Tags » ‘Parenting’


Keep Your Child Safe on Commercial Playground Equipment

January 9th, 2017 by

Going to the community playground can be lots of fun for children of all ages. They get to meet up with friends, make new ones, and explore all the park has to offer. However, commercial playground equipment can be dangerous if not used properly. Just by following a few of these simple steps, you can keep you child safe at the playground.Commercial Playground Equipment - PlayNLearn.com

  • Make sure your kids are dressed properly for the playground. Closed toed shoes, comfortable clothes that can get dirty, and no jewelry should all be part of your child’s playground wardrobe.
  • Be sure they playground your child is playing on is age appropriate. Many injuries occur because children are playing on equipment that is too advanced for them.
  • Check the commercial play equipment for any damages or pests. Also, inclement weather can cause problems as well, so know what your local weather forecast expects.
  • Simply talk to your children about the expectations of playing on the playground. By supervising and talking to them, you take the most effective step in keeping them safe.

Keeping your children safe at the local playground is easy to do and will benefit everyone in the long run. For more on playground safety and products, visit us at PlayNLearn.com.

Three Physical Developments Supported by Playground Use

December 12th, 2016 by

When children return from tumbling around the playground, their clothes are sweaty and they have a little less energy than they began with. But have you ever wondered how this time contributes to their growth? Besides basic exercise, what else is occurring to encourage physical stages of development?

Here are three developments promoted by spending the afternoon at the playground:

Coordinated movements – By actions like pumping legs back and forth to swing, children improve their ability to direct their feet and time movements. At the same time, holding on the sides of the swings to stay in place allows them to coordinate several movements at once. Game, child playing

Independent play—Free play gives children the opportunity to learn how to entertain themselves and explore the world on their own. They get to make choices between running, climbing and sliding. With self-directed play, backyard swingsets are a private world there for discovering.

Balance-Taking on gravity is another import part of enjoying backyard swingsets. As children climb and slide, they are forced to hone their balance. They learn how to stay upright, jump and lean from side to side, creating their own new repertoire of movement skills.

Give your children space to develop their physical abilities by choosing a playground that’s perfect for your family. Play N’ Learn has playgrounds that are perfect for any age and space. Learn more at PlayNLearn.com.

Why Communal Playgrounds are Great for Your Kids

November 8th, 2016 by

Whether it’s a playground at school or the local park, some parents are hesitant about communal playgrounds. Playgrounds with commercial playground equipment are beneficial to children for a number of reasons. Here’s why:Commercial Playground

Age appropriate equipment assists physical development. Children who play on playgrounds made for their age group explore and learn new physical skills. Children can enhance their climbing, hand eye, and other coordination skills while playing on age appropriate equipment.

Playgrounds are great for social development. Children who play on communal playgrounds with their peers pick up on social cues and learn more about how to interact with others. Skills like sharing, collaboration, and imaginative play are all things that children learn while on the playground.

Early play enforces other lifelong benefits. Children who find that they enjoy playing on the playground may develop a habit of daily play. This keeps them active and healthy. Additionally, children can develop self-confidence when conquering new play structures. For instance, if they once found the rope bridge at the park scary, if they try it on their own and succeed, they develop the confidence to try new things and believe in their abilities.

Having your children play on commercial play equipment fosters a number of fantastic, lifelong benefits. For more information on playground equipment for your home, school, or commercial property, visit PlayNLearn.com.

 

How to Choose the Right Play Set for Your Yard

March 15th, 2016 by

How to Choose the Right Play Set for Your YardGetting a new play set or upgrading your existing play structure can feel daunting. From the variations of slides and swings to features like forts, climbing walls, monkey bars, and even chalk boards, the options are endless — and the decision isn’t something to take lightly, given that most play sets are a family’s hub of fun and activity for years on end. Where do you begin? What can help you find the right fit?

Below, we guide you through the process.

How do I get started?
Browsing play sets and accessories online is a great way to get initial ideas, but meeting with a play set specialist and seeing the options in person is always best. After all, you can compare the different sizes and add-on options, and a knowledgeable sales associate can chat with you about your needs and make recommendations based on the ages of your kids and the size of your yard. If you visit one of our showrooms, your kids can try out some of our play sets firsthand — and you’ll be able to see what excites them.

What if I have a play set I need to get removed first?
If you’re buying a play set from Play N’ Learn, we can remove your existing structure for a small fee. That way, your play set experience can be streamlined — and you won’t need to make arrangements with multiple companies. We’ll handle it all for you.

Can I still get a play set if my yard isn’t level or my yard isn’t big enough?
A short answer to this question is — absolutely! But it’s a question many families ask when they walk in our showrooms. Remember: the way we display play sets in the showroom isn’t at all how they have to look in your yard. The displays are there to give you ideas and let kids try out the options. If your yard isn’t perfectly flat, we can adjust the legs or add a different length slide. And if your dream play set won’t fit the current dimensions of your yard, we can shorten the swing beams or reconfigure slides and ladders to work around your space limitations. Plenty of options exist for uneven, awkwardly shaped, and even really small yards. So don’t let any of these stop you.

What if my HOA declines me?
In most cases, since our play sets are not fixed permanently to the ground, and since they come in neutral colors, they’re usually not declined by HOAs. If you’re awaiting HOA approval, we can stagger installation so that you can get the full go-ahead from the time you purchase to the day we install the swing set. And if you get declined, your purchase is fully refundable.

Can I add on more features later?
If you want to start with a smaller set and build out as your kids get older, that’s completely fine. Our swing sets are made so that you can add features like monkey bars, fire poles, tire swings, and other great accessories that can vary the play experience year after year. For instance, you might start with features like the captain’s wheel or telescopes for young kids who like to play imaginary games, and later decide to add accessories like a rock climbing wall for older kids who like a challenge or a hammock swing for those who like to relax and read. In this way, your play set investment keeps going.

At Play N’ Learn, we provide a full range of play equipment and specialize in helping families make choices that can grow alongside their kids and create lasting memories. Stop by one of our showrooms, and we’ll point you in the right direction.

Cabin Fever Cure-alls: Ideas for Winter Break Fun

December 17th, 2015 by

Cabin Fever Cure-alls: Ideas for Winter Break FunIf you don’t have travel plans on the books for winter break, you may find the kids getting stir crazy. Once the holidays are over and the constant hum of activity and visits from relatives die down, your kids may not know what to do with themselves, especially with cold weather keeping them indoors. While it may seem difficult to come up with options entertaining enough to catch your kids’ attention, winter break is a great time to think outside the box and try some new activities.

After all, being out of school and off work is a great excuse to do activities you wouldn’t normally be able to. Now’s an opportune time to take advantage of all the fun indoor places to play that you may never have visited before, or that your kids have already come to love. Here are a few ideas for how to keep winter break fun and active.

Take a spin on the ice
To get your dose of winter fun, head to the ice skating rink with your kids and their friends for a few hours of free skate. Ice skating helps with balance and coordination and is great exercise…but your kids won’t realize it’s anything but good old fashioned fun. Top it off with some hot chocolate afterwards and you’ve had yourself an exciting day.

Try out an indoor trampoline center
For some higher energy fun, check out a trampoline center near you where you and your kids can go for an open play session, or you can invite friends for a special post-holiday jumping party. Jumping on trampolines is a great way to exercise for both kids and adults, so join in the fun! If your kid has already been to an indoor trampoline center, mix it up by going to a special class or dodge ball game.

Head to an interactive science museum
While some kids may balk at the idea of going to a museum when they’re supposed to be out of school, odds are good that your city has a science museum that isn’t just about displays and facts. If you visit a science museum that has interactive displays and experiential learning exhibits, you’re in for a fun day of hands-on learning and activity that the kids will be talking about for days to come. Plus, when you go to a museum with the family, there are no packets to do or quizzes at the end — it’s all about just running around and having fun . . . and learning something, too!

Blow off some steam with laser tag
Laser tag is tried and true — it keeps your kids moving, it keeps their minds active as they make up strategy, it encourages teamwork, and you can play as many or as few rounds as you’d like. Plus, you can show up with a huge group or just a few people and you’ll be paired with other kids. It’s the perfect outing for a day when you realize you have a few hours to fill and you want to spend them doing something fun that also gets the heart rate up.

Come visit a Play N’ Learn showroom
We get it: Your play set is probably going unused right now because of the cold temperatures. But if your kids still want to enjoy playing on a play set and the added fun of trying out features that your set doesn’t have (plus basketball, trampolines, and more), come visit us at a Play N’ Learn showroom for one of our open play sessions so they can try everything out.

We hope you and your family have a happy holiday season and enjoy the opportunity to play!

How Parents Can Help Make Playground Time Safer

October 23rd, 2015 by

How Parents Can Help Make Playground Time SaferWe all love to see our kids play and have fun, and we know that playing has benefits past putting a smile on little faces. Playing is good for coordination as well as muscle and emotional development, and can reduce stress. So here at Play N’ Learn, we take every opportunity there is to get out and play. But sometimes accidents do happen — it’s inevitable with the running, jumping, crawling, and more that comes with having a blast. Still, as parents, there are things you can do to make sure that your children enjoy playtime as safely as possible. Here are four easy ways to start.

1. Check playground equipment to make sure it’s received routine maintenance
Before setting your kids loose to have a good time, it’s a good idea to walk around your local playground to make sure everything looks and feels well maintained. There shouldn’t be loose or wobbly elements, and whatever protective flooring is in place shouldn’t be worn out. If any playground equipment seems to need a tune-up, especially as the seasons change, keep your kids (and their friends) off of it until repairs have been made.

2. Make sure your kids are playing on age-appropriate equipment
Another easy thing you can do to keep your kids safe at the playground is to make sure they are playing on age-appropriate equipment. For your children’s and others’ safety, they should stick to what has been deemed safe for their age group, no matter how alluring the equipment being used by older children may be. Many playgrounds have a variety of types of equipment available in the same location, including elements like low platforms and shorter slides for children under five, and swings and monkey bars for older children.

3. Leave your phone in your bag
We all get distracted by our devices, and when the kids are occupied, it may seem like a good time to get caught up on your emails, the news, or just get in a quick round of Candy Crush. But studies show that children are three times more likely to engage in risky behavior on the playground when their parents are distracted by electronic devices. Being able to stop those risky behaviors, like jumping off swings or using equipment outside of its intended use, before they turn into accidents requires your attention — and few distractions.

4. Keep your conversations in a place where you can still supervise
Electronics aren’t the only things that can pull your attention away from your kids when they’re in action at the playground. When all the parents are in one spot, it can be easy to get wrapped up in a conversation and not realize the kids have invented an innovative new game that might end in an accident. While the playground should be fun for parents, too, it’s important to keep an eye and ear on your kids at all times.

Getting your kids out to play should be a fun occasion, and keeping them safe doesn’t mean that your play time needs to be full of worry. Incorporating these few easy habits into your play routine can make it easy to keep your kids as safe as possible while taking those few inevitable bruises and scraped knees in stride. And if you’re ready to bring home the fun of an age-appropriate playground that can even grow with your kids, stop by a Play N’ Learn showroom. We can talk you through the process of adding play solutions to your yard that will be fun and safe for the whole family.

Prioritize Health as Part of National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month

September 2nd, 2015 by

National Childhood Obesity Awareness MonthSeptember brings the first day of fall, back to school season, and an opportunity to evaluate your child’s nutrition as part of National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month. Whether you’re confident that you’re making healthy choices or looking for a good way to start, there are things you can do to help your sprouts grow up strong and fit.

Make sure your kids get exercise, and enough of it
The CDC recommends that children get 60 minutes of exercise each day. That sounds like a lot, but replace two episodes of after-school TV with play time, and you’ve already done it. If your kids are bored with their normal play routines, see if they want to join a sport or take classes, get friends involved, or start a neighborhood play club to keep them engaged and interested. We have a broad range of fun play ideas in our blog archives.

Ensure safe and accessible park space
Even your best efforts to keep kids active can be met with difficulty when children don’t have safe and accessible places to play. That makes it difficult to go outside and get the playtime that’s crucial for physical and emotional development, let alone the recommended amount of exercise necessary to keep kids at a healthy weight. Time and again, we see examples of neighborhoods banding together with nonprofits or their local governments to turn unused land or run-down parks into places that are great for play.

Provide healthy and nutritious snacks
In addition to sedentary lifestyles, poor nutrition is a big factor in childhood obesity. So instead of letting kids chow down on processed snacks and junk foods, fuel their play with fun snacks that also meet their nutritional needs—fruits, nuts, veggies, and more. You can also model good eating behaviors by drinking water instead of soda or sugary fruit juice and making healthy food choices yourself—after all, your kids look up to you to see what decisions you make, even if they say they don’t.

Know what’s normal and what isn’t
It can be hard to know whether your child is just going through a normal growth spurt or their weight gain is the beginning of an unhealthy pattern. The USDA has a helpful guide on how to navigate the sometimes tricky growth patterns your kids are going through. Most of all, your child’s pediatrician will be able to advise you about whether your child’s weight is normal. It’s generally better to model healthy habits and encourage kids to get out and play more, instead of imposing diets or focusing on losing weight—what’s important is for your kids to stay healthy and take care of the body they’re in.

The biggest takeaway: there’s no such thing as too much play.

Looking for ways to make your backyard an endless source of fun for your kids? Stop by one of our Play N’ Learn showrooms, and we can help you turn your yard into an active, nonstop fun zone.

5 Ideas for All-Ages Fun at Your Backyard BBQ

July 9th, 2015 by

5 Ideas for All-Ages Fun at Your Backyard BBQSummer is barbeque season — is your backyard ready for action? Before guests arrive, while the hotdogs are cooking, and after dinner, here are a few ways to get everybody involved in making your backyard party central.

1. Have your kids decorate your playset or patio.
For your kids, the fun doesn’t have to wait until the guests arrive. Keep them busy and creative by putting them in charge of decorating the playset for their friends or the patio where you’ll serve your meal. Break out the construction paper, streamers, glitter — whatever you have in the craft supplies box is fair game. Twinkle lights can add extra sparkle if the festivities will go on until after dark. Just have an adult plug them in!

2. Get a game of HORSE going.
A game of basketball doesn’t have to feel like the March Madness tournament — a casual game of HORSE on the hoop in your driveway can keep guests of all ages involved as they try to match each other’s shots. For something different, try one of these basketball games the whole family can play. Your family and friends will only be a shout away when the food is ready to serve.

3. Bounce on the trampoline.
Jumping on the trampoline is fun for everyone, and has a host of health benefits for both children and adults, so no one has an excuse not to join in. Try one of many trampoline games you can play with friends to get the whole group involved. You’ll be getting exercise and having fun, all while staying out of the grill-master’s hair.

4. Set up an obstacle course for the kids.
Using your playset, basketball hoop, trampoline, or other play equipment you have, challenge the adults at your party to create an obstacle course for the kids. Then switch it around by having the kids create one for the adults. If your guests have a competitive spirit, consider tracking times and giving out some fun awards. Who will finish the course the fastest, the most gracefully, or with the most pizazz? Get creative with your awards categories, and if you’re feeling brave, team up with the adults to take on the kids in a course designed by everyone!

5. Go on an after-dinner nature walk.
You may be too full to bounce on the trampoline after a big meal, but you and your guests can still get some exercise and enjoy the outdoors after dinner. Have your kids prepare beforehand and lead a nature walk around your yard or neighborhood. They can point out different types of trees, flowers, wildlife, and any other interesting facts about the local landscape. If it’s dark out, offer kids mason jars to catch lightning bugs!

With summer upon us, the time to savor the warm air and sunshine of your backyard is now. Happy summer and happy playing! And if you’re ready to add some built-in fun to your backyard, stop by one of our locations to learn get decked out with some great play equipment.

Health Benefits of Trampolines for Adults

May 22nd, 2015 by

Health Benefits of TrampolinesJumping on a trampoline is one activity that is guaranteed to help kids burn off steam — and can even make your child more fit in the process. But did you know the same perks hold true for adults? Jumping on the trampoline is a great workout and has a host of benefits, in addition to being a lot of fun for people of any age.

And the trampoline trend is catching on. Chances are, you’ve have noticed the wave of indoor trampoline parks popping up in towns big and small. Many offer aerobics classes and fitness-oriented programs for those looking to mix up their workouts. But the reality is, you can get the same health benefits by bouncing on the trampoline in your own backyard. Here are a few reasons to tell your kids it’s your turn to jump.

It makes your bones and muscles stronger.
Like any weight-bearing activity, jumping on a trampoline will help increase your bone strength. Good bone strength reduces the risk of osteoporosis and fractures. At the same time you’re building bone strength, you’ll also be building muscles — and not just your glutes and quads. Since you’ll be working hard to stabilize yourself with your core muscles, you’ll be strengthening your back and abs, too.

It takes stress off of your weight-bearing joints.
If you’re recovering from an injury or are new to exercise, jumping on a trampoline is a low-impact way to get started without putting a lot of stress on your body. If you’re a regular exerciser, a session on the trampoline can also be a great cross-training exercise for days that you want to take some stress off of your body while still getting a great workout.

It improves your overall health.
Just like other forms of aerobic exercise, once you’ve jumped enough to get your heart rate up, you’ll start to see cardiovascular benefits in addition to the muscle you’re building. The benefits don’t stop with cardiovascular health, though. Aerobic exercise works wonders for your whole body. It can help lower blood pressure, control blood sugar, improve blood flow, reduce bad cholesterol, and reduce your risk of other health conditions.

It’s fun and can make you feel happier.
How often do you have to drag yourself to the gym or force yourself to get through that morning run? Exercise doesn’t have to be a chore. Jumping on the trampoline can help you inject some fun back into your workout routine — because when you’re jumping, it doesn’t feel like you’re exercising. Even better, since you’re getting all the same benefits of a good workout, you’ll also be releasing those great endorphins that help improve mood, reduce stress, and promote relaxation.

Ready to start jumping? It’s hard to say no to a trampoline when it provides so much fun and fitness for your whole family. Stop by our showrooms to check out the trampolines Play N Learn has to offer, and we’ll help you get on your way to a guaranteed fun workout. And for more on how grownups can get in on the fun and fitness benefits of play, check out our post on “Playgrounds for Adults.”

Inclusive Playgrounds Benefit All

April 16th, 2015 by

Inclusive PlaygroundsPlaygrounds are not only a ton of fun but also a crucial place for kids to develop physical, cognitive, and social skills while they play. Unfortunately, most playgrounds (especially older models) aren’t designed to accommodate children with physical or cognitive disabilities. Today, more communities are banding together to build inclusive playgrounds that are accessible to all children, including those with special needs.

What are inclusive playgrounds?
Inclusive playgrounds are play areas that accommodate children with a broad range of physical and cognitive abilities. In 2010, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was updated to include playgrounds. Now, any newly constructed or renovated public playgrounds must be accessible to those with disabilities, to provide all children the same outdoor play opportunities.

Where can I find an inclusive playground?
Moving forward, more and more communities will have inclusive playgrounds due to the new ADA requirements. But inclusive playgrounds come with a bigger price tag than their counterparts, and local governments are having a hard time finding the budget to build them. So frequently, parents and advocates are the ones pushing for these playgrounds to be built, and they’re doing the legwork to secure financing, as well. But for families of children with disabilities, waiting for their towns to update playgrounds isn’t good enough — they want to see their kids partaking in and enjoying the same fun as their able-bodied friends.

What kinds of features does an inclusive playground have?
Inclusive playgrounds are some of the best playgrounds around. They have all of the fun features of regular playgrounds, but may also have ramps for children who need physical assistance from a wheelchair or otherwise. Also, instead of mulch, the rubberized surface on an inclusive playground is smooth so that wheels won’t get stuck. Instead of classic swings, the swings of an inclusive playground provide back support to help children with muscular development issues.

Those are just the physical elements — inclusive playgrounds also have play features that foster emotional and cognitive development. Sensory, cognitive, and social skills are all part of the package, so kids who come to play can be stimulated in ways that match their level and ability.

The next time you’re at your local playground, take a look around and ask yourself: can all kids play and have fun there? If your playground needs an update, take charge! By banding together with your community and securing grants and donations, your town can revamp its local playground into one that’s even more awesome, where everyone can have fun and experience the benefits of outdoor play together.

Looking for fun and safe play equipment for your own backyard? Stop by one of our showrooms to see our wide range of swing sets, accessories, rubber mulch, and more!