Building a caring and accepting community benefits everyone and at Magical Bridge, we believe a playground is the foundation for a lifetime of kindness.
It is important to note that only 10% of those with disabilities are physically affected; autism, cognitive and developmental issues, sensory challenges and many other differences make up the other 90%. Magical Bridge gives every child a place to experience the many physical, mental, and social benefits of outdoor play.
Playing outside, whether it’s directed play or independent play, offers significant physical benefits to children with special needs including improvements in flexibility, muscle strength, and coordination. Getting active outdoors also helps to improve cardiovascular health and exercise endurance, which may help increase life expectancy. Regular outdoor play also helps children to improve body awareness, motor skills, and balance. Being out in the sun also provides children with vitamin D, and since many children with disabilities suffer from vitamin D deficiencies, regular exposure to the sun can be helpful.
Outdoor play provides special needs children with mental benefits, most especially, a boost in self-esteem. As children overcome obstacles and improve physical skills, it increases their self-confidence. They have the chance to experience personal satisfaction and accomplishment, which can improve their confidence in every area of life. Playing outdoors can also increase attention span. Kids learn to solve problems and collaborate when playing outdoors, building important mental skills. Outdoor play helps reduce stress, reducing a child’s risk for stress related issues, such as anxiety and depression.
Children with special needs often have problems with social skills, and the social benefits of outdoor play can help address some of these problems. Playing outdoors often results in improved behavior, making it easier for children to build friendships with others. On the playground, children learn how to share, how to deal with conflict, and how to work in groups, all while having fun in a low-stress, outdoor environment. Outdoor play helps children overcome challenges and learn new skills, which promotes self-advocacy, resiliency, and self-confidence giving them the potential to build healthier relationships with others.