There is nothing more exciting than slithering through a tunnel, climbing up a mound or testing your wits on a wobbly rope bridge. Opportunities to do this in the real world are often in perilous places like building sites or wastelands, which are unsafe places for children.
Tunnels and mounds inspired the author of, ‘The Lord Of The Rings’, J. R. R.Tolkien to create the Shires in Middle Earth. While the Teletubbies will be forever synonymous with homes built underground topped with a mound of earth. If you observe children playing in a playground you will notice that their imagination can often be ignited by unusual terrain, an old tree stump or a mound with digging potential.
Playgrounds that are very flat and almost clinical benefit from the installation of Bridges and Play Mounds. By altering the landscape of a playground, the learning and play opportunities are increased tremendously. Play Mounds with tunnels encourage children to crawl and develop coordination.
Crawling is a very important part of a child’s physical development as it;
● Encourages communication between each side of the brain.
● Strengthens muscles in arms, shoulders and neck.
● Develops pincher (thumb and finger grip).
● Develops visual skills including peripheral vision.
● Helps children to learn opposite arm/leg movement.
● Helps children gain a greater understanding of their size and where they can fit.
● Aids independence and exploration. (Sourced from BHF Physical Activity + Health brochure)
Crawling is mainly associated with the milestones babies achieve but also applies to older children. Dr Heather Haring, of Ohio Health, suggests that many children miss this important stage because they either crawl for a very short time or they crawl in an unusual way. Therefore encouraging children to crawl is going to ensure that they gain all of the benefits from this important milestone.
Adding a bridge to a playground gives children the opportunity to; improve balance and coordination, overcome obstacles, share and take turns. The Timber Bridge can be adapted to accommodate wheelchairs so that all children can enjoy the fun. Children can also enjoy re-enacting, ‘The Three Billy Goats Gruff’, or play, ‘Farmer Farmer May We Cross Your Golden Bridge?’
Play Mounds fit perfectly into both rural and inner city playgrounds because synthetic grass is used to cover the mounds. Some inner city schools use synthetic grass to cover the whole area of the playground in which the Play Mound is situated. This is a wonderful way to bring the country to the city and give children the chance to enjoy greenery whenever they can.
Whether children benefit imaginatively or physically from Play Mounds, the experience will remain with them for ever. You never know the Bubble Tunnel may be an inspiration for a blockbusting story in the future.
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