Healthy Parenting

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The Importance of Public Playgrounds

2 min read

The local playground used to be an iconic image of childhood. The very first playgrounds were an invention from Germany aimed at teaching children how to play. The first public playground in Britain appeared in Manchester in 1859 and in America in 1907 when President Roosevelt though roads were becoming unsafe to play on.

As you would expect, the first playgrounds featured swings, slides, roundabouts and climbing frames. For Childrens wooden climbing frames, visit

The main focus was on physical development, with little thought to opportunities for creativity. Playgrounds eventually evolved to include Adventure themes, designed to encourage free play and imaginative creativity. Playgrounds remain incredibly important nowadays, as towns become ever more built-up and roads are so busy. Children deserve a safe space in which to play with their friends and develop their minds and bodies.

Play offers many learning opportunities and outdoor play fosters social, physical, emotional and cognitive development. The exercise involved improves health, both mentally and physically in a safe space where children can play independently.

Playgrounds allow children the chance to meet new friends, grow their confidence and challenge themselves in a safe environment. Socially, they learn quickly to not push in, to take turns and how to deal with conflict under the supervision of their parents. Inclusive designs allow all children to join in and nobody feel isolated. Committees and councils maintain the equipment so it remains safe to use.

A voluntary playground committee works hard to keep public playgrounds open. For councils struggling to support playgrounds financially, the committees step in and raise money for their upkeep. Sadly, many playgrounds around the country are being closed and the main concern is the impact this is having on childhood obesity.

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Children now live the most sedentary lives in history, spending more time on screens than they do exercising. With closing playgrounds, busy roads and increasing urbanisation, there are far less places to play than ever before.

With local government budgets being squeezed, voluntary committees play an important role in fundraising to maintain playgrounds and purchase new equipment. Having the local community support the need for public play areas is crucial as they are such vital safe spaces for children to enjoy exercise and creative play.

Play is so much more than just wasted time. It has significant impacts on social, cognitive, emotional, physical and mental development in children and young people. Why not consider joining or setting up a voluntary committee to protect your local playgrounds if they are under threat?