Snagging a turn on the swings at school is the goal of many-a-playtime when you’re younger. The same goes for kid’s outdoor slides – they’re fast, fun, and give you a thrill. But which one is best? And why do children go again and again to these particular pieces of school playground equipment?
Here we’ll explore:
- Outdoor recreation and child development
- The benefits of the big swing
- The advantages of the tall slide
- Which is best, and why?
Big Swings vs. Tall Slides
Strap in and chose a side, the swing or slide debate is on.
Exploring outdoor recreation and child development
Playing outdoors is one of the cornerstones of early childhood development. It’s where children learn social cues, confidence, and independence – and it’s all thanks to playground politics and outdoor play equipment.
To start with, outdoor playground equipment pulls children away from screens, games consoles and phones into the fresh air where they absorb bone-strengthening vitamin D and have space to run away their energy. Climbing on the monkey bars and balancing on beams helps improve their fitness and wellbeing too. Combine this with the more adventurous play equipment available at school compared to home and you can see how they learn to be curious, confident, and creative with their play.
In addition to this, school playground equipment is usually much larger, and certain pieces are more popular (more on that later). It’s this hierarchy and these kinds of social situations which help them develop their understanding of others and improve their social skills.
But Outdoor recreation is so much more than just a way for kids to let loose. It’s essential for physical development in children as well as emotional development in children, so let’s explore this further by looking at two of the most popular pieces of equipment – the swing and slide sets.
The benefits of the big swing
Outdoor swings for kids have always been a popular playground piece, and rightly so. Who doesn’t remember swinging through the air, legs up, head back, feeling like you’re flying? It’s a taste of freedom and pure exhilaration, and it’s a hard feeling to beat.
While this feeling is fantastic and swinging high in the sky is great, children also learn valuable lessons on a swing set. While an adult may help them with their first few goes, children quickly learn coordination skills and how to increase their height and speed through movement on their own.
Other benefits include:
- Improved balanced from sitting solitary on the swing
- An understanding of momentum, motion, and gravity
- Larger Swings are great for multiple children and those with disabilities.
On top of that, a child will learn more about their body and the swing’s capabilities as they fly, which develops their confidence and independence. A swing is an excellent addition to any sensory playground as well as it aids in the neurological development of inner ear movements. The only real downside is that it’s not that good of a workout, but otherwise, it’s great fun and really educational. It’s going to be hard for slides to come out on top.
The advantages of the tall slide
Slides are also excellent fun on the playground. That feeling as you whoosh down the slippy slide, arms in the air, smile on your face – it’s totally freeing. And just like the swings, it has plenty of physical and emotional development benefits for children too.
To begin with, a slide is all about balance. The combination of the sliding movement with the pull of gravity teaches children how to hold their torsos and control their bodies – it’s almost an introduction to physics. On top of that, like the swings, it stimulates and develops the vestibular system in the inner ear, which is what helps us stay balanced and maintain equilibrium.
The height of a slide generally means there’s some climbing involved as well, which is an excellent workout for children. They have to stretch and reach and pull themselves up, which is ideal for strengthening mini-muscles and developing hand-eye coordination.
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Which Is Best, and Why?
They both have their advantages and disadvantages, so let’s make a direct comparison:
It’s neck and neck, to be honest. They’re both exhilarating and good for balance and coordination. They help children learn about speed and gravity too. There’s very little in it, so let’s look at the differences.
- Competition: on the swings, it’s always a race to see who can go higher or who can go faster – it’s generally a healthy rivalry with no mean thoughts or feelings. This isn’t something a slide offers unless you have two side-by-side.
- A good workout: The swings don’t offer any big fitness benefits – the most they do is work the core and the grip, but a child has to climb and stretch and pull themselves up to reach the slide. These are valuable movements that you don’t see on a swing.
For physical development, we’d say the slide is best. For emotional, the swing, but at the end of the day, they’re both excellent pieces of outdoor play equipment.
They’re fun, freeing and super popular with children, and therein lies the main benefit of both – everyone wants to play on them. As a result, children have to socially interact and work together so that everyone gets a turn. They learn all-important social cues as they wait for their go, they learn patience, sharing, and tolerance too. Both pieces of school playground equipment are excellent for child development, but which is best is down to your preference.
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Debbie has been writing interesting and exciting articles for many years. Currently an in-house writer for Affinity Agency, she gets to write about a wide variety of sites and topics, such as the ins and outs of playground equipment.
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