Many of us often look back to our childhood as halcyon days – endless long summers, playing outside for hours and hours (and without supervision) and lots of simple games such as tag, hide and seek and tree-climbing.
If you are bringing up kids nowadays, children’s play and lives can look very different. Exposure to the outdoors can seem much more limited, as so many more children are driven to school instead of walking, games and entertainment can take the form of computer games, the TV, the cinema and other targeted entertainment such as bowling alleys.
Because of our busy lives, children and adults have less time after school for play time because of jobs and structured activities and it is estimated children watch an average of four hours of TV a day, not to mention additional screen viewing through time on computers and games.
Children’s toys have become very sophisticated too – action figures modeled on film characters and games from films. They encourage children to play in a certain way, mirroring what they have seen on the film and they can stifle creativity, in a way that more generic toys such as building blocks or clay figures don’t. Many of the toys are linked to super hero films and they channel children towards imitating violent games.
At Selwood , we’re big believers in outdoor play. Hours spent running around outside or playing on a wooden climbing frame can help to build up children’s immune system and develop their cardio fitness and bones, which bodes well for future health.
Developing Young Imaginations
But what is also important about outdoors play is that it is more likely to develop children’s imaginations. Sure, they may well choose to re-enact a scene from a recent film they have watched, or a battle sequence from a video game but the outdoors is the perfect place for make believe.
Climbing frames can support games such as kings and queens and you can encourage this by reading about history with your children. Of course, they may well be able to imagine their own kinds of scenarios for climbing.
Our Rendle Fort Climbing Frame, for example, is one of our space saver climbing frames, and it includes an Olympia play fort with a beautiful wooden roof made from cedar wood, a straight wavy slide and a combination rock wall ladder. There’s a window at the front of the fort, which has proved to be a huge hit with many children who love to stand in their high tower and wave down to mum and dad.
A playhouse such as our Bayberry model can be used for all kinds of domestic imaginings. This gorgeous little playhouse is made from high-quality cedar wood and has brilliant little details such as a white picket fence, a working weather vane, window shutters and a flower box which is pre-drilled to allow draining if flowers are planted.
And of course a sandpit is perfect for creating little castles, sand models, dams and much more. Our sandpits start from £29.99 and it is maintenance free.
There’s no doubt that childhood play looks very different these days than it did 30 or even 20 years ago, but outdoor play and the power of the imagination is still really important. Let’s keep it that way.