Thursday, May 26, 2005

Climbing frames and swing sets: Children playing for health

Dunster House, specialists in wooden climbing frames and swing sets for children, explores the question:

“Can climbing frames and swing sets help to keep children healthy, happy and active?”

BUPA reports on it’s website that “In recent years obesity levels in children have risen in the UK, with a worrying 8.5 percent of six-year olds now being obese (figures from the Health Development Agency [HDA])” The website goes on to say that “Part of the cause has been put down to a growing state of passive inactivity, with activities such as playing computer games and watching television becoming increasingly popular with children”

So do children really prefer to be sitting in the house in front of a television or computer game rather than running, hiding, climbing on climbing frames, chasing or being with friends?

As indicated by BUPA there does appear to be a reduction in active play by children in the UK. Pin pointing the exact cause is almost impossible. Some factors that may have had an effect include the rise and accessibility of computer technology, the apparent reduction in urban play spaces with climbing frames and swings etc. and more concern relating to child safety issues. What is definite is that this inactivity is having an impact on the health of many of today’s children.

As probably the greatest influence in a child’s life, a parent plays a key role in encouraging their children to be more active and providing their children with plenty of opportunities to enjoy the fresh air and active play.

Encouraging children to participate in active play is an excellent starting point for health, but it also has many other equally important functions. In child development play can improve muscle control and co ordination, strength, stamina and when undertaken with other children social skills and emotional development.

So the good news is that given the space, encouragement and resources, such as climbing frames, sports equipment etc. a child’s natural instinct is to play! Which is one of the principles that Dunster House designers and manufacturers of wooden climbing frames and swing sets have incorporated into their products.
“We design our climbing frames to be safe and fun, but the fact they keep children active is a definite bonus! We took our inspiration from the way children love to play in parks. They relish the chance to run, climb, swing and slide and never once seem to be missing the television!” Alex Murphy, Director at Dunster House explained

“The reason our climbing frames keep kids active and fit is because they are enjoying themselves. Our wooden climbing frames are modular so they can be adapted as the child grows. Ultimately they are fun and allow parents to watch their kids play in the safety of their back garden. “

While Jamie Oliver, the media and the politicians fight for child health issues in the UK, as a parent, helping your own child to become more active can be as simple as encouraging outdoors play and also to lead by example.

For Further Information:
For further information on the climbing frames and swing sets provided by Dunster House, contact 01234 272 445 or visit www.dhleisureandgarden.com

The full article from which the initial quote was taken from can be found on the BUPA website http://www.bupa.co.uk/health_information/html/healthy_living/children/healthy/active.html

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