little boy crawling across playground steppers

Benefits of Incorporating Music and Arts Into Playgrounds

Benefits of incorporating music and arts into playgrounds

You probably know that play is a natural and essential part of a child’s development. With that in mind, it is inspiring to see the evolution of playgrounds and how these dynamic, engaging spaces boost healthy development in children. Part of the innovation in playground areas is incorporating various experiences that hone in on important skills kids will use throughout life.

Integrating music and art into playgrounds is the ideal way to enhance play without kids even noticing that they are learning vital new skills! Art and music positively impact cognitive function and academic performance, language skills, emotional development, confidence and motor skills. For educators, community leaders and parents, the benefits of incorporating music and arts into playgrounds cannot be understated.

The Symphony of Play: Enhancing Cognitive and Language Skills

Music has an incredible way of activating different areas of the brain, and the benefits of music in early childhood are undeniable. The brain is also primed to change over time as we experience new things. This is called neuroplasticity — the way that new knowledge, experiences and stimuli can literally shape our brains, and it is part of why child development through music is so important.

Music’s positive effect on the brain is noticeable whether kids are listening to music or learning to play a musical instrument. When kids play or study when listening to music, it encourages creative thinking that stimulates problem-solving skills. Music-brain stimulation also goes hand in hand, and learning to play a musical instrument, in particular, can also overflow into academic success.

The Role of Music in Language Development

Music and language share several key traits. Both music and language have pitch, tone and rhythm, and so the brain processes the two in a similar way. Because music strengthens similar neural pathways, it has a profound effect on language development.

Music is incredibly valuable in helping kids acquire new language skills — even informal exposure to music at home or at school can positively impact a child’s language skills. More than music simply enhancing language development, specific components of music, including melody, are essential to language development. Music also enhances these areas of language:

  • Listening
  • Anticipating
  • Developing vocabulary
  • Sentence development
  • Sequencing
  • Phonological awareness
  • Self-expression

Emotional Resonance: Music’s Impact on Childhood Emotions

Even as adults, we sometimes find it difficult to control how we feel. For kids who are still developing physically, hormonally and emotionally, regulating their emotions and articulating how they feel isn’t always the easiest thing. Since music has a profound effect on emotions, educators and community leaders can incorporate music during the time at the playground to support kids as they regulate their busy emotions, and it is a great form of self-expression. The influence of music on childhood emotions is beneficial in several ways since it encourages:

  • Self-expression.
  • Inclusivity.
  • Listening and awareness.
  • Teamwork and friendship when playing music or dancing together.

Music and Movement: Harmonizing Motor Skill Development

We all understand how music can influence our emotions, but even more amazing is how music impacts motor skills development. Kids learn coordination by learning to dance and move their bodies in sync with the beat of music. They also develop fine motor skills when learning to play an instrument — plucking strings, applying pressure and moving the bow, positioning hands to play chords, and coordinating left and right hands when playing various instruments all encourage motor skills.

Painting Imagination: The Artistic Side of Playgrounds

Doing any form of art, whether it is painting, making sculptures out of play dough or doodling in the sand, has profound benefits on a child’s mental and emotional wellbeing. Art is a way for kids to express themselves, process new experiences and get as creative as they wish. But even being exposed to visual art — which you can easily add to your playground design or playground area — is advantageous to kids. Visual art is also open-ended, as it ignites and inspires imagination and leaves room for children to be able to interpret it and create their own stories around the art.

Sensory Play: Integrating Sound and Color for Holistic Development

A young girl plays on a playground instrument

Sensory play are fun activities that engage a child’s senses. Think of activities that involve different colors, sounds, scents, and textures. Sensory play is a holistic way of learning that stimulates kids and teaches them valuable new skills.

Sensory play can include:

  • Tactile: Tactile play involves exploring objects with their hands and includes learning about temperature, textures, vibrations and pressure.
  • Auditory: Auditory play lets kids explore different sounds. Something as simple as letting a child play drums with a wooden stick and pots and pans is a great auditory exercise.
  • Taste and olfactory: This play lets children enjoy different smells and tastes. They can engage with scented bubbles, smell flowers, and learn different tastes with foods that are sweet, sour, bitter, salty, spicy (not too hot!) and savory.
  • Visual: These are activities that develop vision and sight. Think bright colors, interesting shapes, and even watching different movements.
  • Proprioception: Proprioception is the awareness of the position and movement of your body — absolutely essential for coordination and motor skills. Simply playing on a playground develops proprioception as kids swing, climb, jump, and move around freely.
  • Vestibular: Vestibular play relates to your sense of balance. Kids simply being able to enjoy playgrounds naturally enhances their vestibular systems as they hang, jump, swing, or balance on beams.

Because of how engaging sensory play is, there are several benefits to including elements of it in the playground area:

  • It has a calming effect.
  • It can be done alone but also encourages social interaction, which makes it very inclusive.
  • Sensory play supports concentration.
  • Sensory play enhances fine motor skills.
  • It encourages cognitive growth.

A Palette of Experiences: Sensory Stimulation in Playground Design

To incorporate sound and art in playground design, think about playgrounds that are colorful and visually interesting. You can use different materials to create different textures and sounds. It can also be a good idea to include quiet areas where kids can go if the busyness of the play area becomes overstimulating.

Striking the Right Educational Note With Musical Elements

You can introduce outdoor music by adding music elements to your playground design. Structures with bells or gongs are a unique idea that will keep kids entertained. A nearby tree stump, for example, makes excellent drums! There are many other ways you can include musical elements in your playground:

  • Chimes: These chimes make a diatonic scale which exposes kids to accurate musical notes so that they have a real foundation in music.
  • Cabasas: This fun percussive instrument is a unique way of enjoying rhythm.
  • Congas: Congas encourage children to explore beat and rhythm in a fun and simple way.
  • Vibes: Like chimes, vibes are tuned to a diatonic scale and let kids develop a musical ear while they play.

Build Development Play Spaces With Little Tikes Commercial

Are you ready to add artistic and musical elements to your playground that add value to your school, daycare, worship center, or community project? At Little Tikes Commercial, we work with you to create inclusive playgrounds that allow kids to enjoy the fun and benefits of play combined with music and art. We understand that every community has unique needs, and we value your individual requirements by providing commercial playground equipment that helps your organization create a custom play space.

We strive to enrich the lives of kids with our inclusive playground solutions. Browse our wide range of playground equipment, including sensory play equipment like Garden Sensory Walls, Traffic Lights, Silly Tree and other exceptional products or contact us today for any questions and support.

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