Benefits Of Slides In Playgrounds
Most children love to play on slides at the playground and will seek them out when they visit a new or familiar spot. Other than a slide being a lot of fun to play on, what are the benefits of going on slides for children? Let’s have a look at the benefits of slides in playgrounds and discuss why children like them so much.
How does a slide help a child’s development?
A slide helps a child’s development in numerous ways including:
- Vestibular stimulation which means that it provokes the ear canal and the fluids in it. This helps children develop a healthy sense of balance.
- Healthy risk taking. Children learn to assess a playground scene and decide which parts are a good idea for them to try. They learn to wait till the slide is clear before they go down it to keep themselves and others safe.
- Builds confidence. A child might be nervous about going down a slide at first but they will usually feel good after they do it and want to try it again.
- Patience and cooperation skills. Children learn to take turns and wait for others to finish before they go down.
- Gives space for creativity. Children often get stuck into imaginative play at the playground. The slide might become a tunnel into another world in their games for example. What fun! This is great for their brain’s development and education too.
What are the benefits of slides for children?
Slides have lots of benefits for children. First and foremost, going down a slide is fun and children tend to enjoy playing on them. It feels good for them to slide down and reach the bottom. As detailed above, slides are also excellent for children’s physical and mental development. Children learn to play with others, improve their sense of balance, learn to assess risk and build confidence when they play on slides.
Playing on a slide in the playground is a great example of active play which has two main benefits.
- First of all, it’s good for children’s physical health to move and be active for extended periods of time each day.
- Second of all, when children engage in active play they are more likely to dive into imaginative play which is key for their mental development.
What are the disadvantages of playground slides?
There are sometimes accidents when children play on a playground slide. They can and do fall, or slide in a way that causes an injury to themselves or others. Sometimes in the summer, slides can become too hot to play on, or conversely, too slippery to use on rainy days.
Many slides are made from plastic or other unsustainable materials that do not break down easily after use. This is a problem for the environment because there is already enough plastic waste material sitting in landfill. Playground equipment like slides are essentially large toys that will take a long time to disappear after they are no longer needed. However, some other pieces of apparatus like climbing frames, are often made from wood which can at least break down over time and is more environmentally friendly.
There is an argument that playgrounds in general, with slides and so on, offer too much structure for children’s play and that true free play is what they need. The movement promotes natural playgrounds and loose parts play to encourage children to assess risk, cooperate and overcome challenges.
Why do children love slides?
Children learn to understand their bodies and it feels good to overcome a fear or worry when they go down a slide they’ve never been on before. Going down a slide makes you feel free and uninhibited. It releases endorphins, which is not good just for children. Think about the last time you went down a slide or water slide and how good it felt!
What age can a child go down a slide?
It is a good idea to review each playground and its equipment before your child starts play. Children from 12-18 months can start to try out slides. Take care that they are no more than 4 feet long and you are close by. Once they get older and taller, they can try out longer slides with twists and turns. It is not recommended that a child goes down a slide on their parent’s lap so make sure they can independently sit and slide by themselves.
Are slides safe for kids?
As long as kids follow basic safety advice then slides are usually safe for them. You can never eliminate all risk (nor would you want to since it is good for their development) and accidents do happen. Overall though, most children safely enjoy playing on slides. Make sure your children always go down slides feet first. Also, check the slide is clear first before they slide down and climb up any steps slowly using the handrails.
Why are plastic slides used in playgrounds?
Plastic is an affordable, durable material that holds up well to the elements which makes it a popular choice for playground manufactures. You will see metal slides in some playgrounds and while they work well, they can heat up quickly on a hot day. Plastic cools more quickly and heats up more slowly than other materials so it can be used in every season. Some plastic slide materials are mixed with wood or made from recycled materials to improve their eco-credentials.
It is also relatively easy to create different shapes, curves and bends in plastic slides using moulds. Doing so in other materials can be tricky, time consuming and therefore more expensive.
Should kids climb up slides?
As long as there are no children waiting to come down the slide many parents and playground manufactures say, why not? Climbing up a slide helps develop upper body muscles and encourages determination. It is not an easy thing to do and it is likely your child will fail time and time again. When this happens they learn to try again and to overcome fear of failure. As with all playground play, keep an eye on your child and only let them try to climb up a slide when it is safe to do so.
Slides are fun for most of us and allow children to go outside and engage in activity. Not only that, but slides are good for their physical and mental development. Match the play equipment to your child’s age and development, and supervise them as they play. This way they can have all that fun, get all the benefits of playing on a slide and stay safe.