World Mental Health Day takes place on Thursday 10th October 2019. It’s an opportunity for us all to come together and raise awareness of mental health issues and the stigma that surrounds them. Here at Discovering Days, we thought we’d take this opportunity to highlight the benefits positive play experiences can have on a child’s mental health. The majority of our wooden playground equipment promotes group play and inclusivity on the playground.
Studies show that 1 in 10 children and young people suffer from mental health issues. As awareness around children’s mental health grows, schools around the country are doing what they can to support the mental health and wellbeing of their students.
The Importance Of An Inclusive Playground
Studies have also shown that children who are bullied during their school years are more likely to struggle with mental health issues. Unfortunately, the playground is one of the most common places for bullying to occur.
Tackling bullying at schools is not easy, particularly as most playground bullying goes unnoticed. However, as World Mental Health Day approaches, we have an opportunity to teach children about the affects of bullying and create a positive playground experience for all children.
On a playground, bullying can be something as small as leaving someone out of a game or it can be something much bigger; such as physically hurting someone else. Every form of bullying, no matter how small it may seem, can seriously impact a child’s mental health.
Encouraging group play on the playground is a good way to start tackling bullying. As well as including all children, group play also enables children to build relationships and bonds with those who have similar interests. It promotes communication, creativity, co-operation and most importantly; friendship.
Tips For Encouraging Inclusivity And Group Play On The Playground
- Raise Awareness: Educating children on the importance of mental health issues is a good place to start. Talk to the children about bullying, excluding each other from play, and name-calling etc. Explain how these various types of bullying can affect someone. Encourage open discussions within the classroom and help children to understand how playing together and being inclusive can help others.
- Create A Buddy System: Pair each child up with another child from their class and explain the importance of being Buddies. Buddies are to look out for each other in the classroom and on the playground. Buddies should be encouraged to help each other when required and include each other in their games. The buddy may change each term to allow the children to form positive bonds and friendships with various people within their class. Alternatively, pair a child up with an older class from a year above. The older child will take on an important role in looking out for their Little Buddy on the playground.
- Reward Those Who Look Out For Others: Reward the children who have demonstrated kindness on the playground. Even something as small as inviting someone to play should be rewarded and praised. By teaching children to look out for each other, and rewarding those that do so, you are creating a playground that is full of positive experiences.
- Encourage Group Games: Traditional games such as Tag and Statues are still lots of fun! Sometimes, children just need a nudge in the right direction. Suggest that the children get together and play a fun group game.
Wooden Play Equipment That Encourages Inclusivity
When choosing play equipment for your playground, you should be focusing on products that encourage group play. The Mayflower Wooden Play Boat and Hobbit House, for example, encourage children to play together and take on different roles within imaginative play.
You should also consider choosing wooden playground equipment that inspires roleplay. Imaginative role play is usually enjoyed in pairs or groups of children. For example, a Wooden Mud Kitchen or Construction Workbench is great for inspiring roleplay within the playground.
Get In Touch
If you are looking for wooden playground equipment or would like more information about promoting group play, we can help. At Discovering Days, we design, and manufacture quality outdoor playground equipment.
Our wide range of wooden playground equipment is made with love and care to ensure the utmost safety and durability. We also pride ourselves on meeting all playground equipment safety standards.
Alternatively, we can design and manufacture the perfect wooden playground equipment for your school or nursery with our bespoke option.
You can contact us here for more information or you can call us on 01282 416 755 to discuss any of our products.
Our staff are all fully trained in the design and manufacture of wooden play equipment for children and are experts in understanding what works best in the space you have. We have worked with a range of schools in the past and understand the challenges that come with creating playground equipment for children of all abilities.