As a child, there’s nothing better than playing in the garden– from building fortresses to exploring the ‘jungle’ and heading on ‘safari.’ Outside space is a place where children can let their imaginations run wild and get fit in the process.
Whilst we all remember the games we used to play as a child, it’s less common knowledge that these games all fit into one or more of the four styles of play: imaginative play, social play, constructive play and physical play. Each of these styles involves different ways of playing and have their own unique benefits for your child’s development. We consider the different play styles and which of our climbing frames are most likely to encourage them.
From playing doctors and nurses to pirates and warriors, imaginative play is any game which involves children pretending to be someone else. This type of play teaches kids a surprising amount about the world around them, getting them to act out and understand the things they see, as well as helping them to develop their imagination.
With its fort-like appearance and exit shoot (slide), the Balconyfort Searcher is the perfect climbing frame to get their imaginations going into overdrive. Let your children play warriors and defend our fortress from the rampaging hordes. We’d fire imaginary arrows out of the slits and use the trusty exit shoot if things got out of hand.
Any time children play together they’re engaging in social play. Social play is incredibly important for learning about how to interact and developing social skills. It’s more than just having fun – they’re learning how to share, take turns, co-operate and resolve quarrels.
Our Lofty Lodge provides kids with their own space, making it the perfect place for them to engage in social play. Its house-like appearance also makes it great for imaginative play. Play ‘families,’ host a tea party or use it as clubhouse headquarters. We’d also probably make a ‘No Grown-ups Allowed’ sign.
Constructive play occurs anytime that your child builds something from the objects around them – whether it’s from Lego or sand. This type of play teaches kids to figure out how things can work together and to manipulate the world around them. It also helps them brush up on their problem-solving skills and hand-eye coordination.
If you want to encourage your child to engage in constructive play, our Lil Lodge is a great choice, providing hours of sandcastle making fun. It also has a den to give them their own space. Build a sandcastle city and then pretend to be Godzilla and knock it all down. Just because you can. Or host a competition to see who can build the best castle, get your friends and family to judge.
Children have bags of energy and need to engage in physical play every single day. Physical play is anything that gets them moving, whether it be running, jumping, climbing or skipping. This type of play is great exercise and it helps them to develop their coordination and motor skills. Investing in a climbing frame that encourages this type of play is a great way to keep them active.
Our MaxiFort® Frontier® has a slide, monkey bar, swings and climbing frame to encourage physical play. Let your children secretly practise the monkey bars until they’re unbeatable and then challenge their friends to a competition (whilst obviously pretending that they’d never practised at all). Not only will they be happy with the sounds of amazement around them, but they will be keeping active all the time.
Investing in one of our climbing frames is a great way to encourage the four styles of play. Not only are they great fun but they can have major benefits for children’s development too, read more about this here. Remember to always encourage safe play and supervise small children.
Have you got any tips for encouraging different styles of play? Let us know in the comments.