As a kid, one of my favourite things to do was to go to the park and go on the swings. I could sit for hours, just swinging backwards and forwards, losing myself in the freedom of the movement and the wind rushing by my ears as I went as high as I could possibly go.
Our girls love to swing too, and we often go to the park to while away some time, swinging and chatting - and even doing our times tables! (but that's another story).
The only thing I find disappointing, is that there are only ever 2 swings at the park - one larger one, and one for younger children, with a safety chain across it. Where's the one for me? When I was a kid in England, there were usually 3 or 4 swings in a row, then one for the younger kids beside that! Is it just different in Australia, or is it as I suspect more because of tougher safety rules and regulations? Does anyone know?
Learning to swing yourself, with the forward and backwards motion of your legs, combined with leaning back and pulling slightly on the chains, is a tricky action to learn. Both myself, my husband and the grandparents spent many hours trying to teach both our girls to swing. Our eldest learned at Kindergarten - taught of course in one session by the teacher there! (nothing to do with all those hours we tried of course!!). Then once you have it - you never forget and don't want to stop!
Swinging is a form of physical exercise, and done outside in the fresh air is of course beneficial in terms of fitness and health. Swings are also used to help autistic children, and those with sensory issues. The gentle rocking motion helps to calm them and balance the body and mind. Swings help kids develop their sensory integration skills, with the constant movement of themselves, it helps develop their balance, and it is also beneficial to eye muscles as they constantly adjust to see the world around them. Of course we all know that rocking is soothing - just as we rock babies, or we rock ourselves in hammocks, or on rocking chairs.
All of this is of course aside from the social benefits kids gain from going out to the park, playing on the swings and meeting other kids there. Some of my most vivid memories of childhood come from playparks, the games we played there and the friends we made - even just for the duration of that game.
Do you take your kids to the park often, or perhaps you have swings in your backyard? And can anyone tell me, do boys like swinging as much as girls do? I more often see girls than boys on the swings in the park, and we just have two daughters........