Playgrounds not only provide health and social benefits for children, but also give families an outdoor recreation area where they can go to connect, learn, grow, and spend time together. These areas can also bring value in other ways, such as raising property values, growing communities, and bringing health and wellness to neighborhoods.
The Current Landscape
Over the last few years, there has been an increase in funding for Parks and Recreation across the country, and local governments are wondering where to spend it. As recently as June 2022, the Department of Interior announced the distribution of $279 million from the Land and Water Conservation Fund to all 50 states for state-identified outdoor recreation and conservation projects.
As someone who works in the industry and sees first-hand the value that playgrounds can bring to communities, local governments benefit with community growth, property value and wellness to its residents by creating new playgrounds and outdoor recreation areas.
Playgrounds Bring the Benefits
Playgrounds are care-free, fun environments for kids, friends, and even adults to spend together, but there’s much more than meets the eye when it comes to outdoor recreation. Research shows that outdoor free play offers other significant benefits, including the development of physical, social, cognitive, and emotional skills, and so much more. For example, many experts agree that play is essential for a child’s brain development. Interestingly, studies have shown that free play positively affects a child’s confidence and intelligence. Research has also shown that play can help children develop emotionally, allowing them to build self-confidence and self-esteem and release emotions from trauma through play.
Building public playgrounds in the community initiates these types of healthy play interactions – allowing children to develop flexibility and balance on swinging bridges, engaging with children of other backgrounds and abilities in shared spaces, and navigating social cues and different emotions.
3 Overlooked Benefits of Playgrounds
The health and wellness benefits to children and adults when they have access to playgrounds and recreational areas are well documented. However, there are several benefits to local community playgrounds that should also be kept top of mind when considering how to spend funding. These benefits include bringing more residential value and positive enhancements to the community as a whole.
Here are 3 overlooked benefits of playgrounds in communities:
Raises Property Values
Public parks, outdoor recreation areas and playgrounds are excellent assets to community members, especially when it comes to their wallets. Research shows that the presence of a playground surrounding residential homes can increase property values by five percent or more. Not only do playgrounds offer an outdoor space for kids to play, but it can directly add value to neighborhood property.
Attracts Families and Builds Community
One of the major reasons it’s so important to have an outdoor recreational area is so that more families simply come to the neighborhood. Playgrounds can serve as the heartbeat of a community. Families are stable groups that can maintain their residence for years to come, and we know that families are great for the housing market.
A sure way to attract families to residential areas is to provide a safe, quality outdoor gathering spot where they can come together to connect, play, and socialize. When you bring people of all backgrounds together, it strives to eliminate the biases and brings people together. This is a great opportunity to build a sense of community among residents and create a safe place where parents can befriend other parents, and kids can befriend other kids. A neighborhood without a playground may find that families are flocking to other neighborhoods that invested in outdoor space.
Playground Equipment Enhances Real Estate
The National Institute of Realtors found in a survey that half of homebuyers would be willing to pay 10 percent more for a home that was close to a park or playground. This could lead to an increase in sales for developers who include and invest in playgrounds near their developments. Not only is this a monetary benefit for communities but can make your neighborhood stand hand-and-shoulders above those without any outdoor recreation space.
The benefits of play for kids and adults cannot be overlooked, and neither can the benefits of playgrounds and parks in communities. By making sure that playgrounds exist in neighborhoods, property values will benefit, communities will continue to grow, and families will reap the health and wellness benefits that playgrounds and outdoor spaces have to offer.