The Fun & Importance of Soft Play.
Posted by: Sue Atkins
Whilst your school-aged children are back into their new term routines, it’s time to focus on your toddlers & pre-schoolers. If you don’t want to do a big family day out and are looking to save some pennies this time of year, play centres are the best place to start.
I have spent many happy hours watching my kids jumping about in a ball pond, or climbing, sliding or scrabbling over the soft play area of The Wacky Warehouse & studies show that active play aids a child’s physical, mental, social and emotional well-being as they develop.
Activities based around climbing and swinging develop core strength, activities where careful stepping or balancing are required are great for developing a child’s coordination, and explorative play, where children are allowed to work through obstacles without help, is also a great way to develop self-confidence by letting your kids find their limits and potential.
Running and jumping are good for the heart and sharing space, taking turns and overcoming fears all foster vital emotional and social skills.
There are lots of fun things to do with your kids, but sometimes it requires that extra bit of consideration when your child is autistic.
Activities for children with autism can be difficult to find. If you have a child with autism, you will know the challenges that are faced when going out in a group of people or children. But you will also know that there is a lot of reward in seeing your children so happy when you find an enjoyable activity & keeping your child with additional needs active is important.
At some soft play centres like Gambado they offer special dates for autistic children where every effort is made to promote a calm atmosphere by turning off all extraneous noise and music. By coming to one of their play sessions, your children will be around other people who face the same challenges as them. It’s also a great place to meet fellow parents and share stories about your experiences over a coffee too helping you feel connected and supported.
Here are 8 great reasons to go to a soft play centre!
- Playing freely. Kids running around the streets playing hop-scotch, hide & seek, cricket, is something you don’t see very often these days due to our busy lifestyles and lack of open play areas & fear of strangers. Playing freely is important for children to relax and have fun, as well as providing an antidote to excessive screens which is not setting them up for good habits later on.
- Safe, Clean & Colourful Environment. Indoor play areas are a great choice of venue because your kids can have fun, be active and most importantly play in a safe, clean and colourful environment. Most well designed indoor play areas will have slides, ball pools, tunnels, bridges, trampolines, adventure zones and other soft play equipment that can keep kids engaged for hours improving their dexterity, co-ordination & gross motor skills.
- Develops Social Skills. Indoor play areas develop your child’s social skills as they learn to become socially aware of interacting with other children which develops their social confidence. Through playing with other children your child will also learn about concepts such as wining, losing and playing fair and taking turns which will also enhance their problem-solving skills & patience
- Active and Healthy – children who engage in regular physical activity are healthier, both physically and emotionally. Physically active kids are more likely to be more academically motivated and attentive. Indoor play areas serve as great option to keep children busy and active.
- Encourages Creativity. During their time in indoor play areas kids are often faced with situations and challenges that help them develop vital skills. They are also free to explore and to develop their imagination. Children learn to be more expressive and curious. It also helps them learn from one and another. Most well designed indoor play areas are also well equipped with cafes, so while parents sip on a cup of coffee and catch up on some work or simply unwind, their kids have the freedom to explore and develop their creativity in a safe and secure environment.
- Safety and Security. Most indoor play areas use equipment that is soft and well padded, which creates the ideal safe play area for children. The equipment is specially designed to keep kids from injuring themselves. Indoor play areas also have play supervisors who monitor the children while playing, to ensure smooth and injury free play. They are also well equipped with CCTV cameras and first aid kits for kids.
- An Alternative for a Very Hot or Rainy Day. Unpredictable weather often forces families to stay at home. During such times indoor play areas serve as the ideal place for kids to be entertained, remain active and have a good time while also letting off steam
- Exercise in Disguise. Taking your kids to an indoor play area is a fantastic way to give them 60 active minutes and best of all, it’s “Exercise in Disguise” as the kids are just having great fun… Running, Jumping, Climbing, Crawling, Sliding…. because play is what kids do best & it is vital for their mental and physical wellbeing.
- Growing up can be scary business! Allowing kids to move outside of their comfort zone in a safe and stimulating environment will build confidence, promote self-esteem, and teach kids that overcoming fear is a healthy part of life Also studies show that kids who engage in regular physical activity are not only healthier physically but also mentally. Good physical fitness helps motivate your child to tackle each day with an alert mind and willingness to face problems head on. With these benefits, you should definitely help your kids stay happy and healthy through physical activity in all its many forms—whether it’s playing sport, enjoying an indoor play place or just kicking a ball around in the garden.
The Happy Factor.
Soft play areas have different connotations depending on who’s looking at it – for children, play areas are a place of fun and adventure;
for parents, it’s a place for children to stay in one place while having fun;
and for experts, it’s a perfect place for children to help them develop different aspects of their well-being, showing that play is linked to brain development, movement skills and social skills.
Growing up can be scary business! Allowing kids to move outside of their comfort zone in a safe and stimulating environment will build their confidence, promote their self-esteem, and teach kids that overcoming fear is a healthy part of life
Also, studies show that kids who engage in regular physical activity are not only healthier physically but also mentally.
Good physical fitness helps motivate your child to tackle each day with an alert mind and willingness to face problems head on.
With these benefits, you should definitely help your kids stay happy and healthy through physical activity in all its many forms—whether it’s playing sport, enjoying an indoor play place or just kicking a ball around in the garden.