October 29, 2021

Three Preschool Playground Games to Enhance Childhood Development

Think back to your fondest memories of childhood. Chances are, many of them include playing games at preschool or on a school playground. Preschool playground equipment is essential for keeping our littlest explorers active outdoors, and it can help enhance their physical, social-emotional, and cognitive development.

Here are three ideas that will help your preschool and daycare students make playground memories they'll always remember.  

Sliding Into Fun 

Playground slides are great for, well, sliding, but what about racing your toy cars down them for a high-speed race?! Or racing your favorite stuffed animal on foot - send them sliding, then run around to see if you can catch “Mr. Snuggles” before he crosses the finish line. Sound effects are strongly encouraged.

Turn this game into a science experiment. Find other objects to send sliding and make your best guess which object will win the contest. Maybe it’s a slow contest, and the slowest one down wins. 

Fun fact about slides: The world’s first playground slide was made in 1922 in England. It was made entirely of wood. 

I Spy With My Little Eye

Take learning outside and go on a scavenger hunt for shapes, colors, and objects on the playground. By bringing learning opportunities outdoors, you support intellectual development and growth while giving little bodies the time they need to wiggle and move. 

You can create cut-out shapes for an entire class or group of friends to find together or turn it into a classic game of I Spy by giving each kid a turn at being the “spotter.” Watch their perspective of the world around them change before your eyes! 

Did you know? “I Spy” is one of the first games young children learn to play.

Ninja Warrior - Preschool Edition 

Who says training for an obstacle course race can’t begin in preschool? GameTime already offers Challenge Courses for ages 5 and up. Outdoor obstacle courses provide significant benefits for children. With a little creativity, you can create an obstacle course for toddlers and preschoolers, too.

Map out a fun route for kids through the playground equipment on your playground. Help them tap into their competitive spirit by using a timer or stopwatch. You can start the course with a fun game of Follow the Leader to get the kids warmed up and familiar with the route. 

Take it up a notch by letting the kids create their own obstacle course routes. Print maps of the playground and let them draw and test their routes to encourage them to explore their surroundings and be creative in their own way. 
These kids will be ready to try out a GameTime Challenge Course when they are old enough. And who knows, with this early start, maybe they’ll end up being the youngest Ninja Warrior Champion! 

Pro Tip: You can configure TotStuff preschool playground equipment as an obstacle course for Toddlers.

Why Preschool Playgrounds Are Important

We know when babies should start babbling, crawling, and walking. We know when toddlers should begin to learn colors and numbers. As children continue to grow, their reading and math skills progress. 

On top of all these milestones, we also need to be sure children develop into physically literate individuals. 

SHAPE America has established guidelines for children from birth to age five. Active Start guidelines for preschoolers reflect the research of specialists in motor development, movement, and exercise about the physical activity needs of young children. Here are the five guidelines for preschoolers: 

  • Accumulate at least 60 minutes of structured physical activity each day. 
  • Engage in at least 60 minutes - and up to several hours of - of unstructured physical activity each day, and should not be sedentary for more than 60 minutes at a time, except when sleeping.
  • Be encouraged to develop competence in fundamental motor skills that will serve as the building blocks for future motor skillfulness and physical activity. 
  • Have access to indoor and outdoor areas that meet or exceed recommended safety standards for performing large-muscle activities. 
  • Caregivers and parents in charge of preschoolers’ health and well-being are responsible for understanding the importance of physical activity and promoting movement skills by providing structured and unstructured physical activity opportunities. 

Let’s Create a Preschool Play Area Together

Preschool playground equipment plays a vital role in early childhood development. Using a playground for fun games, outdoor learning, and physical activity is essential to helping young children develop social-emotional, physical, cognitive, and sensory skills. 

If you’re ready to talk to a GameTime representative to see about providing a unique space for preschoolers, contact the GameTime play expert in your neighborhood.