Friday, March 31, 2017

Play For a Better Tomorrow

This post was sponsored by Landscape Structures as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central. All opinions expressed in my post are my own

Play. It's one of the most important things you can do with your children.

I can close my eyes right now and here the way my shoes ran through the loose round gravel on the playground. The swish, swish, swish of feet tearing around the structures taking chase and the pain of kneeling it a crouched position during hide and seek trying not to give your position away with an audible yelp.

We all have memories of our favorite playgrounds as a child. For me, it was the metal dome structured jungle gym that seemed as large a the Thunderdome. I can still see the afternoon sun glinting off the long metal slide; the one that seemed impossibly tall and turned more than its share away from the resulting whoosh to the earth.

And then there was the metal train welded together and painted red, blue, and white so many times that you could see the layers of history right before you as it peeled away from the hands that rung around them for grip or climbed them with hands and feet that seemed to pause in the very air searching for contact with a pole.

And on those days when the sun rains down, there's no better place to be than at a playground listening to the giggles of upside down girls and boys chattering like monkeys while your little ones explore utilitarian structures that become castles, submarines, and spaceships alike.

Play on a playground teaches children persistence, leadership, competition, bravery, support, and empathy through play with each other. Play on a playground is one of the best things, and cheapest by far that you can do for the development of the whole child.

I will always marvel at my children's ability to meet someone on the playground and instantly become friends like they already know each other from long ago. This acceptance is achieved easily through play. But the greatest achievement is that we celebrate each other not only because of our similarities but also because of our differences.

What's important about play is learning that sometimes we will fall but it's how we rise back up that makes the difference in this life. I will always remember the early days of bringing my daughter to the park and how she would watch the older kids swinging from the monkey bars. I would hold her from below until she pushed my hands away. Eventually she wanted to try it on her own.

Time after time, she failed. So many times, she fell and cried and I consoled her. Many times I scooped her up and we walked away from the park in tears. I'd dry her eyes and tell her that next time she'd do it. Persistence and courage helped her get there. I'll never forget the first time she got all the way across on her own or how she spent the next two hours going back and forth until her hands were raw from swinging. Learning that sometimes the things you want to achieve don't always come easily is a lesson you can learn on the playground.

That's why it is important to find places to play that are for all children. Landscape Structures is partnered with University of Minnesota's Institute of Childhood Development to research how play helps develop the whole child by creating leaders, encouraging collaboration, and teaching about the values of persistence and problem solving. We shouldn't be hindered by perceptions of what we can and can't do and that's why Landscape Structures supports playgrounds that are designed for all ages and abilities. Finding them is easy if you use the Landscape Structures website to locate a playground near you.

So get out and play on a playground near you and help shape our world's children by getting them to learn through play. Your contribution to their growth means that we will have a better tomorrow if they play today.

Watch the video called For A Better Tomorrow We Play Today and tell me what your favorite part of the video was in the comments below. What was your favorite thing to play on as a kid?

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1 comment:

  1. I know this was sponsored ... but it is so true. Kids build memories on those playgrounds, and learn important lessons in life. Thanks for sharing this!