Across the country, pupils in thousands of schools are reaping the benefits of playground climbing equipment. In this post, we’ll look at why they have become so popular and how they are helping both pupils and their schools.
1. Climbing improves physical health
One of the chief benefits of installing climbing equipment is that playing on it can make children healthier. Climbing, swinging and jumping are all activities which demand children to physically exert themselves. This form of exercise helps them burn off the calories, increase muscular strength and improve fitness, including that of the heart.
Research from the Liverpool John Moors University has shown that installing climbing apparatus in a playground increases the amount of time pupils take part in moderate to vigorous activity by around 30 minutes each week, with over 70% of children improving their health and fitness as a result.
2. Helps with child mental health
The mental health of children has become a major concern over recent years. According to The Guardian, 50,000 children and young people are referred for treatment by their GPs every month. Whether this is attributable to modern lifestyles or the increasing pressure put on pupils to achieve in schools, one thing is for certain: getting active can be very beneficial.
Taking part in physical activities such as climbing has been proved to increase endorphins and reduce stress, which is why practitioners recommend it for children with anxiety and depression. Indeed, those who regularly take part in vigorous physical activity have a lower chance of developing a mental health problem.
3. Climbing to learn
To be a good learner requires pupils to develop skills such as resilience, concentration and teamwork. Playing on climbing equipment, especially in peer groups, helps pupils to acquire and develop these skills naturally. Climbing equipment such as Trim Trail obstacle courses, for example, motivates pupils to participate in challenges that will hone these skills so that they can be transferred to the classroom and used in more academic pursuits.
Another benefit for schools is that physical exercise can have a positive effect on pupil behaviour. Studies have found that pupils who take part in active play are much more likely to stay on task during lessons and be better behaved.
4. Climbing for communication and social skills
In a playground setting, climbing equipment offers children a myriad of opportunities to play together, where they can set each other climbing challenges or participate in role play. All of this requires them to interact socially, developing skills in communication, turn taking and negotiation. They’ll learn to set and abide by rules, settle disputes, make new friends, resolve issues and give instructions. Doing this in the playground, where staff can monitor things from a comfortable distance provides a unique opportunity to develop these skills in a safe environment.
5. Forging personal independence
For pupils to leave school prepared for life in the wider world, it is important that they develop personal independence. Encouraging this trait begins at primary school and can be significantly assisted through outdoor play, where adult supervision is at a minimum.
By installing climbing equipment such as our Freeflow climbing frames, you can put children in exciting situations where they will need the self-reliance to make independent decisions about which route to take, how to overcome obstacles and how to negotiate unfamiliar pathways.
6. Providing challenge and managing risk
‘Challenge’ has been an Ofsted buzzword for some years and inspectors often complain that they don’t see enough of it in schools. While setting a challenge is one thing, encouraging pupils to rise to it is another. Developing this characteristic can be helped with the use of climbing equipment where students can set themselves challenges in how to negotiate a route around the apparatus. This also involves a certain degree of managing risk, for example, can the route they choose across a traversing wall be completed without falling off? Of course, with safe playground flooring installed underneath, the risk is that of failure, not of injury.
Climbing equipment can help pupils to take on new challenges which might, previously, have been scary to them. This is ideal for improving self-confidence and giving children a much-needed sense of achievement.
Climbing equipment provides many benefits for children. Playing on it helps pupils to be happier and healthier, have better social and learning skills, increased independence and a more positive approach to challenge and risk.
To give your pupils more opportunity for active outdoor play, take a look at our wide range of school playground climbing equipment.