Swinging is a great activity that can be engaging across all generations. Why is it that most individuals enjoy swinging, especially kids? Swinging stimulates different parts of a child’s brain simultaneously. Swinging helps the brain develop skills such as spatial awareness, balance, rhythm, and muscle control. Even a quiet moment on a swing can help a child regulate their sensory system and help them develop the ability to adapt to different sensations.
Everyone develops in a particular pattern. Some may be faster while others may take longer to develop. For example, one typically has to be able to sit up by themselves before they can crawl and eventually walk. This is part of why a child starts to love swinging sensations when they are developing coordinated motor movements. Their sensory system is ready to organize and interpret moving information, and swinging is a fun way to do that. Our sensory system is comprised of our vestibular, proprioceptive, tactile, visual, gustatory, olfactory, and auditory systems.
the proprioceptive system
The proprioceptive system, located within the muscles and joints, helps keep track of and control different parts of the body. It provides everyone with a sense of body awareness and also detects force and pressure while they swing. The proprioceptive system works in conjunction with the vestibular system. The vestibular system is a complex network within the inner ear that helps keep the body balanced and upright (orientated). The vestibular system detects movement and gravitational pull. These two systems together make unconscious changes to the muscles and joints in order for the body to achieve the desired movement and balance necessary to respond. The timely development of these senses can help a child learn to calm down if they are easily overwhelmed by sensory stimulation. Or it can help bring alertness to a child who needs sensory stimulation to facilitate attention and learning.
Give your child time to swing
Being on a swing as an adult comes so natural. That balance that feels so natural to an adult is a complex process of large muscle groups working together to maintain postural control. As an adult, we can easily minimize play and not take the time to encourage various exploration on play equipment for our children. Try to make extra time for your child to engage in these fun play opportunities. They make a huge impact on brain and body growth and health.
It is very easy to forget how much we all loved swinging when we were little, or to minimize it as frivolous play without serious and necessary developmental benefits. Sensory play is great for kids! If your child loves to swing, try to make some extra time for them to explore this super-activity. You will be helping their little brain grow in harmony with their body, and they will love you for it. Click here to learn more about how swinging, sliding, and climbing will benefit your child.