“Play is the highest form of research.”
At least, that’s what Albert Einstein said, and rumour has it that he knew a thing or two about research. Here in Budapest we are blessed with many wonderful playgrounds: well-designed, modern spaces with fantastic opportunities for children of all ages to explore and enjoy. So let’s take a look at why we should be getting our children out there making the most of these fun play environments that are right on our doorsteps.
To begin with, optimal health demands physi- cal activity on a daily basis, and modern play- grounds make it easier than ever for kids to move, run, climb, jump, grip, hang, slide, stretch, roll, and more. Playgrounds provide a place for “full body” workouts that include exercises to strengthen the arms, legs, torso, shoulders, fingers, toes, basically the whole body. All of the senses are engaged and stimulated, whilst at the same time the body is being filled with the goodness of fresh air, creating the over- all effect that the cardiovascular, circulatory, and neurological systems are all being fully nurtured.
Mastering playground equipment provides the child with much more than physical stimulation and development: self-confidence, self-esteem, and creativity are also boosted. The repeated experiences of initially failing, striving to succeed, and ultimately achieving the goal very much reflect the skills and robustness needed in the classroom, and later on in adult life.
At the same time, the unstructured nature of playground time allows children to retain a sense of control that is not available in many other parts of their lives.
Playgrounds provide kids with playtime free from pre-conceived stories, characters, and plot lines. The kids make up the rules, the story, the limits, and the direction of their world. Children gain opportunities to interact with each other and build upon their social skills. They learn how to share, to take turns, to help each other, and they quickly discover which social behaviours are acceptable to peers. Again, these are skills that are invaluable in all areas of their lives, both now and into their futures.
Playgrounds are essential to the social, emo- tional, cognitive and physical well-being of children. They provide a natural environment for children to develop resiliency as they learn to cooperate, take on challenges, and negotiate with others. We are fortunate to live in a city where playgrounds are seen as an essential part of public health & well-being, just as important as schools, libraries, and museums.
And best of all, PLAYGROUNDS ARE FUN!!!