The importance of promoting mindfulness in the playground
Mindfulness is simply the ability to pay more attention to what is happening in the present moment, rather than the past or future, in turn improving mental wellbeing.
For children, mindfulness instils the idea that they are in charge of their own thoughts and feelings, which teaches them to turn towards any difficult emotions they may be feeling rather than ignoring them and letting them build up inside.
Consequently, this helps to teach them to deal with any anxious, negative or difficult thoughts, improving their ability to pay attention, calm down when they feel upset and generally make better decisions: not only enhancing their mental wellbeing but also improving their emotional regulation and cognitive focus.
The playground is a space where children can truly let go of any worries or anxious thoughts, enabling them to focus their attention and become more aware and mindful of their surroundings.
As it is an imaginative, inspiring outdoor area where they can free their minds and centre their feelings, thoughts and body, mindfulness should be promoted in the outdoor learning environment.
How You Can Promote Mindfulness in Your Playground?
Physical Play Activities
Physical play activities are beneficial in supporting the release of endorphins, in turn reducing stress and anxiety in children are they climb, stretch, balance and run away any negative thoughts they may be feeling.
Moreover, they have to concentrate on what they’re doing in the moment while participating in active play - promoting mindfulness in the playground.
While balancing across a rushing river before conquering the worlds highest mountain on the trim trail, children can truly let go of any worries and anxious thoughts as they focus their attention to balancing and traversing.
Climbing through the jungle using a huge log and rope climbing frame as their imaginative play focal point can provide children with a space to quietly reflect as they rest underneath the giant pyramid structure or simply sit on a beam at the top and relax.
Not only do magnificent Active Playground Pieces provide children with an area to work away any stress, worries and negative thoughts they may be having, its also a great way to get active and fit to improve their physical wellbeing, too!
Calming Musical Melodies
In the playground, children’s negative thoughts can be channelled through music as they create calming musical melodies in an environment where they feel free to be creative - and where the noise isn’t going to disturb other classes working.
While playing with Outdoor Musical Instruments, they can release anything on their minds as they hit it away on the drum seat and centre themselves on creating rhythms and beats on the playground.
Children can bang on the drum to express how they’re feeling - a harder hit for upset and angry and a gentle tap for upset or sad as they release their worries and stress, perhaps developing expressive or uplifting lyrics to perform alongside their improvisations.
Moreover, music making and creating calming musical melodies either individually or with one another is thought to be therapeutic: improving emotional development as well as promoting mindfulness in the playground.
A Quiet, Relaxing Space
Dens are a fantastic space for children to have on the playground!
Whether they are encouraged to build it themselves with our den making posts, or it’s already built and just needs to be filled with cosy materials like our wigwam, dens provide children with a quiet space on the playground where they can take themselves away from the hustle and bustle of the busy outdoor space and into an area where they can have a moment of peace and reflection.
While feeling overwhelmed or simply struggling to consider their emotions, children can take themselves to the den to sit and relax quietly or socialise with other children already in the den.
This provides them with a space where they can reflect on how they’re feeling and recentre themselves back into the current moment as they sit in the comfortable space: learning to recognise and think about their emotions as well as calm down when they’re feeling upset.
Some children find that immersing themselves into a good book helps them to relax, escape and release any difficult emotions or thoughts they may be feeling. The den or even a dedicated storytelling area is perfect for mindfulness in this case.
While practising emotional regulation, children can pick up an exciting book and transport themselves into the characters shoes as they imagine the setting coming to life in front of their very own eyes within their very own quiet, relaxing space.
Of course, when it comes to relaxing spaces and mindfulness in the playground, the cosier the better!
An imaginative, active and inspiring outdoor learning environment can truly help children’s mental wellbeing as they practise mindfulness, regulate negative or difficult feelings and emotions, calm themselves down when they are feeling upset, make better decisions and enhance their cognitive focus all within the same outdoor area.
With over 20 years in the playground industry, we’ve crafted educational play environments for thousands of schools and nurseries across the UK! If you’d like to create an exciting, educational, mindful zone for your young children, please Contact Us. One of our expert playground consultants would love to discuss all of your outdoor needs during a free, no-obligation consultation. You can also view our huge range of Educational Playground Equipment for schools and nurseries.