While exploring Charleston for fun playgrounds to unleash my preschoolers, we stumbled upon a style of swing I had never seen before. How unique can a swing be, you may ask. You sit on it, pump your legs, and let physics do the rest.
This swing had two seats, one bucket-style seat for your little one and a regular seat for the adult. This thoughtful design allowed for us to swing together, face-to-face. Seeing my toddler beaming at me with excitement and glee was infectious, and we both let out a “whee!”.
By the end of our swing fest, we were both all smiles and giggles. What a refreshing change from standing behind him and pushing; I was able to see the expression of delight on his face and just as important, he could see mine.
It turns out this swing has a name. The Expression Swing™ (designed by GameTime), is based on play science and the principle of attunement – the bonding that occurs between adult and child when they engage in play while making eye contact.
Why is this attunement important? Special things happen when we connect with our children through play. Areas of the brain, responsible for balance and coordination, thought and language, are stimulated. Attunement is critical in the development of the parent/child bond and is essential in the early development of a child’s life.
When you are “tuned-in” to your young child, you can more easily understand what your child is telling you about their world. You create a stronger bond and a richer relationship with your child when you are attuned.
Watch this video with Dr. Stuart Brown, M.D., founder of the National Institute for Play, to learn more about the science behind the Expression Swing™.
The act of swinging itself offers a powerhouse of benefits:
- The rocking motion of swinging stimulates the cerebral cortex, the part of the brain that helps you focus.
- Swinging offers help with sensory integration, which is how your brain organizes and interprets information. Sensory Integration provides a foundation for later, more complex learning and behavior.
- Swinging is calming!
- Swinging encourages social interaction and development.
- The movement of swinging helps develop perceptual skills and spatial awareness.
Who knew that such a fun activity could be so important for our development. Swing on!
Do you have one of these swings in your neighborhood? What are your fondest memories of swinging?