Playing on a swing can help kids to grow and develop in a range of ways. To swing themselves higher, kids must develop their technique through practise and persistence. As a result, they will feel out what movements work and it is this process that builds strength, coordination and resilience.
What are the benefits?
In order for a child to swing themselves properly, they must engage and coordinate several muscle groups at once. Consequently, the biggest benefit to playing on a swing is the physical activity and exercise involved in operating the equipment. Arms and upper body will grasp the chains or ropes, abdominals balance and support the torso, and the legs are used to generate momentum and propel the swing. Additionally, increased heart and breathing rates strengthen the heart, lungs, bones and muscles which can help improve the body’s immune responses and cardiovascular performance. Consequently, any increase in cardiovascular performance will improve the blood flow to a child’s brain which can aid in concentration, energy levels and cognitive performance.
The motion of swinging triggers the body to work out how it is positioned in space, this is known as proprioception. Proprioception is an important part of understanding how our bodies can and should move to interact with the world around us. Similarly, swinging back and forth constantly engages the inner ear balance system to understand how their body position is changing. This gives a child’s brain great practice understanding how to hold their body in different positions.
To sum up, the benefits of swing play go beyond purely physical; unstructured, outdoor play can help kids’ social development, sensory skills, attention span and mood. Children playing with their peers will establish their own rules for play in a good play space. These free play times are ideal situations to practice sharing, taking turns as well as communication and self-expression
The simplicity of swings allows the freedom to design and construct them in many different ways for many different purposes. This flexibility in design and style makes them perfect as universally accessible play equipment for users with additional needs.
Swing Safety Tips
- To reduce the risk of hitting something, swing frames should be free standing and set up away from fences, play features or walkways
- Sufficient impact area must be provided around the equipment. The area required depends on the size and design of the swing itself. As a guide, give swings a couple of meters in each direction of movement
- Properly anchor swings to the ground and have a suitable soft fall material underneath and around them
- To reduce the risk of injuries, seats should be made of soft, flexible plastic
- Adequate clearance between each swing seat and the swing frame must be maintained
- Chain covers and cables can be the first parts of the swing to show wear, check that there is no fraying in cables or cracking in chain covers
- Finally, like any piece of moving equipment; hinges and connections will wear over time. Keep an eye out for any rusty or squeaking parts that may need to be replaced.
Need some advice about your playground?
Kidsafe Qld are specialists in injury prevention. Our mission is to keep kids out of hospital and prevent injuries at home, on the road and at play. We offer comprehensive playground inspection and consultation services and run regular playground visual inspection training courses. Call Kidsafe Qld 07 3854 1829