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7 fabulous benefits of taking your child to the playground
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Playgrounds are not only for entertainment. Read 7 ways they are great for you and your children in many other ways you may not even realize. - photo by Mindy Raye Friedman
If youve got children, youve probably spent some time at a playground. But do you know about all the benefits of those colorful stairs, slides, and swings?

Often, getting out of the house and to the park may be a bit of a challenge for you. But, here are 7 great reasons why that effort is totally worth it:

1. Free play

One reason playgrounds are great is because they provide plenty of opportunities for free play, which is different from organized sports and games or even recess. Free play and pretend play are important because they allow children to explore and play according to how they feel and to discover what they like.

2. Brain development

Play is an important part of a childs brain development. Its one of the reasons why children are born with the desire and ability to play.

Playgrounds are designed for many different kinds of play, so they help to build up a childs brain as he or she imagines and figures things out.

3. Vitamin D

Being at a playground is also beneficial to encourage children to spend time outdoors where they can get plenty of fresh air and vitamin D, which has all sorts of health benefits, including helping children build strong bones.

4. Social skills

Playgrounds are usually full of children playing, so taking your own children provides wonderful opportunities for them to spend time with other children.

This teaches them not only how to make friends, but to learn social rules and to interact with children of different ages, who have special needs, or are different from them in other ways.

It also helps children develop their language ability when they talk with their peers.

5. Mood improvement

Playing outside is a great stress reliever for both you and your children. Sometimes a change in scenery by visiting the playground is often just what a cranky toddler or child needs to be happy again.

Taking your children to the playground can be a lifesaver on a crazy day.

6. Exposure to animals

Parks arent only a great place for children; they are also great for animals. Many people bring their pets to the park and you can also find wild animals like bugs, squirrels, birds, or lizards.

The playground can be a great place to expose your child to some animals and to teach rules about staying safe around animals.

7. Motor skills

Of course playgrounds are a great place for running, climbing, sliding, swinging, tinkering, and all sorts of activities that teach motor skills. They help toddlers to learn basic motor skills, and for preschoolers or older children to fine-tune those skills.

Different types of equipment also build different skills, so its good if your playground provides variety.

Another great thing about using motor skills is that moving around provides necessary exercise to help children build muscles and reduce obesity.

So the next time youre wondering if its worth the effort to take your kids to the park, remember that its not only entertainment youre providing, but so much more!