One of the most fun playground activities is spinning around and around. It gives children a thrill and is super fun and exciting. In fact, a lot of progress has been made allowing toddlers and children to experience spinning at exhilarating speeds while still conforming to high playground safety standards.
Spinning playground equipment and toys have many benefits to childhood development. Aside from the plain fun and thrill, this equipment enhances motor skills and has many other developmental benefits.
There’s nothing more stimulating for kids than riding a merry-go-round, spinning on a seat spinner, or flying through the air on a swinging seat spinner!
Spinning playground equipment such as merry-go-rounds and spinning swings and seats can be a great tool to develop a child’s gross and fine motor skills.
Said equipment engages all body muscles to function and endure, achieve balance, coordination, and spatial awareness. When boys and girls spin, different parts of their brain are simultaneously invigorated. The bottom line is- children greatly benefit from motion and play.
Development Motor Skills
Gross motor skills include the entire body and numerous muscle groups. These motor skills are required to be able to walk, jump and climb. Kids must develop said skills before developing and improving fine motor skills. Large movements that involve moving the arms, legs, or whole-body fall under the category of gross motor skills.
Using the smaller muscles in fingers to write, button clothing and tie shoelaces involve the use of fine motor skills. Young people need plenty of play to help develop, grow, and perform these motor skills.
Playground spinning activities help to develop and grow gross and fine motor skills.
Development of Social Skills
Many spinning equipment and toys that are available allows two or more kids to take part in the fun, which is good for developing social skills as they share the exhilarating experience.
This equipment challenges the kids’ senses, producing an environment for personal growth and bonding. Here are some questions that children will ask to themselves and friends after spinning:
- Can I keep my balance while spinning?
- Can I walk straight after spinning?
- Do I feel dizzy afterwards?
The experience is new, exhilarating, and helps develop so many important skills.
Added Benefits for Special Needs Children
As an educator for special needs children, I can attest to the benefits of play. The right equipment can work wonders.
Spinning equipment is especially helpful to children with autism and sensory processing disorder. For autistic children, spinning can help to calm and soothe them.
For children with a sensory processing disorder, the number one treatment is to “retrain” the senses. Spinning toys and equipment help with that.
What to Consider Before Purchasing
If you’re thinking of purchasing spinning equipment or toys for your home, there are several factors to consider.
- Safety – There should be safety features on the equipment that will prevent children from falling. Bear in mind that minor accidents are common when kids play, but having safe equipment will help prevent more serious accidents. Equipment must fit the age group. Metal or steel can be wrapped in foam (pool noodles work great!) to prevent more serious bangs and bumps. Having proper ground cover on your outdoor play area will also help absorb the impact of falls, check out some of my husband’s articles on ground cover options for some good info.
- Durability – Durability goes hand in hand with safety. Durable equipment makes it safer and longer-lasting. Practical consumers go for resilient equipment or products due to long-term cost efficiency
- Price – Your purpose should not be to purchase many items but only those that are regarded as high-quality. Allocate an appropriate budget and make purchases wisely based on your financial capacity. It’s often better to buy one quality item that will last for many years than low-quality items that you’ll have to replace or can cause an injury if they break
- Maintenance – All playground equipment calls for routine maintenance because of wear and tear. High-quality gear needs less maintenance, which means a lower overall cost in the long run compared to cheaper models. Checking to make sure the bolts and nuts are tight, and keeping the equipment relatively clean will greatly extend the life of all playground equipment
- Scale – Scale refers to the size of the equipment and the size of the area needed to safely use it. Different kinds of playground equipment need a different “required space” or scale for installation and safety purposes. The scale includes the area the equipment will occupy as well as the surrounding areas. Take a good look at the specifications of the equipment you buy, to make sure you have enough room for it.
You’ll see plenty of spinning equipment in large playgrounds and amusement parks.
These favorites go around and around, bounce and spin, and go up and down all while spinning. But with modern materials and technology, you can have a “back-yard” version (indoor version too).
Popular equipment includes the long-established merry-go-round, spinning teeter-totters or modified see-saws; grab-and-spin gear, and spinning swings. There are many others, so let’s have a look!
Grab and Spin
Grab-and-Spin equipment brings an entirely new and enthusing dimension to children who love spinning play. It’s like a flying trapeze where kids can safely glide and spin around and around.
This piece of Grab-and-Spin play equipment is so much fun and easy to set-up. You can hang this from any sturdy object like an existing swing set frame, or even a sturdy tree branch. The height can be adjusted. Pick a safe area with plenty of room.
A very durable and safe scaled-down version of the classic- with seats. Good for indoor and outdoor use! Appropriate for children ages 3-8 and will accommodate 1-4 kids.
Spinning Teeter Totters (Teeter-Go-Rounds)
These new-school toys are so awesome. Hybrids of merry-go-rounds and teeter-totters, these will provide so much entertainment for your little ones and their friends.
This very popular model seats two children, is very durable (safely holds 300 pounds), and is appropriate for children and kids ages 3-13.
This version below is better for indoor use and/or younger children, just make sure you have plenty of room.
A spinning seat is ideal for small playgrounds and spaces and comes in a variety of shapes and sizes. It enhances the play value of your play space- you get a lot of fun and play from a small object.
This sit-and-spin swing can be hung from any sturdy object just like the grab-and-spin I mentioned above. Hang it from an existing swing set or even a sturdy tree branch.
It’s a Spinner Swing! So much fun!
Also be sure to get a durable safety swing swivel so this can spin freely without twisting the ropes.
Final Thoughts and Considerations
More and more parents are looking to purchase their own spinning playground equipment and toys because of the numerous benefits.
Just to recap, the use of this equipment bolsters sensory stimulation and helps to develop and grow gross and fine motor skills, and has added benefits for special needs children.
This equipment has evolved so much over the last few decades and safety standards have risen- it’s a great time to start your child spinning! Remember to stay safe and have fun!
Over 14 years in special education with a BA in psychology. I work daily with children of all kinds, with a special focus on childhood development and play using music and play equipment among other tools.