EveryDay Learners: Fun and learning — The benefits of playground games
On Sept. 14, United Way of Utah County alongside 45 companies and over 1,500 volunteers took to the community performing service projects of every kind for our annual Day of Caring event. One of those projects was to refresh and repaint playground games at 31 different elementary schools. While the fresh coat of paint has visual appeal, there are so many more benefits to having these games available for children.
Some of the games that were repainted included an ABC Caterpillar, Shape Circle and Snail Hopscotch. Each game is coated with bright primary colors and fun shapes. These features make it easy to draw in young children to play during their recess time. While the kids may not fully realize it, these games actually promote simultaneous learning while also having fun.
The ABC Caterpillar is one example. The layout includes a large caterpillar with each circle of the body containing a painted letter of the alphabet. Just looking at it can create enough exposure to aid with basic letter recognition. Alternative ways to use this game might be to say a letter and have a child find it on the caterpillar. The Shape Circle, with brightly painted shapes in a variety of colors, can also help with overall shape and color recognition. During this time, a child can be directed to find the blue circle or the green triangle. They can also hop from each space, naming the color and shape they see.
Creating opportunities for everyday learning, especially learning that is enjoyable, can aid in cognitive development for children. Understanding letters aids in literacy and reading growth, which is critical for combating the risk of educational delays. Learning to find and identify differences such as in colors or shapes is a foundational block to understand how to differentiate other things, creating benefits with future learning in math or writing. This can prove as a reminder that promoting learning for our children does not have to come from rigorous study or intense worksheets. Rather, it can come from something as simple as hopscotch.
We are immensely grateful for all the volunteers who helped with the refreshing of playground games for Day of Caring. They truly helped in the creation of opportunities for everyday learning for our community’s children.