Why is sliding so desirable?
Everyone always wants to use the playground slide! Why? Because they’re so much fun!
Nearly no one needs to be convinced about this statement. For those who do, a visit to a nearby playground would probably suffice. They would notice that, at some point, there is always a line queuing for the plastic or metal slide.
What happens to us when we use a slide? What kind of emotions are involved?
In fact, both children and adults, when asked why they actually enjoy sliding down the slope, most of them answer briefly – because it’s fun. As simple as that.
What is behind this seemingly simple statement? What happens to us when we use a slide? What kind of emotions are involved? And finally, is it worth taking a ride from time to time?
Once again, to answer such questions it is worth referring to the reality of the playground, to take a closer look at how sliding affects their most frequent users – children.
Both playground designers and developmental psychology experts emphasize the benefits of sliding, not only for physical fitness, but also for the psycho-motor development of children in general.
According to Amanda Bindel from Toca Maganize:
“While kids see [slides] as fun, sliding can help integrate multiple developmental skills and senses. […] It sharpens proprioception, too, improving an awareness of body position and the amount of force needed for an activity.”
Sliding also creates increased vestibular involvement and an awareness of how our bodies move through space and against gravity.
Slides for kids only?
Tracy Trautner from Michigan State University thinks about sliding as unstructured play, which “allows children to develop their vestibular system. This system is responsible for our balance and the sense of touch. It also develops the proprioceptive system, which is our system of tendons, muscles and joints.”
The offer of unstructured play, engagement of senses, mood boost, a sudden shot of adrenaline and endorphins sounds encouraging to most of us adults, spending most of our days sat in from of a screen.
To top it all off, when asked about the experience of sliding, adults tend to recall a sense of unbridled freedom, carelessness or a childhood dream of flying.
If we add to this the well-known impact of play activities on creativity and stress reduction, it makes so much sense to indulge in that childhood desire and just have a ride.