General Recreation: Children at Play Engage the Senses and Discover Their World


A little boy discovers a piece of playground equipment.
image via General Recreation, Inc.

Sensory-rich playgrounds help children develop as they learn about the world around them and use their different senses to explore, according to General Recreation, Inc. in Newtown Square, a leading distributor of playground and recreational equipment.

These are just some of the elements found at your local playground that can help children develop their senses.


The simple act of sliding gives children information about speed and the pull of gravity. It provides visual information and teaches them to navigate their sense of balance and motor planning to accurately move in the world

They also receive information on the slide’s texture and the pressure needed to slow down so they can land safely on the ground.


Spinning is a core movement that again engages a child’s sense of balance.

When a child spins on a tire swing or any other equipment, they are providing their brain with valuable equilibrium information.

This information connects with inputs from their muscles and joints to help them maintain their body posture and balance in the world.


Swinging back and forth is a simple motion, yet more complex than it seems. A child’s nervous system receives a wealth of visual information.  Children learn how their body moves through space. It lets them experiment with the speed of movement they are comfortable with and develops motor skills ti resist or increase their active movement.


All children love to climb and conquer. Climbing utilizes the sense of touch, body movement through space, balance and the visual.

Each system actively collects information about textures, muscle activation needed to pull against gravity, and then integrates it with what the child sees while climbing.

This information helps create “sensory-motory intelligence” and “visual-spatial perception,” allowing kids to effectively relate to objects and navigate in the world.


When children play together, they encourage each other to develop in ways that they couldn’t achieve alone.

Social imaginative play lets children integrate previous sensory knowledge with new experiences to expand their understanding of the world.

Through playful interaction, children turn make-believe ideas into real ones in their world.


The sense of touch is the most dependable sensory system so children touch everything.

It’s also the first of the senses to develop and the longest to stay in our lives.

Tactile input helps the brain organize information for developing visual and auditory systems.

Play experiences that provide children a variety of touch opportunities are necessary to help the nervous system organize all the sensory information from the environment.

About General Recreation

Since 1973, General Recreation Inc. has been a leading distributor of commercial playground equipment. They serve Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware, and have helped hundreds of community leaders and organizations build playgrounds that are safe, aesthetically pleasing and made to last.

General Recreation projects are supported by expert and trusted services, including site evaluation, playground design, installation and community build services.

Whether your playground will consist of an outdoor playground at a preschool or a large community playground, experienced commercial playground experts will help you every step of the way.

Find out more about the work of General Recreation.

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