Create a Playground To Reduce Stress and Anxiety in Children
The amount of Primary School children dealing with stress and anxiety is increasing, there are various explanations for this, however, for a large proportion of children, the many pressures of school life can contribute to this.
Research suggests that 1 in 5 children will experience a difficulty with their mental health before the age of 11, with anxiety being the most common among primary school children. Nevertheless, with the correct provision, this number can be reduced.
Outdoor play activities and exercise in the fresh air are beneficial in reducing stress hormones and anxiety.
This encourages the release of ‘feel good hormones’ oxytocin and serotonin, which in turn help children feel happier and calmer.
Research shows that when children engage in outdoor play, they are more contented and are attentive in class, ultimately performing better in school. Outdoor play also promotes creative thinking, which can distract them from troubling thoughts.
One of the main complaints of those suffering from anxiety is a lack of control and ‘being afraid of their own fear’.
Outdoor environments can help to progress emotional development to overcome this difficulty. When playing, children are in control by putting themselves in situations that they have created. Subsequently, they can think about how to respond in each situation.
Play is often seen as an indulgence, yet it supports children to build friendships outside their home. When in the playground, children can talk to their peers about what is troubling them and de-stress.
How Does the Playground Help Children to Become more Mindful?
There is lots of research to suggest that the practice of mindfulness is great for children. Studies show that it benefits both emotional development and cognitive focus. It has also been found to assist in reducing bullying and improving academic concentration.
The playground endorses mindfulness as it is an imaginative and inspired zone dedicated to children, so they can free their minds and develop awareness of their bodies and surroundings.
Whether it is engrossing oneself in active play, or indulging in non-prescriptive, child centred, imaginative and creative play, the playground can help children to de-clutter the brain.
Active Playground Equipment
1. Trim Trails
As well as building physical strength in children and advancing the development of gross motor skills, trim trails are beneficial in supporting the release of endorphins.
These help to reduce the amount of stress hormones that are present in children’s bodies.
Trim Trails support children’s emotional well-being too. As they complete the challenges, children are offered a sense of accomplishment, which boosts their confidence and self-esteem.
2. Outdoor Gym Equipment
Gym apparatus are brilliant for merging the benefits of exercising with being outdoors in the fresh air.
Research shows that children who used Outdoor Gym Equipment are more confident. Training outdoors inspires body awareness and makes children more mindful of the environment
3. Daily Mile Track
An old one, but a great approach, is ‘walking to clear your mind’ and to relieve oneself from negative thoughts that may be weighing you down.
A ‘Daily Mile Track’ inspires children to walk with focus and direction and to feel more positive about life. It can be incorporated into during breaks and lunchtime or times before or after school.
Imaginative and Creative Playground Equipment
Getting in touch with one’s artistic side, whether that is channelled through music or painting, drawing or acting, is well known to be therapeutic.
1. Outdoor Musical Equipment
Outdoor musical equipment can support mindfulness in children by luring them away from people and weighty thoughts.
It assists kids to channel their energy into delighting their senses with the natural environment. Playing with outdoor musical equipment helps children to unwind and relax in their surroundings.
View our range of Outdoor Musical Instruments here
2. Mark Making Boards
Inquisitiveness and the sense of search come naturally to children, and creating art helps them to embrace these qualities.
When drawing or painting to create an artistic masterpiece, children connect their mind and body.
During the day, kids can be overstimulated, but drawing, sketching and painting outdoors can help them to wind down and hold their focus in an open, relaxed manner.
You can view our full range of Outdoor Marking Boards here
We work with schools to design and create outdoor play and outdoor learning landscapes according to their needs. We offer a number of services, from supply and installation to an entire redesign and rebuild of a school’s outdoor learning environment. View some of our latest Projects here and Contact Us for more information about our products and services.