There are a lot of elements in a playground to consider when you are looking at your layout. We have previously looked at zoning these areas into 5 zones so you can identify the ways you impact on the learning journey of children as they develop the necessary skills to become brave, confident, creative and insightful minds. In this, we have further developed these zones, added the types of elements you can include and identified what part of the developmental stages this type of play impacts children developmental phases. Some studies have shown as many as 26 zones but for us, these are the key play zones that ultimately reflect on the others. Zones that include:
- Sensory Play
- Imaginative play
- Musical Play
- Water Play
- Nature Play
- Risk Play
- Social Play
- Reflective Play – usually seen as part of
Each plays a significant role in children’s brain development, life skills and character building. It’s also known to be the key stimulus for social skills and problem-solving which is fundamental to a child’s growth.
According to Jennifer Philbrook, MS – “It is the interaction between the genes and environment that really shape the developing brain; a dance between biology and experience.”
We as service providers are indirectly or directly key in building on youth brain development. If you think about the brain development of a child and how each part is stimulated you can adapt this into your outdoor (and indoor) play experiences.
Sensory Play is all about developing several parts of the brain; the occipital lobe through visual processing, the parietal lobe through touch and is known to help with brain stem by providing a calming safe area depending on the play elements you install. Sensory really does encompass multiple play elements because it is about the touch, visual, sounds, smells and taste sensory experiences.
In a playground, an example of sensory play is providing stimuli to the senses like colour and contrast through various elements, even if you are adjusting something old to make it new, it helps stimulate the brain.
- Colourful plastic perspex, viewing windows or art on walls to create a visual interest
- Interesting looking objects or material to touch and feel like plants, or carvings or statues, various timber textures, stones, or a combination of it all
- Wild and strong-smelling plants and flowers to stimulate smell
- It could be from locks or keys as the kids focus on the movement of objects and fitting in slots