A Movement Is Afoot to Bring Children Back to the Playgrounds

Kids playing on playground equipment.
Image via General Recreation Inc.

A movement is underway nationwide to get children moving again by promoting safe and stimulating play at local playgrounds, according to a July 2022 article at voiceofplay.org.

A decrease in children’s physical activity can contribute to social, developmental and other health issues.

Researchers have found that children are three to five times more active while playing outside than when staying indoors.

Active children are more likely to maintain a healthy weight, perform better in school, make healthier choices as teenagers, become more active adults and not have chronic diseases later in life.

Playgrounds can also build a sense of community, reduce social isolation and help children and adults come together.

The idea of play in America was a response to the Industrial Revolution’s realities of big cities and long workdays.

The first playgrounds were built in the 19th century to provide poor, immigrant children living in crowded tenement neighborhoods a safe and stimulating “outdoor gymnasiums” and “sand gardens.”

Playgrounds and play movement continued to evolve, with recreational elements added for adults and sports fields and courts for children.  Playgrounds took on different themes of adventure, destination, inclusive, fitness and eco-friendly.

Play is once again being promoted post-pandemic.

There are different ways communities can get involved. Volunteer groups can spruce up local playgrounds by power washing, painting and replacing or fixing broken pieces.

Add classic sidewalk games like hopscotch and four squares.  Communities might want to look into a safer surface like rubber mulch or investing in a few new pieces of equipment, or seating for parents and caregivers.

Figure out what might make your existing playscape more appealing. You could add slides, swings or climbing structures, or create a whole new section for a fitness circuit, splash pad, a climbing wall, a playhouse or anything else you can imagine

In with the new

If you live in a community with no playground but would like to have one, you’ll need a few things to get it built—backing from your neighbors, and a plan with a design, location and budget approved by township officials.  From there, you will need to find a funding source, whether it’s private donations and fundraisers, or government grants.

The last stage is building your new playground with the necessary permits and professional guidance and assistance, if needed.

General Recreation

General Recreation Inc. serves Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware, and has helped hundreds of community leaders and organizations build playgrounds that are safe, aesthetically pleasing and made to last.

General Recreation project are supported by expert and trusted services, including site evaluation, playground design, installation and community build services.

Whether your playground will consist of outdoor playground at a pre-school or a large community playground, experienced commercial playground experts will help you every step of the way.

Find out more about the work of General Recreation.

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