Why Your Child Should Play at the Playground

benefits of playground play

You know your child enjoys the playground, and you feel great about the exercise it provides. But when you take your child to the playground, you’re also giving her many, many more benefits that extend further than you might expect.

Play Benefits Children

Before we even get into the specific benefits of playground play, remember that play, in and of itself, is actually a critical component of a child’s development. It’s not just a nice thing to do. Play is how children learn. It also helps them develop confidence, dexterity, strength, imagination, math skills, and so much more.

{Why Your Child Needs Play-Based Learning} 

Full-Body Exercise

Playgrounds give your child the chance to get their full body into their play, which means they get to exercise their body from head to toe. Monkey bars increase upper body strength, climbing the ladder to the slide strengthens the legs, swings give a chance for grip to be strengthened while legs get stronger, and more.

Unstructured Play Allows for Growth

At the playground, your child can jump, run, and skip from activity to activity as his mood pleases. Unstructured play puts your child in control, lets him discover what he loves, and encourages him to try new things. Interacting with other children is often simpler in an unstructured environment where children can move from trying one thing to another with ease.

Learn Social Rules

It doesn’t take long for kids to learn to wait their turn for the slide. Older kids even develop sophisticated rules for how long a person can stay on a piece of equipment before letting another child try. (Forming a line and counting to 100, etc.) Children have to learn how to cooperate.

On the playground, children are also more free to interact with children of different races, ages, and economic status. There isn’t any ranking on the playground, which is just how it should be.

Therapeutic Benefits

benefits of playground play

Sand and water features are known to help reduce anxiety, provide a way for positive self-expression, and to provide a way to calm down. When these elements are present in a playground, your child has the chance to unknowingly gain therapeutic and emotional benefits.


Children learn resilience as they try different playground equipment. Maybe they can’t get very far on the monkey bars at first, but as they watch other children swing along, they’ll try to go farther. Maybe climbing the slide ladder seems scary, but they’ll give it a try for the fun payoff of sliding down.

Because the equipment is fun, and because other children are also navigating it, your child will have the chance — and the motivation — to try, try, and try again.

How a Swing Can Help in Whole Child Development

At UDA Creative Arts Preschool, we make intentional choices about the equipment we put in our outdoor play area. Everything we have chosen is there with a learning objective in mind — to help your child develop and grow mentally, physically, and emotionally.

For example, we chose our swing specifically because it is difficult to climb onto and hard to balance on. This helps the children to develop upper body strength.

And we don’t just let the tricky swing dangle out of reach, frustrating the children. We actually coach the children on how to use their arm muscles to pull their weight onto the swing. This helps them listen, follow directions, and receive a big, fun payoff.

The swing is also tipsy, which helps children develop their core strength and balance as they conquer it.

It’s a difficult piece of equipment for most children in the beginning, but every child eventually masters it, overcoming fear, frustration, and doubt.

They also count to take turns to use it, and cooperate by pushing each other (Bonus: They’re learning Newton’s laws of motion along the way!)

So the next time you head to the playground, pat yourself on the back. You’re giving your child a mental, emotional, and physical boost. Well done, moms and dads!

To learn more about UDA Creative Arts Preschool in Draper, Utah, contact us online or give us a call at (801) 523-5930

10 Indoor Activities to Do with Your Preschooler This Winter

Snow is one of the best winter playgrounds, but when little cheeks and noses have had enough of being outside, what can you do to keep your preschooler occupied and active indoors?

Use these fun indoor activities for preschoolers this winter break — and beyond!

1. Make Paper Snowflakes

indoor activities for preschoolers

Making paper snowflakes is a time-honored activity because almost everyone loves it! And major bonus: you can’t mess up a paper snowflake.

Knowing how to use scissors is a critical pre-writing skill. Opening and closing the scissors helps your preschooler develop the small muscles in her hands, while also strengthening hand-eye coordination — both important skills for writing.

Cutting out a paper snowflake also lets your preschooler explore cause and effect — and it’s oh-so-magical once you unfold your paper to see what your snowflake looks like!

[9 Movement Activities for Preschoolers You Can Do at Home]

Depending on your child’s age and abilities, you may need to guide the folding and cutting process, but try and let her do as much as she can on her own!

2. Make a Newspaper Snowman

If there hasn’t been enough snow for a snowman, make your own snowman out of newspaper! Roll up newspaper into balls. Stack the balls and connect them with glue or tape. Attach branches for arms. “Dress” the snowman with hats, gloves, and more.

3. Indoor Obstacle Course

indoor activities for preschoolers

Kids need to move and wiggle, even when it’s too cold to go outside. Make your own obstacle course indoors this winter to keep your preschooler active. Use items you have around your house.

Here are some ideas for your indoor obstacle course:

  • A few Hula-Hoops on the ground creates the perfect setup for skipping, hopping on both feet, hopping on one foot, or jumping backwards. Only have one Hula-Hoop? Have your child jump in and out of it six times with both feet. Now on one foot… you get the idea.
  • Put a broomstick between two chairs, and have your child limbo (or crawl) under it.
  • Line up a few chairs in a row, and have your child crawl under or over them.
  • Throw a bean bag (or ball of socks) into a bucket (or kitchen pot).
  • Add a blindfold to the beanbag toss for extra fun.
  • Somersault from one spot to another.
  • Give your child a ladle or tongs, and have him fill a bowl with small toys or marbles.
  • Put a stuffed animal on your child’s head, and instruct her to walk from one point to another.

indoor activities for preschoolers

4. Indoor Ice Skating

For some slippery fun, wrap wax paper around your child’s feet and secure with rubber bands. Let him walk (er… slide) across the carpet. Move things out of the way because this is slippery and a fall may happen.

5. Paint with Noodles

indoor activities for preschoolers

Yep, you read that right! Children love to paint, and it’s even more fun and interesting when you use “paintbrushes” that aren’t actually paintbrushes! Your child will get the opportunity to predict (what will the painting look like?), explore, and be creative.

To make your spaghetti noodle paintbrush:

  1. Gather a small bunch of uncooked spaghetti noodles and tie a rubber band about 1/4 from the bottom.
  2. Cook them as normal, with a little bit of oil, leaving the tied-off part out of the water.
  3. Set your spaghetti noodle paintbrush out to cool.
  4. Once cool, get painting!

6. Read

It’s such a simple activity that we often overlook the chance to sit down and read. When the weather outside is frightful, that’s the perfect time to snuggle close and read book after book. Make it even more fun and special by getting a cozy blanket and a warm treat.

7. Make Something in the Kitchen

Sure, making cookies during the winter is a fun activity for everyone, but take a moment to think outside the mixer and see what meals or snacks your preschooler can create all on her own. This not only frees up your hands and brain, it gives your preschooler a huge sense of accomplishment — and a higher chance of trying the food she made!

Preschoolers can use plastic knives to chop fruit for their own fruit salad, top their own individual English muffin pizza, make their own sandwich, prepare their own quesadilla, and more.

8. Shaving Cream Letter Practice

Generously fill a tray with shaving cream. Have your child practice letters or “draw” pictures in the cream. (Make sure you tell your preschooler that this is not the kind of cream we eat.)

9. I Spy

Classic car games become the perfect way to pass the time indoors in the winter when you add the right prop. Glue or tape two toilet paper rolls together for a pair of binoculars. Then, use them to play I Spy. Your preschooler will love looking through their binoculars to figure out your clues.

You can also play Name Three Things. For example, tell your child to name three things in the room that are blue/tall/alive/round. He can use his binoculars to locate the three things.

10. Stack Cups

Playing with building blocks is a favorite pastime for many children. Change up the regular routine by letting your preschooler see what she can build with a few dozen paper or plastic cups. Challenge her to use all the cups for one creation, to build three towers with all the cups, to make three different creations with only six cups, and so on.

At UDA Creative Arts Preschool in Draper, Utah, we use art, music, social studies, dance and movement, science, math, reading and writing, and imagination to fully engage our students and help them develop both the left and right hemispheres of their brains. Come see us in action. Give us a call at (801) 523-5930, or contact us online to set up a tour.