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May 2022

midstates recreation playground

Why Downtime is Important for Children

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Everyone needs time to relax and decompress, kids included. Kids have to be “on” and focused while at school and at extracurricular activities. Being able to wind down after these obligations is imperative. Read on to learn about the importance of downtime for your children below.

Ask Yourself, “Is My Child Overscheduled?” 

Adults aren’t the only ones that can have a hectic schedule. We want our children to be involved in extracurricular activities, but are they busy from the moment they wake up until the moment they go to bed? Constant sports practices and games, studying for school, completing homework, and running family errands can add up to be a packed schedule with no room for relaxation.

If your child is overscheduled, they may be experiencing poor sleep habits and/or poor school performance.

The Importance of Downtime for Your Child

What is downtime? Downtime is simply a period of the day when your child has the opportunity to relax, decompress, and recharge. They don’t have to be anywhere or doing anything specific.

Providing your child with downtime can help eliminate stress, improve their sleep, and improve their school performance. Our brains need time to relax and take a pause from the craziness of our daily lives. Relaxing allows children to do things they want to do, rather than things they have to do.

It is very important to provide your children with unstructured play. Unstructured play does not involve any guidelines for what the child should do. This provides more opportunities for them to use their imagination and creativity to play, ultimately improving their problem-solving and decision-making skills.

The CDC recommends 60 minutes or more of moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity each day.

How Can I Create Downtime for Kids?

Create a Doable Schedule

There is a multitude of reasons why extracurricular activities benefit children. As you create their schedule, be mindful to not overschedule.

  1. Avoid having obligations every day. You can take the mindset of having a one-to-one ratio of downtime and activities throughout the school year.
  2. Discuss and identify what activities your child is truly passionate about and commit to only a couple at a time.

Let Them Play

Play is natural for a child. Don’t force them to play, socialize, or be creative. Rather, let them play when they want and let them relax when it seems like they need a break. Teach children the importance of getting back to being productive after relaxing. For example, your child may need a bit of downtime after school but will need to complete their homework afterward.

Get Outside

Most importantly – spend time outside. Spending downtime outside checks so many boxes we are attempting to accomplish.

  1. Relaxation time
  2. Play
  3. Exercise
  4. Stress Relief

So let your kids play in the yard, take a walk as a family, ride bikes together, or visit your local park or playground!

Midstates Recreation designs, supplies, and builds community-enhancing recreational play and site structures. Midstates Recreation offers a variety of playground equipment in communities located in Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, and Michigan. Our emphasis is not only to create play and recreation spaces for all but to also provide a truly valuable and inclusive addition to your community! Contact your local sales representative to learn more.

group design collab

4 Factors for Consideration When Planning Your Park

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4 Factors for Consideration When Planning Your Park

1.What Does Your Park Look Like?

Designing a park includes many various components. When choosing the integral parts of your park, you will need to consider your visual goals, children’s varying abilities, the comfort of supervisors, and the area you are trying to fill. Regardless of the size of your area, your design and choices will impact the users of the park. With so many choices, it is important to design your park based on your goals and the needs of those using it.

2. What Are Your Park Goals?

Designing a park can be overwhelming. The first step to creating the perfect recreational play area is deciding what your top goals are. Some factors you need to consider are as follows: What is the desired level of inclusivity? Will your play space be a traditional post and platform structure

, unstructured freestanding play, nature play, rope play, or a combination of these elements? Is it going to be an area where its users can improve their upper body strength, endurance, or balance? Would you like to include sensory play such as outdoor musical equipment? Is multigenerational play a concern? Will adults will join in on the play activities or is the space designed more for their comfort when observing? These are some of the necessary goals to consider before designing your park.

3. Who Are The Users of Your Park?

Many times ensuring that children of all abilities are able to access and play will be crucial. Inclusion matters and there are many inclusive play options available when designing your park.

It is also important to consider equipment that will encourage multigenerational play. Play areas should be designed so that it meets the physical and developmental needs of ages 2-5, 5-12, or 2-12. You can also include aspects where adults or supervisors are able to interact as well as options for shady, comfortable areas with benches.

4. What Are Your Visual Goals?

This is the fun part! How will your park reach users visually? Will your park be functional, elegant, eco-friendly, or all of the above? Will your safety surfacing contribute to the visual aesthetic? Some options to consider are benches, planters, umbrellas, tables, shade structures, and so much more.

Shade shelters can keep users cool on a hot, sunny day. They will also protect you from harmful UV rays. You will decide whether you prefer bright colorful equipment or a more natural array of equipment that blends in with natural backdrops. The visual distinction will set your park apart from the rest!

Midstates Recreation designs, supplies, and builds community-enhancing recreational play and site structures. Midstates Recreation offers a variety of playground equipment in communities located in Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, and Michigan. Our emphasis is not only to create play and recreation spaces for all but to also provide a truly valuable and inclusive addition to your community! Contact your local sales representative to learn more.