Swings are avidly enjoyed by children, as well as the child inside us all. Children especially love the motion of swings, as it allows them to experience the exhilarating feeling of flying. Truly no other piece of playground equipment can capture such a magical experience.Unfortunately, due to some rare and isolated incidents, some communities have deemed swings either unsafe or an inefficient use of space and have expelled them from playgrounds. While as with anything some risks do exist, the benefits of swinging far outweigh any possibility of injuries, especially with properly supervised use.
The motion of swinging helps to develop balance and body awareness. The term "body awareness" encompasses two sensory systems: the proprioceptive, which gathers information from muscles and joints; and the vestibular, which collects stimuli from the inner ear. Swinging stimulates both of these systems and thus helps children develop balance and coordination. This is why children with sensory integration disorders often have swinging included in their therapy.
The motion of swings is also a natural relaxant, elevating serotonin levels. Low levels of serotonin are often present in anxiety disorders. When serotonin levels are naturally raised, as in swinging, this helps to relax the body and lead to sleep. We are all familiar of the common infant soothing method of "rocking the baby to sleep". In fact, there is science behind why it works.
Learning to swing independently presents an opportunity for gross motor skill development. There is significant limb and body coordination required to set a swing in motion and keep it in motion. Swinging allows children to learn to control their bodies while floating through the air. Such skills also lead to improvements in balance and coordination.
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