Archive for November, 2012

Benefits of Playground Equipment for Children with Autism

November 27th, 2012 by

How can playground equipment benefit children with autism?With the diagnosis of autism and related disorders on the rise throughout the United States, parents and teachers are looking for any way to treat and enrich the lives of children who are diagnosed with some spectrum of the disorder.

From highly structured therapeutic activities to address behavior and speech issues to other forms of treatment like animal or music therapy, there are multitudes of ways to engage and improve the lives of children with autism. One of these methods is using structured play. It’s important to note that play programs must be implemented properly in order to be effective, as participation in physical activity can be difficult for children with autism because of low motor functioning and social anxiety.

Read on to see how using structured play on playground equipment can benefit children with autism alongside a behavioral intervention.

1. Play promotes fitness and a healthy lifestyle

The prevalence of being overweight increases for children with autism, with 19% of children with autism being overweight and an additional 36% at risk. Being overweight can bring with it the usual associated health problems like diabetes, heart problems, and joint issues, but these conditions can become especially problematic in children with autism as they frequently already have health issues like gastrointestinal problems, anxiety, and depression. Promoting activity and healthy movement helps children stay healthy and fit to reduce the risk of weight gain.

2. Exercise and play improves motor function

If you think about the number of challenges your playset presents to your child, it’s no surprise that using a rope ladder, slide, or swing would increase motor skills. By engaging in structured play sessions using some aspects of a playground or play area, a child with autism can increase their balance, flexibility, and strength.

3. Structured play decreases negative behavior

Negative, self-stimulating behavior like body rocking, spinning, and head-nodding are frequent in children with autism. Exercise, however, can help curb these behaviors along with aggressive or self-injurious behavior. It’s possible that the routines of exercise are similar enough to distract from the negative behavior.

4. Physical activity improves social outcomes

The benefits of exercise and play for children and adults alike are well known—we all are usually in a good mood after we exercise, and playing on teams promotes cooperation and teamwork. For children with autism, these benefits can be even more important as these children are frequently anxious and depressed and have a hard time interacting with other people. Physical exercise and play can promote self-esteem, increase general happiness, and help develop social relationships.

Incorporating structured play and exercise into autism treatment can have a myriad of positive outcomes for children who have been diagnosed on the spectrum. Using playground equipment to help children with autism have a structured and safe environment is a great way to promote physical activity and all the benefits that go along with it for children with autism.

Why Woodplay Uses California Redwood For Its Playsets

November 20th, 2012 by

We sell Woodplay playsets made from redwood from the California Redwood Company. At Play N’ Learn’s Playground Superstores, we’re committed to using the highest quality products and partnering with companies that we know we can trust. That’s why we sell Woodplay playsets made from redwood from the California Redwood Company. Why California Redwood? Read on to find out more about why we’ve partnered with these companies to make the best redwood for our playsets.

1. They’re family owned and oriented.

The California Redwood Company has the longest history in the redwood industry as a family owned business for the past 126 years. Long term partnerships are important to them, just like they are to us.

2. They’re the largest redwood producer in the world.

With the second largest timberlands holding in California (over 430,000 acres) and an additional 300,000 acres in the Pacific Northwest, the California Redwood Company is the largest redwood producer in the world. All of their products are harvested and produced in the United States, and they’re committed to their local workers and communities. They’re also environmentally conscious—the CRC uses sustainable practices and was the first timber company with an approved Habitat Conservation Plan for the spotted owl and also for aquatics.

3. They make the highest quality redwood products available.

The California Redwood Company makes wood that is in excess of the specifications of existing specifications for playsets, meaning that all wood used in Woodplay playsets is super durable. At several points during the manufacturing process, the wood is graded to Woodplay specifications and anything that doesn’t measure up is dropped from the stock.

4. Redwood is the perfect material for playsets.

Redwood is a beautiful, high performance wood that will keep your playset strong throughout years of play. It’s decay resistant, dimensionally stable, easy to work with, and accepts stains and paints better than alternatives. In addition to being practical, redwood is also the most responsible wood choice. It’s sustainable and renewable, and is the fastest growing species of premium wood. That means that replanting efforts make an impact faster than with other species. Redwood sequesters carbon faster than alternative types of trees and has the lowest carbon footprint in the industry.

With a history and product like this, it’s no surprise that Play N’ Learn loves working with Woodplay and the California Redwood Company to provide the highest quality playsets while still maintaining our commitment to the environment and our local workers. Stop by a Play N’ Learn’s Playground Superstore today to see redwood in action in one of our Woodplay sets!