A few weeks back we went to stay with my parents for a few days. We managed a trip down to their local park to wear the boys out after the LONG trip in the car.

I was impressed that such a small village had such a lovely playground!! There were slides of varying sizes, of curse the youngest loved the enormous one! There were different types of swings. A zip line. Balance and wobble toys and a couple of roundabouts.

Skill development

All of the above are great toys for challenging their vestibular system and support the development of risk assessment and motor skills!

Deficits of opportunity

  • Did you know lots of children now don’t have the sensory input needed as they grow up because of an indoor more sedentary lifestyle?
  • Teachers are observing some children falling off chairs in class for no apparent reason (under developed vestibular systems)
  • Did you know opticians are noticing a decreasing ability in tracking skills beyond the width of a tablet screen?
  • General sight problems, myopia, are becoming more prevalent in our young people.

Amazing really when all it takes are a few decent installations in a park to challenge for them to challenge themselves physically. Unfortunately these installations often are vandalised. Not well kept up by councils with limited budgets or totally off the radar for some councils with even more limited budgets. Private parks, often don’t want the potential for litigation, so don’t install things out of the ordinary. So children are no longer getting plenty of chances to risk assess, challenge their vestibular systems and develop muscles and coordination. Certainly not in the same way some of us, now as adults, were able to as children.

Similarly we can support the development of the eyesight skills in the outside world. Different light levels, far and near vision required, focussing on small details, expansive views, and lots to support the development of tracking skills all challenge and develop the eyes.

Further reading

  • Balanced and Barefoot by Angela Hanscom
  • The Nature Fix by Florence Williams
  • The Nature Principle by Richard Louv

What are or were your favourite installations in the park as a child?


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