The Importance of Age-Appropriate Play Equipment

Age Appropraite Play Equipment

A playground is an important part of a child’s life. When we think of a playground, we imagine one that’s packed with kids of different shapes and sizes as well as abilities and physical activity levels. To handle such a broad user base, playgrounds need to introduce appropriate play structures that attract and engage children with different capabilities.

Children of different ages have vastly diverse physical, cognitive, and social skills. As you may imagine, preschoolers will need very different playground equipment than preteens. The guidelines for age-appropriate play equipment are clearly stated in the Consumer Product Safety Commission‘s Handbook on Public Playground Safety. The idea behind separate play equipment is to make the environment more secure, entertaining and stimulating.

What is an Age-Appropriate Playground?

The style of play kids enjoy evolves as they get older. Age-appropriate play activities allow children to better express and enjoy themselves. It also encourages them to push and test their bounds. On the other hand, when children are forced to play with equipment that may be too complex for them, it can result in injuries.

Specialized play equipment providers need to find the perfect balance between fun and safe. There are several factors to consider while selecting appropriate play sets for children of different ages, such as the child’s:

  • Size
  • Physical ability
  • Auditory system
  • Mental acuity
  • Stimulation of senses
  • Balance
  • Spatial orientation
  • Gustatory system
  • Olfactory system
  • Proprioceptive development

Benefits of Age-Appropriate Play

By engaging kids of different ages and abilities, age-appropriate playground equipment offer the following benefits:

Physical Health

The NHS recommends that children should have at least 60 minutes of physical activity daily to build their muscles and bones. Thus, children must visit the playground daily and use playground equipment to enhance their fitness and strength. Doing so keeps kids healthy and prevents them from falling sick often.

Challenge

Fear of a complicated piece of equipment may cause children to abandon it, whereas one that provides no challenge becomes less engaging and is finally discarded. It is, therefore, critical to include age-appropriate playground equipment to keep different children interested, while also allowing them to develop their cognitive abilities.

Safety

Playgrounds should be enjoyable, and age-appropriate equipment is crucial for keeping children happy and engaged. A safe playground takes into account the height of the equipment for each child.  What is suitable for a 12-year-old may not be safe for a 2-year-old. Seating and standing heights differ for toddlers, pre-toddlers, and school-age children.

Proper Seat Sizes for Play Equipment

Appropriate Playground Equipment by Age Group

When selecting a play structure, one crucial factor is the age range of the children enjoying the equipment. The three age groups for which gear is typically designed are:

6 – 23 Months

Choose equipment that helps toddlers to exercise their new physical independence while they strive to explore their immediate environment with their senses. When picking material, ensure it is lightweight, low to the ground, and within their grasp. The exteriors should be soft, either foam or rubber wrapped. It is important to select equipment that allows them to crawl or move about comfortably.

Suitable playground equipment for children in this age group are:

  • Ramps
  • Swings with bucket seats
  • Slides of low height
  • Low crawl tunnels

2 – 5 Years

This preschool-level group is eager to attend and enjoy the play equipment. At this age, children attempt to imitate their elders. The play equipment should be physically challenging, while also being safe in height. Children in this age range begin to learn about playing in social groups. Choose play equipment that will encourage their creativity, while also strengthening their body. Sliding and climbing are popular activities among children in this age group.

Suitable playground equipment for children in this age group are:

  • Climbing structures
  • Playhouse
  • Spring riders
  • Ramps

5 – 12 Years

The school-age children are energetic and vibrant. They like more complicated play that provides mental and physical challenges to keep them engaged. Children in the group have learned social skills and are honing their gross and motor abilities, allowing them to incorporate various play equipment into enjoyable activities.

Suitable playground equipment for children in this age group are:

  • Spinners
  • Merry-go-rounds
  • Stairways
  • Vertical sliding poles

A playground is an excellent area for children to learn and develop fundamental skills. For their overall development and playground safety, age-appropriate equipment is a must. In addition, the age group of the users should be explicitly stated in the play areas, as the proper equipment is critical in helping children progress physically, cognitively, and socially.

Age Appropriate Toys
Image Source: https://pinterest.com/pin/562175965956621313/

5 Fun Alternatives To Classroom Learning

Classroom learning refers to the traditional way of teaching within the physical confines of a classroom within a structured learning environment. This setup requires students and teachers to be physically present in the school during in-classroom education.

It’s about the teacher taking center stage and doing all the talking while the students are glued to their chairs, listening. The focus is solely on giving pieces of information without regard to teacher-student engagement.

Alternative Activities for Learning

Student-centered learning refers to a vast variety of educational programs, learning experiences, instructional methods, and academic-support activities that help meet the unique learning needs, interests, aspirations, or cultural backgrounds of individuals and groups of students.

Because of this, there have been several fun alternatives to classroom learning that schools and educators use today to help improve students’ learning engagement and performance.

To date, there are multiple options of alternative activities for learning; it’s no longer just confined to a four-cornered room. Some are doable whether a child is enrolled in a traditional, online, or homeschool setup.

1. Learning Through Play

A term used in psychology and education to describe how kids might learn to understand their environment is learning through play. The act of playing can help a child grow emotionally, improve their social and cognitive skills, and increase their self-confidence as they explore new situations.

Children learn through play. The skills they learn include problem-solving, strategic thinking, relating to others, and managing life’s ups and downs.

2. Learning Through Field Trips

Field trips help strengthen a child’s education. It’s an activity where a student or group goes out of the classroom and visits a specific place to learn and explore. Field visits are frequently seen as an essential aspect of the educational process in a school setting. Students often remember them as some of their favorite and most memorable school days.

While field trips can enhance a history lesson about the Civil Rights movement or a textbook chapter on marine life, they also have other educational benefits. They provide teachers and students with an opportunity to interact outside of the classroom. The sharing of experiences strengthens the relationship between teachers and students, as well as the friendships between classmates.

When kids have a shared connection with their classmates, they are more comfortable sharing knowledge and assisting each other in their learning as the school year progresses. In addition, they can develop long-lasting friendships throughout their academic careers.

3. Learning Through Road Schooling

Road schooling may be a unique form of homeschooling, but this can also be a great alternative experience for students enrolled in a traditional school. It is similar to field trips because road schooling combines travel and education.

Going on road trips is a fun and exciting way to explore different regions throughout the country and around the world. Making road schooling easy will be a breeze if you plan it as a family. It’s flexible, as you can plan trips based on your needs and interests. Thus, you’ll have the opportunity to strengthen family ties and make priceless memories.

Students Learning Outside of the Classroom

4. Learning Through Scavenger Hunt

A scavenger hunt is an activity where the hosts create a list of specified items that the participants must collect or accomplish, usually without spending any money. Scavenger hunts are generally participated in by people in small groups, but you can always modify them to make it an individual hunt.

Scavenger hunts offer kids a practical platform for problem-solving and computational thinking. Students can apply techniques they learned from their parents or teachers, resulting in a more successful learning experience. It is easy to adapt a scavenger hunt to the interests and abilities of your child.

5. Learning Through Role-Playing

Role-playing allows students to directly apply the material by placing them in the position of a decision maker. Using this method keeps students engaged and allows them to communicate with one another while working on the task set for them. Students may work in groups on this activity or act out their roles for the entire class period.

Through this process, students become more engaged with the content as they attempt to respond to it from their character’s perspective. Moreover, it inspires students and improves existing teaching methods by providing real-world examples. As a result, they can develop and use practical skills (negotiation, debate, teamwork, cooperation, persuasion).

Final Thoughts

Alternative activities may be a preferred method for most educators and parents, the foundation upon which we all stand is the traditional classroom. It’s important to note, as contemporary educators, to add and incorporate new, successful teaching methods to adapt to the changing times. Changing little things here and there is never a bad thing if it means students will learn better and love learning more.

A Useful Guide That Will Help Your Kids Sleep Better at Night

Guide That Will Help Your Kids Sleep Better at Night

Parents always want what’s best for their children, and that includes ensuring they get a good night’s sleep. Lack of sleep can lead to all sorts of problems for kids, including poor performance in school and trouble focusing. In this article, we will discuss some tips that can help your kids get the sleep they need.

Follow these guidelines and your children will be sleeping like babies in no time!

A consistent bedtime routine

One of the most important things you can do to help your children sleep better at night is to establish a bedtime routine. A consistent bedtime routine will signal to your kids that it’s time to wind down and go to sleep. Bedtime routines can vary from family to family, but should generally include some calming activities such as reading or taking a bath.

For example, you might have a bedtime routine that looks something like this:

  • Give your child a bath
  • Put on pajamas
  • Brush teeth
  • Read a story
  • Turn off the lights and say goodnight

If you can stick to this same routine every night, your children will start to associate certain activities with sleep and will be more likely to fall asleep quickly.

Try a sound machine

If your kids are struggling to fall asleep, a sound machine can be a godsend. The white noise from a sound machine can help to drown out any outside noise that might be keeping your child awake. There are all sorts of different sound machines available on the market, so find one that fits your needs and budget. On the other hand, you can also try sound-blocking earplugs that may help even more with improving sleep quality right away. The important thing is to find something that works for your family. Once you have found a method that appears to work from the beginning, you should stick to it.

Get them moving during the day

It might seem counterintuitive, but one of the best things you can do to help your kids get sleep is to make sure they get plenty of exercise during the day. Exercise will help to tire them out and make it easier for them to fall asleep at night. Just make sure that you don’t allow them to exercise too close to bedtime, as this can have the opposite effect and make it harder for them to fall asleep.

Additionally, when your kids are getting their exercise during the day, make sure they are getting some exposure to natural sunlight. This will help to regulate their internal clocks and make it easier for them to fall asleep when it’s time for bed.

Creating a peaceful sleep environment

Another important factor in getting your kids to sleep well at night is to create a comfortable sleep environment. This means making sure the room is dark and quiet and that the bed is comfortable. If your child’s room is too bright or noisy, try using blackout curtains or a white noise machine to help them sleep. For a child with a restless mind, a weighted blanket can also be helpful in promoting relaxation.

It is a well-known notion that children who are not comfortable will wake up more frequently during the night. Keep the room cool; too much or no heat may also disrupt sleep. The bottom line is that you want your kid to feel as comfy as possible when they’re attempting to nod off.

Limit screen time before bed

Limit Screen Time for a Better Sleep for Kids

It’s important to limit your child’s screen time before bed. This means no TV, computers, or phones in the hour leading up to sleep. The blue light from screens can disrupt the body’s natural sleep cycle, making it harder for kids to fall asleep. If you are struggling to get your child to put down their devices, try setting a rule that all screens must be turned off at least 30 minutes before bedtime. Otherwise, consider investing in a pair of blue-light-blocking glasses that can help to reduce the effects of screen time on sleep.

Encourage them to sleep on their back

One of the best things you can do for your child’s sleep is to encourage them to sleep on their back. This position allows the head, neck, and spine to rest in a neutral position and can help to prevent some common problems like ear infections, headaches, and even SIDS. If your child is used to sleeping in another position, it might take some time to adjust, but it’s worth it for the long-term health benefits.

It may be difficult to get your kids to sleep, but it’s essential for their health and development. You can assist your children to obtain the excellent rest they require to flourish by following the recommendations in this article.

10 Creative Ideas to Make a Boys’ Balloon Themed Birthday 

Creative Ideas to Make a Boys' Balloon Themed Birthday 

If preparing for a boy’s birthday is on your agenda, this article is for you.  Much different than planning activities for adults, being engaged in the organization of a child’s birthday takes a different mindset.  This is especially true when it comes to decorating, entertainment programs, children’s menu, and more.

Today we will talk about how to decorate a boys’ birthday with balloons. A huge batman balloon is a nice idea, but are there other options? There are plenty!

Ceiling

Launching helium balloons up to the ceiling is the easiest way to decorate a room with your own hands, which does not require special design skills. Depending on the size of the room, you may need two to three dozen balloons for this purpose. You can buy one-color or multi-colored balloons with helium to decorate the room. A combination of any two colors looks good. The balls can also be used for gaming competitions. A budget option is to decorate the room with ordinary rubber balloons inflated with air. With the help of threads or ribbons, they can be hung throughout the apartment: on windows, chandeliers, furniture, and cornices.

Balloons on the floor

Another idea on how to decorate a child’s birthday: balloons inflated with air can be randomly laid out on the floor and furniture. This will undoubtedly please children very much and will encourage them to play.

Compositions

A more complex option is to use various figures and compositions from balls. The decorated wall looks very nice. In order to decorate the wall, you must first consider the motif of the picture. It can be a flower meadow, a congratulatory inscription, or a fragment from a fairy tale. Then you can make design elements (flowers, sun, clouds, fairy-tale characters) and attach them to the wall with adhesive tape. This task is not an easy one. It is better, of course, to seek help from specialists, but if you wish, you can do everything yourself.

Bouquets of balloons

Coming up with truly unique birthday party ideas can be a lot fun for parents.  Balloon flower bouquets are another great idea to add some fun to a boy’s birthday party. They can be placed in vases or fixed with tape in any place you like.

Numbers

Children, unlike adults, are happy that they are getting older every year, so you can amuse the child’s pride and order a balloon number to decorate the room. The easiest option is to buy a foil balloon in the shape of a number and fix it on the wall. A more expensive but effective way is to order a free-standing figure in the form of a figure that displays the age of the child.

Letters

Every young boy will feel amazed when seeing his name made of balloons! This option is simple but impressive. Moreover, such a solution is a great area for taking photos.

Figures of fairy tale characters

A helium-filled foil balloon in a cartoon character shape can become not only a holiday decoration but also a true friend for a boy. He can play with it, dance, and participate in competitions. The walking balloon figures have weights placed in the lower part, therefore they do not fly up to the ceiling but seem to walk on the floor, driven by air currents from children running past. Such figures are very popular with children and give them real delight.

Arches, columns, garlands, fountains, and figures

It is pretty difficult to make arches, columns, garlands, fountains, and figures from balls with your own hands, so it is better to order those in an aero design studio. But all your expenses associated with their purchase will pay off when you see the sparkling eyes of the birthday boy.

Theme party

With the help of balloons, you can arrange some kind of theme party. For example, if you want to have a Hawaiian-style birthday party, you can order palm trees. If the topic is Batman, you can order a huge Batman figure, etc.

Surprise balloon

You can decorate a child’s birthday by ordering a surprise balloon. Before hanging the ball from the ceiling, it is filled with small balls, confetti, sweets, tinsel, and small toys. Up to a certain point, it plays the role of decoration, but then it is blown up. This causes a wild delight in children. At first, the children admire the explosion, and then they rush to collect scattered candies and toys. You can even triple a small competition – who will collect the most trophies. Inside the ball, you can hide a gift for the birthday boy. He will definitely be surprised!

Looking for more fund ideas that can be done indoors for kids?  Explore these physical indoor games kids can play at home.

Safer Search

What does it take to provide a safer web experience for kids? It takes a combination of tools and resources working together in unison: internet filtering, safe and secure browsing, parental control apps, and education. That is our mission at Safe Search Kids as we work to deliver these four cornerstones of online safety to parents, teachers, and students.