Editor’s Note:  We are very pleased to introduce our first “Playground Therapy” article written by our friend, Marissa at Pediatric Rehab of North Jersey.  For more information on her and her practice, check out their website here.  Marissa and I had a great conversation about how playgrounds can help kids in more than just play.  I was surprised to hear that kids can transition to the big swings so much earlier than we typically would think and that these big swings are excellent core builders. 

All parents know that playgrounds are great fun for their children. Most would be surprised, however, to learn just how important playgrounds can be in their childs’ development and health. Even the smallest playground can have a big impact on heart, lungs, stronger muscles, coordination, critical thinking, and socialization.

Playgrounds are always worth the prep,  weather, and even a longer drive. In future postings, Pediatric Rehab of North Jersey will help us take a look at specific playground equipment and the areas of health and development that it can aid. We’ll also give some tips for how parents can help their child be safe and successful during play.

As always, if your child has any medical condition, please discuss with your pediatrician and/or therapists before beginning any exercise program. 

Pediatric Rehab of North Jersey

Strap swings vs. bucket swings.

“Many parents are unsure when to begin to move their child out of the bucket swings and begin to try a more open strap swing. If your child is walking by themselves, they are ready for a strap swing.

Slowly introduce the strap swing by holding their hands on the chains and gently swinging with lots of praise and “Wheee!”

You can then move the the side of the swing.

Allow them to hold the chains themselves and you can hold their hips and the strap together while you move them forward and back.

Keeping your hands on your child and the swing will increase their feeling of security and fun.

From this side position, you can also help them to reach their legs forward and down to get off the swing safely.

Don’t be discouraged if they only last for a few swings.

Practice and fun makes perfect.”

To check out which parks have swings by you, check out our long list of parks in NJ with swings (click on older entries for more pages), make sure you take a look at the pictures to see if they have the swings you are looking for.