All across America school bells are tolling – seeking new and returning students for the 2013 – 2014 term. No matter the age, one of the favorite aspects of the school day is recess (or gym at the upper grade levels).
There are steps you can take as a parent to keep your child while they are on the school playground, even if you are not present. One of the best ways to do that is to teach your child that pushing, shoving or crowding while on the playground can be dangerous. This is especially true when playing on any of the equipment.
Parents should also be especially mindful of what their children wear on the days they have physical education. Necklaces, scarves or clothing with drawstrings can get caught on equipment and pose strangulation hazards. Tennis shoes should also be worn as not all shoes are made for running, skipping or other outside activities.
Work with your child’s school to ensure playground equipment is properly maintained. Report any rusted or broken equipment as well as dangerous surfaces to school officials. If your child attends an elementary school, there should be a separate play area for children 5 and under from the rest of the children. If at all possible, this separate area should be enclosed. If it isn’t, that could be a wonderful PTA (Parent-Teacher’s Association) project.
Check out this list for playground equipment that might be found on school property.
Typical 50s playground
Playgrounds all over America resembled this one back in the 50s. For many years, only sliding boards and swings adorned the average school yard. More often than not, there were no separate areas for older and younger students.
An age-old favorite playground game – hop scotch. If there is no hard top, one can always take a stick and draw the diagram in the dirt. As long as there are willing participants, this game can be played most anywhere.
Many elementary schools not only have kindergarten but also house pre-school programs. A particularly favorite piece of playground equipment is the tricycle. These should be used in separate, enclosed playground areas for maximum safety.
New style sliding board
Do you remember the old sliding boards that would literally burn your hide on hot days? Not only are the new slides cooler in temperature, they are also cooler in color and style.
Lots to do here
In some cities, if a school is built in an established neighborhood, the parks and recreation department will help fund the playground equipment because it will also be used by neighborhood children when school is out.
Building upper body strength
There’s just something about being able to hang from equipment that seems to attract both boys and girls. Both can benefit from building their upper body strength and agility levels.
Swinging seems to be the next best thing to flying to little ones. How often have we all heard the words, “Push me higher!” Some children seem to have no fear when it comes to how high they are willing to go.
There’s little sadder than an empty playground – however, this school is probably closed due to snow. Before letting children play on this set, be sure all the ice has been cleared off.