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Exploring Therapeutic Benefits on the Playground

Playgrounds are such a fun way for a child to develop happy memories with friends and family! It allows a child to be outside with nature while also burning off energy and staying active.

However, did you know that there are an abundance of therapeutic benefits when a child plays on the playground? This blog will dive right in to all the ways you may not have realized that playgrounds positively influence a child's developmental skills.

Fine Motor Skills:

Playing on the playground requires a child to use many different grasp patterns. The most typical grasp a child uses on the playground is the "power grasp". The "power grasp" involves the the thumb wrapping around an object while the other fingers flex towards the palm. This type of grasp requires the use of hand strength and is the most common fine motor skill found on the playground.

Where can kids practice the "power grasp" on the playground?

  • Climbing a ladder

  • Rock Wall

  • Ziplining

  • Swinging on the swing

  • Monkey bars

  • Holding the seesaw

  • Jungle gym

  • Cargo Net

Gross Motor Skills:

There are so many different ways to work on gross motor skills at the playground that help develop coordination, body awareness, balance skills, and increase strengthen throughout the body while simply playing on the playground equipment!

How can kids practice gross motor skills on the playground?

  • Walking on uneven surfaces

  • Swinging on the swing

  • Climbing structures

  • Sliding down the slide

  • Climbing up the slide

  • Ladders

  • Rock Wall

  • Balance Beams

  • Spring Rider

Social Emotional/ Play Skills:

The playground setting allows kids to organically work on play and social emotional skills that are vital for childhood development.

What types of social emotional/play skills are developed?

  • Turn Taking

  • Cooperative Play

  • Parallel Play

  • Problem Solving

  • Decision Making

  • Conflict Resolution

  • Language development

  • Pretend Play

  • Impulse control

  • Risk Taking

  • Following rules/directions

Sensory Experiences:

The playground and park experience provides a child with the opportunity to explore an abundance of sensory input to enhance their play experience.

What kind of sensory experiences can you find at the park?

  • Vestibular system (Movement): swings, see saw, slide, walking on uneven surfaces, climbing structures, balance beams, spinning equipment

  • Proprioceptive system (Deep input to joints that help regulate body): climbing on structures, crawling over structures, pushing someone on the swing, disc swings, monkey bars, rope swing, trampoline or bouncy structure

  • Tactile System (Touch): engaging with sand, rocks, tree bark, gravel, stone, water, grass within environment

  • Auditory System (Sound): listening to other children's voices/communication, engaging with musical instrument activity centers or equipment, listening to the sounds of nature (i.e., birds chirping, leaves crunching, bee buzzing etc.)

  • Visual system (Sight): looking at the bright equipment, watching other children run and play, observing movements in nature


The content in this blog should not be used in place of medical advice/treatment and is solely for informational purposes. All activities/exercises posted in this blog should be performed with adult supervision, caution, and at your own risk. Big Leaps, LLC is not responsible for any injury while performing an activity/exercise that has been posted on this blog. If you have any information on the content of our blog, feel free to contact us at


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