children progress in school, play is often seen as purely recreational. However, at Hand Made Places we do not agree.
Play is a huge part of a child’s life. Certain aspects of play can be used to enhance learning and even provide physical activity. That is why we believe that in order to focus on our children’s health, we need to improve their play!
It has been made evident over the years that children today are not getting enough physical outdoor exercise and instead are spending long periods of time on computer games, phones and/or tablets.
Too much screen time is not good for children’s health. Therefore we would like to show our support for the API campaign #Movement4Movement. This campaign aims to try and get children more interested in physical play.
Children who do not get enough outdoor physical play, are more likely to suffer from weight related issues which can include both physical and mental illnesses.
Therefore we have outlined some fun and creative ways in which you can entice children to get more excited over outdoor play, and put away their games consoles.
… Using physical play equipment.
Children have a vast and wild imagination and by tapping into it we can promote new fun and interesting ways to play with our ‘physical play’ equipment range.
Introduce games to Trim Trails…
Trim trails offer a range of different activities for children which will go a long way to improving their health. Apparatus such as the Balance Beams and Rota Log are perfect for improving balance, whereas the Reach or Vine walk are useful for improving muscle flexibility and bone strength.
By suggesting different games to play on these trim trails you can further enhance the fun factor of these great pieces – ensuring children remain entertained …
One of our favourite Trim Trail games is:
The floor is lava!
This is a classic game that children love to play.
Children will get on to a higher surface and challenge their friends to not touch the floor. This is a great game that can be played on a range of our trim trail equipment.
Don’t forget that if you touch the floor you’ll have to head back to the start!
By ensuring children go back to the beginning if they touch the floor will encourage them to keep going, until they complete the course. This promotes the well-known phrase:
“If at first you don’t succeed, try, try and try again!”
This is a great life lesson! You can even get children who have already completed the course to help the others to finish too! Promoting healthy relationships between peers.
Create a new world using play units…
Traditional Play Units are a great way to encourage play amongst children, no matter what age! And though the traditional designs can provide hours of fun, by using one of our interestingly designed play units to create an entire new world you can spark hours of both fun and activity!
At Hand Made Places we have plenty of play units which can be used in this way, however one of our personal favourites is the sea themed play areas!
An underwater adventure!
By placing the Newquay Pirate Ship in any playground will allow children to improve muscle flexibility, bone strength and fitness outlooks all whilst engaging in play!
Children can get their full amount of exercise using this play unit, as it provides a myriad of health benefits.
You can increase the fun factor by turning this unit into a full underwater adventure by adding the Shark, Octopus and Sea Monster play sculptures. This will spur the imagination.
You can also improve the physical element by playing some fun nautical themed games too!
There is a great game which you can play with this equipment called ‘Pirates’ –
In this game a small group of pupils will need to line up in front of the teacher.
The teacher will then call out a set of instructions to encourage the pupils to get moving.
The commands include:
‘Port’, ‘Starboard’ or ‘Stern’ – When the pupils here these commands they should move to either the left, the right or the back of the teacher. (You can use the ‘boat’ play unit for this too)
Then when the teacher calls ‘Climb the rigging’ children should attempt to get to higher ground, and when the teacher shouts ‘Hit the deck’ children should attempt to get as low as they can.
This is a great inventive way to get the most activity out of children who are using this ‘sea’ themed play equipment.
Our final idea comes with the use of outdoor fitness equipment:
Outdoor Fitness Fun…
Our Outdoor Fitness machines are specifically designed to enable children to engage in workouts whilst having fun. However we believe that you can further enhance the equipment by introducing games which you can play whilst using the equipment.
Create your very own circus!
Our Children’s Balance Beams are perfect for improving balance and stability and are a great piece to put in your outdoor circus area.
By placing Outdoor Gym Equipment in an imaginative area will allow children to benefit from the physical activity whilst they play.
Surround equipment with the Lion Glockenspiel and Dizzy Disk for a fun circus feel.
You can also create paper plate spinning areas, and even encourage children to practice their juggling too.
Why not cover this area in a Broxap ‘Big Top’ canopy to ensure children can enjoy active outdoor play no matter what the weather.
For other interesting ways to use Outdoor Fitness Equipment, head over to our blog on Sunshine Gym.
Physical play is the best way to encourage activity amongst children, no matter what their age. So why not give some of our great suggestions a try?