Why Playgrounds Matter

This week, we’re sharing a study that explores kindergartners’ play activities based on their playground environment. The article provides scientific backing for the idea that outdoor play is crucial for young children and that the design of outdoor play areas is also an important factor in child development. Find the article here: (https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sbspro.2012.03.349)

“[T]oddlers who play in a creative adventure playground showed increase in visual motor integration as well as verbal and social skills, assertiveness and imagination.”

Busy and structured lifestyles are increasingly prevalent for young children, particularly in urban areas. The psychological, social, and physical benefits of outdoor play should not be overlooked. Some parents are concerned about the risks of playing outdoors. However, the developmental risks of insufficient playtime outdoors  should be taken even more seriously.

“[E]nvironmental learning through play needs to be brought into the lives of all children together with the principles and practices of local communities.”

The study found that playgrounds designed to provide diverse natural landscapes and an array of physical challenges and manmade structures are ideal settings for unstructured outdoor play. NYC parents might consider seeking out playgrounds with jungle gyms, slides, ladders, and sandboxes as well as grassy and hilly areas for little ones to run, play and explore.

“There is a strong relation between the landscape features and the functions of play through exploratory play. The natural environment is a valuable source for diverse learning and diverse play habitats for children.”

Engaging in a wide variety of physical and social play activities in outdoor settings allows children to discover their own skills and limitations. Outdoor play also encourages children to develop a sense of caring connection with the environment.

While Blooming Bébé is committed to providing fun and structured learning through movement and music, we encourage parents to take full advantage of the parks and playgrounds available in NYC for unstructured playtime. We are also excited to be offering two outdoor classes in Central Park as part of our Summer Series!

For the curious, here’s a bonus article that explores in further depth why outdoor play is vital to child development: (https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pbj.2017.03.003)

Tell us about your child’s favorite playgrounds and outdoor activities!


Azlina, Wan; A. S., Zulkiflee. (2012).A Pilot Study: The Impact of Outdoor Play Spaces on Kindergarten Children. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sbspro.2012.03.349

Bento, Gabriela; Dias, Gisela. (October 2017) The importance of outdoor play for young children's healthy development. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pbj.2017.03.003