Updated: Oct 28
You have or are purchasing a backyard playset in the near future. Great! That's one step of the equation in creating an environment that can enhance the way your children grow and develop.
Kids are naturally curious and thier imaginations allow for them to develop creative situations or scenarios for thier play environment. But is there a way to foster this and create an experience that harnesses and directs that energy in a more developmental way? Absolutely!!
What do the experts think?
According to leading children's psychologist and researchers, introducing games into your child's playtime greatly increases their ability to self-regulate. Their findings show that children who are able to self-regulate have higher literary, language, and vocabulary comprehension. They are able to better control their emotions and have higher physical development. They understand perspectives and more complex topics.
There's also a host of other beneficial reasons to get you children playing outdoors. Experiments have shown that when children pretend to be someone or something else, rather than themselves, they perform longer in mundane tasks such as chores or homework. Playing outside and using their imagination results in better memory and the ability to focus their attention.
Ok, we get it, playing outdoors in incredibly beneficial for our kids. So, what does that look like and how do we dial into it? Instead of simply sending you kids outside to play on the playset, create an adventure scenario to help focus their play towards increasing thier abilities. Below we've created some scenarios that we like to pair with our playsets to give you an idea.
Movies such as Muppets at Treasure Island, Pirates of the Carribean, and even the classic film The Goonies are great precursors to getting your child's inner imagine kickstarted into high gear. From there follow these fun and simple steps:
Create a costume from old clothes laying around the house, or purchase a pirate costume. Apply appropriate makeup.
Create a treasure map with age and grade appropriate clues. Math problems are great to determine step counts as an example.
Bury or hide treasures which the clues will lead them to.
Use the playset as thier pirate ship or base of operations.
Sit back and enjoy!!
Most of our kids are raving fans of The Spy Kid series, Agent Cody Banks, The Spy Next Door, etc... Just as we discussed in Treasure Hunters, the Spy Games theme should be designed to make your children think on thier feet, solve problems, and increase thier decision making abilities.
Don thier best spy gear outfit for their designated scenario
Use the playset as thier headquarters for all operations
Solve problems to determine where the next clues lie
Obtain adversary secrets by using discreate spy tradecraft
Are you kids more of the look to the stars type? There have been lots of technological developments recently that have increased our knowlege of the solar system. Navigation, communication, weather, and future planetary residence are all dependent upon continual exploration in outer space.
Space costumes go great with setting the stage
The playset is their rocketship to the galaxy
Travel to space and explore other planets.
Solve problems along the way using a variety of of challenges
Bring back proof of spacelife
No matter what scenairo you create for you child, by taking an intentional approach to their play time, you can positively help them improve on multiple levels. According to Russian psychologist Lev Vygotsky, a leading theorist on child development, imagination drives children’s development at precisely the age when reality can no longer keep up with their curiosity. This age is from around two to seven. And we need your children to help lead us into the next generation! Get after it!