This is a summary of the report written by Dr. Jennie Ferrell, Senior lecturer, Department of Health and Social Sciences, UWE.
Benefits for social and emotional development supported and enhanced by the Kitcamp panels include:
- The opportunity to solve challenging problems through using the Kitcamp materials will encourage the development of healthy self-esteem and self-efficacy, as well as to strengthen aspects of their developing self-identity.
- Allowing children to construct settings to allow for private reflection, or for sociodramatic play in which children can work through emotions, the materials provide a number of advantages for children’s emotional development.
- Allowing for a context for children to develop an understanding of social rules and how to negotiate social relationships, which will encourage healthy peer relationships and friendships
The neutral and flexible nature of the Kitcamp materials allow the level of difficulty of the play experience to be adapted appropriately to the child’s level.
“The physical factors associated with creativity, such as a flexible environment and reusable resources, coupled with human factors, such as social interactions and communication children engage in with their peers, contribute to the sustainability of creativity”.
As many children would not have a natural environment accessible to them, or considering the weather may not be conducive to outdoor play, the Kitcamp materials provide an excellent opportunity for children in many different settings to still receive the same opportunities and benefits.
Benefits for physical development supported and enhanced by the Kitcamp panels include:
- Opportunity for children to exercise both gross motor and fine motor skills
- For children who are attracted to constructive play, the large panels provide more opportunity for physical activity than smaller play materials such as blocks or Lego.
- Play materials, including accessories from the home or school or supplied, that encourage motor and perceptual coordination or different sensory experiences (note: this would be beneficial for typically developing children, but also those with special needs)
- An enriching environment in which to stimulate brain development
The neutral and versatile nature of the Kitcamp system lends itself to providing benefits beyond traditional playground equipment.
Kitcamp materials provide a good substitute for outdoor, natural play spaces.
Benefits for cognitive development supported and enhanced by the Kitcamp panels include:
- The nature of the materials allows for and encourages child-led activities, which will help children with skills such as creating, and then attaining, goals, handling multiple aspects of a problem, and being able to focus their attention on necessary tasks.
- The Kitcamp play system provides an engaging play opportunity that would support children’s developing creativity and problem solving skills.
- Due to the nature of the panels, Kitcamp incorporates constructive play, which has been found to relate to and influence spatial and number understanding, leading to further abilities and interest in mathematics and science.
- By providing flexible structures to allow for a variety of imaginative settings conducive to role-play scenarios, the Kitcamp materials also encourage sociodramatic play, which has been found to relate to and influence children’s abilities to think of others’ thoughts and emotions, understand their own thoughts and emotions, and also help their language and communication abilities.
When children play, they don’t just learn at a specific level for a specific task or action with play materials, but at a global level with problem solving, rule understanding and conceptual development.
An opportunity for child-led, non-structured play has been shown to be important in the development of executive functioning, the explorative and flexible nature of the Kitcamp panels suit this need well.