Your 5-year-old is getting to be a big kid, and he needs the play equipment to help him develop his large muscles and encourage physical activity. It’s time to get rid of the little molded slide and tiny sandbox and build him a big-kid play area. Five-year-olds need toys that will challenge them and encourage them to stretch their abilities. Play equipment should be designed to last through the school years but should not be too intimidating for him to use now.
Swing sets are the staple of backyard play areas. Kids –and adults — love to swing; swinging helps children develop balance, spatial relationships, coordination, gross motor skills that develop leg and arm muscles and fine motor skills such as gripping. Swinging also encourages imaginative play as well as competition with peers and the ability to improve by swinging higher and faster. Enforce safety rules, such as not walking in front of a swing in use and choose swings with soft seats rather than hard wooden ones.
Many play sets today include climbing challenges such as rock walls, climbing domes, ladders that lead to slides or other structures that encourage your little daredevil to go higher than he has before.Your 5-year-old will probably go up more quickly than he comes down at first, but his skills will improve and he develops better foot and hand coordination, agility, speed and upper and lower body strength. Climbing toys also helps develop your child’s memory, mastery of spatial relationships and problem-solving skills.
Both boys and girls enjoy shooting hoops; buy an adjustable frame so you can raise it to regulation height as your little shooter grows. A basketball hoop allows you to play one-on-one with your child or provides cooperative play with friends. Your 5-year-old might also spend hours shooting baskets by himself, developing his skills. Put your hoop in an area big enough for your superstar to move around; provide a firm surface beneath his feet to decrease falls.
A playhouse can be anything from a blanket thrown over a picnic table to an elaborate commercial structure complete with furniture. Playhouses give your child a place to make his own; it might be a fort one day and a castle the next. A playhouse also provides an arena for make-believe, a play to get away by himself for a short time and a shaded area to rest on a hot day. A playhouse doesn’t have to be professional or elaborate; a simple lean-to, inexpensive tent or tree platform can serve as a playhouse.