We’ve got the first design day coming up for the AP Rounds project, so I’ve been thinking hard about what makes a playground great. For Us. Of course every child plays differently, and of course every caregiver has different needs, but we really want to build playground up there on the hill that will fight the “Play Deficit” researched and explained by Kaboom:
How the Play Deficit is harming our children
The lack of play is causing physical, intellectual, social, and emotional harm to our children.
In neighborhoods without a park or playground, the incidence of childhood obesity increases 29%. In fact, children with a park or playground within half-a-mile are almost five times more likely to be a healthy weight than children without playgrounds or parks nearby.
Without ample play, we will continue to see a decrease in creativity and imagination, as well as vital skills including curiosity, social skills, resiliency, and the ability to assess risk. Children in China, Korea, Finland, Singapore, and Japan are provided with playful schooling opportunities prior to second grade and have among the highest scores on international PISA exam for 15 year olds, ranked (1, 2, 3, 5, 8) respectively. The U.S. was ranked at #13.
Children who don’t play don’t learn how to work in groups, share, negotiate, resolve conflicts, and advocate for themselves. The lack of these skills has dramatic long-term effects. Children deprived of play show increased problems with social integration, including greater likelihood of felony arrests by young adulthood.
Studies have shown that schools without recess face increased incidence in classroom behavioral problems, including violence, emotional outbursts, and their students show a lack of ability to interact with peers and authority figures. Outside the school, play deprivation can have serious long-term consequences. Physician, psychiatrist, and clinical researcher Stuart Brown, studied more than 6,000 felons and found that 90% of convicted murderers lacked “play features” in their childhoods.
So, it starts with a playground, but hopefully we are also building the community